Fear the Darkness

Written by Becky Masterman

Review written by Katherine Armstrong

Katherine Armstrong has worked in publishing for over six years. She is a crime fiction Editor for an independent publishing company in London.


Fear the Darkness
Orion
RRP: £20.00
Released: February 5, 2015
Hbk

Brigid 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!

Fear 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?

Fear 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 . . .

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