Review: A Twist of the Knife

Book Title: A Twist of the Knife
Author: Becky Masterman
Reviewed By: Chelsea
Series: Brigid Quinn #3
Genres: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, Crime Fiction

Date Read: 03/18/17
Pub Date: 03/21/17


Ex-FBI agent Brigid Quinn, now happily settled in Tucson, doesn’t go back to visit her family in Florida much. But her former partner Laura Coleman, whose life she has saved and who saved her life, is living there now. When Laura calls about a case that is not going well, Brigid doesn’t hesitate to get on a plane.

On leave from the Bureau, Laura has been volunteering for a legal group that is trying to prove the innocence of a man who is on death row for killing his family. Laura is firmly convinced that he didn’t do it, while Brigid isn’t so sure—but the date for his execution is coming up so quickly that she shares Laura’s fear that any evidence absolving him from the crime may come too late.

For those new to the series, you need to know something; Brigid Quinn is one hard core senior citizen. Basically, because I’m an old soul, she’s my spirit animal and I connected well with her right from book one. Who doesn’t like to go hunting for peculiar stones and snuggle their pet pugs during retirement? We’ve followed Quinn from her first moments in being dragged out of retirement from the FBI (Book #1), to taking down a silent killer (Book #2), and now on to assisting in the case of a death row inmate. I had no idea what to expect this go around, as the third book in a series tends to be the “make or break” point on whether I’ll continue to put in the time and effort to carry on reading, but I’m really pleased with the direction Masterman chose to go here. Also, is it coincidence that autocorrect keeps trying to change Masterman to Mastermind? I think not.

“Revenge, Revenge,
See the furies arise.”
-John Dryden

 We lead off in the prologue witnessing a man being executed on death row via the electric chair in the 1980’s. One of the things I love about the author is how she puts so much careful consideration into making sure her descriptions of procedures via law enforcement are detailed and as accurate as possible. This was a chilling scene; I felt like I was in the room watching alongside young Brigid and got a glimpse of one tiny fracture in the full blown chasm that has shaped who she became. In fact, the first half of the book is mostly dedicated to personal characterization of Brigid and her immediate family. There isn’t a lot of action during this section; we are introduced to the case she will be helping on and are able to catch up on how Laura Coleman (remember her from Rage Against the Dying?) is healing from the trauma she previously faced alongside Quinn. We are mainly focused on Brigid’s private life, something we haven’t been privy to much of in the past; her father is very ill and she travels over to Florida to visit, which happens to be where the case is concerning the death row inmate petitioning for a stay of execution. Two birds with one stone, right?

“Sentences weren’t as stiff in the nineties for that kind of thing, and the guy would have gotten out of jail in another two years if he hadn’t died. I’m sure you’ve already heard what happens to child molesters in prison. So I know what you can do with fingerprints to convict a guy. That’s me, and that deed I did once was not lawful but it was righteous. I bet you would have done it, too. Right?
PS: I followed the life of the daughter, and she’s okay. She’s okay.”

 The above describes Brigid to a T. She is ruthless, devouring anything deemed evil in her path, while ironically could be called evil herself. She’s so concerned about getting the proper outcome she’ll do it by any means necessary. This is no surprise for those who have read the series up until this point; we know of her past transgressions and what she’s capable of, but this book let’s us in to see a whole new side of Brigid, one that’s frankly a little terrifying and haunting. While the pacing was slow up until about the 50% point, I think it was necessary to give us that deeper insight into Quinn and understanding her and why everyone in her family is so hard. I also loved the parallels between Brigid and Laura that show how we can watch someone start down the same path we went and what lengths we’ll go to protect them from the same outcomes.

If you enjoyed Quinn’s snarky attitude and potty mouth before, don’t worry, it’s still evident here. I spent most of my time reading this one on the elliptical and I swear people think I have some weird snorting disease. Yes I can’t seem to make myself go to the gym unless I’m reading, sue me. I missed having her husband Carlos being a central focus of the book, but I understand why he had to take a backseat in this installment to let Brigid shine on her own. There was definitely a more intimate feel to this book than the previous two; the focus wasn’t on the action and the individual case, so it gave it a tender and heartfelt atmosphere. If you have been following the series and waiting for the book that contains more backstory into Brigid, this is it baby. I can’t wait to hear what other’s think of this one. I feel if people keep an open mind and appreciate this for what it is, an insight necessary into connecting deeper with Brigid Quinn and her crew, they will enjoy savoring this book and be very pleased with their new understanding of our retired heroine.

*Many thanks to the publisher for providing my copy; it was a delight to post my honest thoughts in a review here.

3 thoughts on “Review: A Twist of the Knife”

  1. Great Review! I haven’t read anything from Becky Masterman before but have just won this in a Goodreads Giveaway so looking forward to it now.

    Thanks Chelsea!

    Liked by 1 person

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