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Chris High books reviewed

Front cover of the book, Rage Against The Dying by Becky Masterman

Becky Masterman
Rage Against The Dying

Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Orion

ISBN-10: 1409143708
ISBN-13: 978-1409143703

28 Feb 2013

Novels from debut authors often send a certain tingle down the spine ranging from those of great anticipation to those of outright dread. Yet on opening the first page of Becky Masterman’s debut, Rage Against The Dying, all fears evaporated as she immediately plucks her reader from the safety of their normal environment and plunges them head first into the unfamiliar and keeps them there throughout.

In her hey-day, ex FBI agent, Brigid Quinn, not only worked serial killer cases but became their prize. Small and blonde, from a distance she looked vulnerable and slight...the perfect bait to catch a killer. But as Quinn got older, she realised she needed to find a protégé, a younger field agent to take her place. So Quinn trains a twenty-two year old and lets her loose in the field. The plan works. Until the Route 66 killer not only takes the bait, but kills the bait.

Years on, Quinn is trying to move past the fact that she has a young woman's death on her conscience. She's now the perfect Stepford Wife - until she gets a knock on her door. The girl's body has finally been discovered. Quinn is pulled back into the case and the more she learns about the killer the more she comes to believe, despite the overwhelming forensic evidence to hand, that they have the wrong man.

Brigid Quinn is a character to die for as her sassy self-confidence gives way by degrees to self doubt and so reveals a more human, more accessible character in who’s company the reader is happy to be.

The descriptive prose are as though Masterman has taken a delicate brush and supplied the finer details with infinite care so as to leave a picture of vivid beauty that resonates throughout. The pace is remorseless and when things seem as though they may be drifting, the author – like a skilled jockey – reins them back in and guides her horse back on track with a subtle mastery that belies her novel writing experience.

A tightly written, immensely enjoyable debut from an author of whom we can expect great things, Rage Against The Dying will have its readers hooked from the off and begging for more at its end.

Chris High

 


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“Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
break the rules as I see fit.” - Chris High 2003.
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