FEAR THE DARKNESS by Becky Masterman

fear the darkness

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This is the second book I’ve read this year in which the main character starts acting all crazy and appears to have been drugged or poisoned. I loved Jane Green’s version, Saving Grace, but this plot line irritated me here.

That said, I think Masterman has created one of the most unique protagonists in a long time, and I adore her. Brigid Quinn is a 59 year-old retired F.B.I. agent who can kick ass, and as I approach that age I really appreciate reading about a character that strong at that age. Her first book, Rage Against the Dying, was terrific if a bit of a stretch (a former F.B.I. agent kills a man in self defense and doesn’t report it? Really?)

This time out Brigid’s sister passes away, and her niece, Gemma-Kate, comes to live with her and her ex-priest husband, neither of whom has any experience with children. Gemma-Kate is a piece of work, but needs to stay with her aunt to establish residency for college. When one of Brigid’s beloved pugs gets poisoned by a toad, Gemma-Kate may be responsible, and things go down hill from there.

Brigid’s best friend Mallory, (the first time in her life that she’s had a best girlfriend,) isn’t exactly like her. While Brigid loves to go hiking, Mallory loves to go shopping but they both like the lunches served with lots of wine. Mallory’s husband suffers from locked-in syndrome; he was in a car that was hit by a train and the only movement he can make is to blink his eyes. Mallory has turned their home into a virtual hospital, and her time with Brigid is often the highlight of her day.

Brigid is working part time as a private investigator. When a local teenage boy dies under suspicious circumstances, the mother asks her to look into it. There are other storylines going on and eventually they all intersect, but Masterman excels at misdirection and the ending is quite a shocker.

2/15 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

FEAR THE DARKNESS by Becky Masterman. Minotaur Books (January 20, 2015). ISBN 978-0312622954. 336p.

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