Review by Adrina Palmer
Becky Masterman’s third Brigid Quinn novel, ‘A Twist Of The Knife,’ is the masterful follow-up to ‘Fear the Darkness’ and ‘Rage Against the Dying.’
Brigid Quinn is a former FBI agent living in Tuscon with her new husband, Carl. Her family is back in Florida, and currently so is her friend and ex-partner, Laura Coleman. Brigid and Laura have taken turns saving each other’s lives before moving on; Brigid to retirement and Laura to work for a legal group to represent a man on death row. When Laura calls Quinn in to help prove the man’s innocence, Brigid is quick to hop on a plane for a wetter climate. With her father in the hospital getting sicker by the day, Quinn uses this opportunity to reconnect with her family while helping to try and exonerate Marcus Creighton.
Laura is positive Marcus Creighton did not murder his wife and three children back in 1999. Her overly involved feelings for the man on death row muddle the waters between her helping him fight for a stay of execution while working with Brigid to find proof he is innocent. Marcus is understandably upset and unwilling to give up hope that his life can be saved despite grim evidence the jury used to convict him over fifteen years ago. Along with his death looming over his head and trying to help Laura’s team prove his innocence, Marcus is plagued with the knowledge that his children might not be dead and they are out there somewhere in the world in need of a parent. Alison Samuels, an advocate for a lost children’s group, is all too willing to force Marcus to believe his kids have been sold into sex slavery in her goal to force him to admit his guilt in the case. Marcus is also plagued with his ex-mistress who turned on him during his trial and refused to be his alibi.
Brigid and Laura work fast to find evidence contrary to Marcus’s conviction. Brigid veers between working on the case into the wee hours of the morning and visiting her ill father in the hospital. Her family life takes a toll as secrets about her parents are revealed, and Brigid is forced to see her past in a new light. With the help of her former cop brother Todd, sixty-something old Brigid uncovers new leads in the Creighton case where the mother was electrocuted in the bath, and the children disappeared. When bodies of children are discovered, the group finds evidence the bones could be those of Marcus’s twins, they are unable to get a stay of execution and are forced to witness the law delivering justice.
With the case wrapped up, Quinn is ready to return home to her newlywed husband and their pet dogs, but a feeling prevents her from going home before digging into the case just a little deeper, and she finds a new body linked to the case. With a new death to solve and her father’s life on the brink, Brigid remains to find a link between Creighton and the new death. Another victim manages to stay alive and starts to unravel the full story of what happened to the Creighton wife and children. Brigid and Laura have to work past their guilt of being unable to salvage Creighton’s life to keep the only innocence from the story from complete destruction.
Having never read one of the previous two Brigid Quinn novels, I had no problem following the characters or the forward moving plot. What I lost was a connection to Quinn readers of Becky Masterman’s other two novels in the series would have felt. Maybe because Quinn had so much character development in the previous books, she did not require as much personally identifying traits in this novel; either way, I found Brigid to be less than engaging and not worth a series. Despite my lack of love for the protagonist, the plot was exceptional. By page seventy-five, I thought I had the murderer figured out and where the children had disappeared. I am happy to say I was quite wrong and Masterman created several unique twists worth the read.
The first couple of chapters were a bit choppy and stilted, but once you push past you are rewarded for the effort. Despite the under-developed main character, the other characters were fully hashed out and easy to empathize with. Some of the peripheral characters were given more intimacy than felt warranted, again this could because I did not read the previous Quinn books. The story line with Brigid’s mother was unrealistic, making this area the worst part of the storyline. I would have stuck to focusing on the new husband, which I am sure followers of the series would have wanted more time with the love interest than disconnected family drama. Regardless of the areas which required a bit more thought, the plot was captivating and a worthwhile pass time for rainy nights.
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