Fresh Meat: Rage Against The Dying by Becky Masterman

Rage Against the Dying  by Becky Masterman is a debut thriller featuring a former FBI agent who has retired to Arizona, but hasn’t been able to leave her job behind (available March 12, 2013).

Brigid Quinn is a tough-talking former FBI agent, forced into retirement after fatally shooting an unarmed perp. She’s haunted still by the greatest unsolved case of her career: that of the Route 66 serial killer whose last known victim was Quinn’s protegee, a promising young agent named Jessica Robertson. No longer a fed, Quinn keeps busy by geode-hunting in the Arizona desert and compulsively hiding any trace of her former professional pursuits from her beloved new husband, Carlo. Burned by disastrous past relationships with civilians, she is paranoid that finding out about her close involvement with death will push Carlo away from her.

The sight of [Carlo] fixing the feeder for my pleasure made my heart… swell to overflowing is supposed to be a worn-out phrase, but for me it’s a brand-new feeling.

This may seem an unusually strong reaction to a man filling a bird feeder. If you have led a relatively peaceful life you will not appreciate its value and treasure it the way I do, not understand what it feels like to go day after day with that vibration in your chest, as if you carried inside of you a violin string that has just been plucked but now the string is silent and still because the threat of violence is long past.

Now I was living in peace with a man so gentle and sensitive he gave sup to hummingbirds. Does this seem precious? I don’t give a rat’s ass.

Quinn’s tenuous peace is shattered when a trucker named Floyd Lynch confesses to the Route 66 murders, offering to lead the FBI to Jessica’s body. Quinn is called back into the field due to her previous involvement with the case, and meets Laura Coleman, the special agent assigned to Lynch. Together with several other FBI and state personnel, they find and positively identify the body. Case closed… only Coleman has her suspicions about Lynch’s detailed confession. She confides in Quinn before abruptly disappearing—to the relief of her bosses who think Coleman’s gone rogue—just as Jessica’s still-grieving father flies into town for closure. As Quinn is trying to handle these separate delicate situations, she finds herself the target of someone willing to do anything to stop her from looking any further into the Route 66 murders.

Rage Against The Dying is a fast-paced mystery with inventive twists, featuring one of the gutsiest heroines I’ve come across in years. Brigid Quinn is a complex invention, an intelligent detective and trained killer with the self-damaging inability to trust the ones she loves with the truth about herself. It occasionally grates that she’s so willfully blind as to what constitutes a healthy adult relationship, but that’s easily forgiven in light of what an original, bluntly honest voice she is in crime fiction, as in this declaration that comes early in the book:

I’ve sometimes regretted the women I’ve been.

There’ve been so many: daughter, sister, cop, tough broad, several kinds of whore, jilted lover, ideal wife, heroine, killer. I’ll provide the truth of them all, inasmuch as I’m capable of telling the truth. Keeping secrets, telling lies, they require the same skill. Both become a habit, almost an addiction, that’s hard to break even with the people closest to you, out of the business. For example, they say never trust a woman who tells you her age; if she can’t keep that secret, she can’t keep yours.

I’m fifty-nine.

Becky Masterman has written an outstanding debut thriller with a unique heroine who isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty in the pursuit of justice. Her writing is muscular but lyrical, adeptly alternating between scenes of carnage and moments of emotional reflection, but leavening it all with Quinn’s usually wry demeanor, as illustrated in the passages selected here. An immensely satisfying page-turner.

See more coverage of new releases in our Fresh Meat series.

But wait! Still not enough Rage for you? Well then, we've also got a bonus clip from the audiobook edition for you to sample!

This sweepstakes has ended. For current opportunities, check our Sweepstakes feature page.

To enter for a chance to win one of three audiobooks of Rage Against the Dying, make sure you’re a registered member of the site, and then simply leave a comment below.

TIP: Since only comments from registered users will be tabulated, if your user name appears in red above your comment—STOP—go log in, then try commenting again. If your user name appears in black above your comment, You’re In!

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A purchase does not improve your chances of winning. Sweepstakes open to legal residents of fifty (50) United States and the District of Columbia, who are 18 or older. To enter, fill out entry at beginning at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) March 10, 2013. Sweepstakes ends at 1:29 p.m. ET on March 24, 2013 (the “Promotion Period”). Void outside of the 50 US and DC and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules at Sponsor: Macmillan, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010

Doreen Sheridan is a freelance writer living in Washington, D.C. She microblogs on Twitter @dvaleris.

Read all posts by Doreen Sheridan for Criminal Element.


  1. Gordon Bingham

    Sounds wonderful!

  2. MaryC

    Brigid sounds fascinating!

  3. Jody Darden

    This sounds interesting! Love audiobooks for my ipod.

  4. vanessagalore

    Although I’m kind of burned out on serial-killer books, I’d like to give this one a chance, because it seems to feature an interesting character.

  5. Joanne Mielczarski

    Would love to be reading this one!

  6. Katherine Marion

    Looks intriguing – definitely worth a read.

  7. Karen Arrowood

    This sounds very interesting, and different. I think I would enjoy reading this book.

  8. Darlene

    I haven’t had a good audio book for a long time. I know I would enjoy.

  9. Patricia Nicklas

    I listen to audiobooks in the car all the time. This sounds like one to make the commute go faster!

  10. Kelley Tackett

    This looks like a fantastic debut thriller from a new author I’m sure to follow. Thank you for highlighting emerging authors! I love recommending a new author to our library patrons.

  11. Sara Latta

    I have had this book on my Audible wishlist ever since I read some early reviews. Can’t wait to listen to it!

  12. Joyce Mitchell

    Sounds like a great book. Thanks for the chance to win.

  13. Robin Weatherington

    [b]Now I have to hear the rest!![/b]

  14. Richard Deyarmond

    I have over a hundred audio books and would like to add this one to my list

  15. Mosaix

    A strong woman against serial-killers! What’s not to love-Yes!

  16. susan beamon

    Interesting selection. Focusing on the killer, or at least one killer for who knows yet how many are in this book, is an interesting gambit. I bite. I want to hear more.

  17. Becky Hantsbarger

    Sounds absolutely fascinating!

  18. Andrew Kuligowski

    I have grown to love audio books. They allow me to add almost one extra book per week onto my reading list, and I am rarely disappointed with the narrator or production values. (Heck, when I listened to “Life”, I thought Johnny Depp sounded more like Keith Richards than Keith did!)
    Win or lose, I’ll have to add this one to my list!

  19. Kimbrell Scheunert

    I can’t wait! This book sounds great!

  20. patebooks

    It’s harrowing just reading the book. Had to take a break. Brigid is great character!

  21. Dorothy Newmark

    This sounds like one heck of a story!

  22. Lisa Garrett

    Awesome clip!

  23. Desmond Warzel

    Count me in, please!

  24. Jackie Wisherd

    I would enjoy reading this book or hearing it on audio. It sounds like the kind of books I read for my book club.

  25. Cindi Hoppes

    I adore the book’s cover and the story line is right down
    my alley…
    Many thanks, Cindi

  26. Pam Howell

    This sounds like a great thriller. Can’t wait to read it.



  28. Roxann Paesch

    BRING IT ON!!!!!!

  29. Cheryl English

    Oh Yeah! Sounds Great.

  30. Roxann Paesch

    BRING IT ON!!!!!!

  31. George Harding

    Wow! I always like a story that has local connections and this one does. The story builds to a suspenseful point and leaves you wanting more.

  32. Phyllis Sinclair

    Sounds like the perfect audio for when I am on the road or a must read.

  33. William Hamilton

    I’ve read very positive early comments on the book. Look forward to reading it.

  34. Sharon Jackson

    I would love to receive a copy, sounds like a great read.

  35. Allison Moyer

    My husband loves geode hunting. We found one up the street in an old graveyard. Thanks for the giveaway! Sounds like a fun read.

  36. John Clark

    I’m adding this to our next library book order. Winning the audio edition would be frosting on the cake.

  37. Mary A

    This book sounds very interesting! I would love to read it.

  38. Velma Greene

    Please continue……

  39. Louis Burklow

    The clip was great – I’d love to read/listen to this series.

  40. Susan Pertierra

    The excerpt sounds interesting. I love fast paced mysteries!

  41. Gwen Ellington

    I know what it’s like not to be able to leave a job behind!

  42. jimbo

    Thanks for the opportunity; love to spread the word about good books with strong female leads!

  43. jim brissette

    Thanks for this opportunity; would love to read this bok and share news about it!

  44. Phoenix

    Brigid sounds like a fascinating protagonist.

  45. Anna Mills

    Okay, she’s my age. And I tell mine too. We are one.

  46. Pat Murphy

    Looks exciting. Have read the first few chapters on “First Reads” Would like to hear it as audiobook.

  47. lynette barfield

    Sounds like this right down my alley. Would love an audiobook.

  48. Taylor Duncan

    Can’t Wait

  49. Steven Wilber

    sounds good

  50. Kris Kaminski

    I’ll bite?

  51. Amy

    Brigid Quinn is definitely a woman/ex-detective I’d like to get to know much better. If you read too many crime fiction books, the investigators blend together. But Brigid Quinn sounds unique and fascinating.
    Thank you for writing about this debut!

  52. Kyle Quandt

    Sounds great!

  53. Ann Fantom

    This sounds like a great audio book that I would like to listen to when commuting. Thanks for the chance to win.

    abfantom at yahoo dot com

  54. cheryl wong

    would love to read this




  56. runner


  57. L L


  58. Roberta

    sounds like a real thriller

  59. Roberta Temby

    sounds like a real thriller

  60. Alicia Tong

    Sounds pretty good.

    Thanks for the giveaway >^..^

  61. Joe Hauser

    Very nice!

  62. Beth Talmage

    I’ve been doing a lot of driving recently–audiobooks would help me stay awake, especially something as thrilling as this one appears to be.

  63. Jeana

    Sounds like a good one!

  64. Bob Keck

    Audiobooks are so awesome, they’re perfect for road trips and we’re getting ready to hit the road. thanks for the opportunity.

  65. Darlene

    I’d really like to read this book! Or listen to it!

  66. Vernon Luckert

    Would love to win this audiobook!

  67. peg nittskoff

    This seems very well written and I love any book that reads well. Would love to get my hands on these audio books. Keep me in mind please!

  68. Suzanne Rorhus

    Sounds great!

  69. CherylMc

    Looks like a good read.

  70. Daniel Morrell

    looks like a good one

  71. Debra Kidle

    I love audiobooks, they’re great for long commutes in the car, and this one sounds so interesting!

  72. David Kidle

    Synopsis is intriguing, I want to hear more.

  73. kathy pease

    Thank you for the great giveaway please count me in 🙂

  74. Robin Powell

    This llooks good

  75. Ed Nemmers

    I would love to read the work of Becky Masterman!

  76. Kari Flores

    This looks like an interesting book would love to give it a listen.

  77. Lisa Duffy

    This looks good I would like to win this.

  78. Shirley Zolenski

    This looks like a great read.


  79. Lori Snyder

    This looks like a perfect beach read for me this summer~!

  80. Susan Smoaks

    this sounds like a great book, count me in!

  81. Susan Smith

    sounds great

  82. Chris Noe

    Sounds like an excellent read. Thanks for the opportunity.

  83. Tim Moss

    Gimme! Gimme! 🙂

  84. Kat Emerick

    Sounds AWESOME!

  85. Heather Cowley

    Sounds like a funny and mysterious read, I think.

  86. Annette Estell

    I’d love to read this. Thanks!

  87. cassandra mccann

    i would love to bring this to my home

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