cover image Fear the Darkness

Fear the Darkness

Becky Masterman. Minotaur, $25.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-312-62295-4

For someone who still conducts threat assessments at functions as seemingly innocuous as a Tucson, Ariz., humane society fundraiser, retired FBI agent Brigid Quinn has gone dangerously soft in other respects—as she discovers when it’s almost too late in Edgar-finalist Masterman’s disappointingly wan follow-up to her electrifying 2013 debut, Rage Against the Dying. Then again, it’s tough for Brigid to be at the top of her game once she begins to experience increasingly alarming symptoms, including chronic nausea, anxiety, and hallucinations, after her teenage niece, Gemma-Kate, whose mother has recently died of MS, moves in with her and husband Carlo to establish in-state residency for the University of Arizona. Given the timing, as well as the girl’s glaring lack of empathy but keen interest in toxicology, Brigid starts wondering whether she’s let a psychopath into her little slice of long-overdue domestic bliss. Overly talky with too many heavy-handed efforts at misdirection, this novel lets down both Masterman’s kick-ass heroine and her many fans. [em]Agent: Helen Heller, Helen Heller Agency. (Jan.) [/em]