****Rage Against the Dying

Route 66, highway, Arizona

(photo: wikimedia.org)

By Becky Masterman, read by Judy Kaye — Delighted to find this first-time mystery-thriller, which appeared on seven “best of” lists for 2013. At first, I thought, “Oh no, not another story about long-haul truckers and their women victims,” but the book soon took a sharp turn away from that tired track, and we discover the would-be victim is a retired FBI agent with certain skills.

The agent is Brigid Quinn, asked informally to help put to rest an old case—the murder of her young trainee by the “Route 66 killer.” A man has confessed to this string of murders and told authorities where to find the agent’s body. But the FBI agent in charge of the case doubts the confession and persuades Quinn to doubt it, too. Meanwhile, the real killer is out there . . . and no one but the two of them appears to care whether he’s caught.

The book uses its Tucson setting to advantage, and Quinn shines hard as a diamond in the unrelenting Arizona light. Her first-person narrative is “chilling, smart, funny, and what a voice she has,” said Gillian Flynn, author of Gone Girl. The narration was perfect. Cheers to both Masterman and Kaye. Looking forward to reading the second book in the series, out now!