Katherine Armstrong has worked in publishing for over six years. She is a crime fiction Editor for an independent publishing company in London.
Quinn returns in Becky Masterman’s compelling follow-up to last year’s Richard
& Judy spring Book Club pick, Rage
Against the Dying.
Brigid is unusual in crime
terms in that she’s a middle-aged woman – albeit one who can still kick some
ass. The author has said that she wanted a character who was more ‘Miss Marple
meets Bruce Willis’ than the standard thirty-something tough gal, and in this
she has succeeded. Brigid is a no-nonsense, ex-FBI agent who knows her way
around a bottle of wine as well as how to defend against a would-be attacker
twice her height and weight. She’s smart, resourceful and has a sense of
humour. Secretly, we all want to grow up to be Brigid!
the Darkness is a slow
burn of a book. Brigid is happy with her life with Carlo and still keeps active
teaching self-defence at the local woman’s shelter. When her sister-in-law
dies, however, her newly quiet life receives a punch to the gut in the form of
her niece, Gemma-Kate, an intense seventeen-year-old who Brigid had promised to
home so she wouldn’t be charged out of state fees when she goes to college
nearby. Never having had children, neither Brigid nor Carlo are prepared for
Gemma-Kate, a manipulative and secretive teenager who is perhaps too bright for
her own good. What Gemma-Kate really lacks however is empathy and when Brigid’s
dog is poisoned it’s unclear if it was an accident, as Gemma-Kate said, or if
it was deliberate. All Brigid knows is that Gemma-Kate is putting a strain on
her relationship with Carlo.
Things get worse when Brigid
is asked to look into the death of a neighbour’s teenage son. Increasingly
paranoid and suffering from memory loss and hallucinations, Brigid begins to
worry that her health is failing. Has Gemma-Kate’s arrival and the
investigation caused her illness, or is something more sinister going on?
the Darkness exposes
Brigid’s more vulnerable side. She is a woman who is used to being independent
and, while not invulnerable, she is used to being able to defend herself
competently. She is highly trained and relies on her instincts, but here we see
what happens when her instincts start to fail her. It’s a clever premise on
which to base the novel and the twist at the end should come as a surprise to
the reader. A chilling read for a winter’s night . . .