Becky Masterman's suspense debut, Rage Against the Dying (Minotaur), has been drawing rave reviews from early readers. What sets this thriller apart from the crowd? Its heroine, Brigid Quinn, a retired FBI agent whose best years, it seems, are still ahead of her. Not since Mrs. Pollifax have readers seen a retiree with Brigid's savvy. We asked Masterman to talk about the origins of her boundary-breaking character.

masterman rageagainstGuest post by Becky Masterman

You could say that Rage Against the Dying has taken me 20 years to write. That includes the six novels I wrote just for practice, and that never sold. What makes this latest different, I’m told, is not the thriller plot, though it is fast-paced and has a truly heinous serial killer in it. The difference is the heroine, Brigid Quinn, an older woman who is retired from the FBI and not fitting very well into the world she always sought to protect for others.

People ask where I found this character. Is it me? No. Brigid is an unlikely combination of two real people: One is the retired commander at Fort Apache, The Bronx, who after getting about eight thousand cases under his belt, literally wrote the book on homicide investigation. He’s a tough guy, but at his own insistence, also "the last boy scout." It is said that the character of Kojak was based on him.

The other person is a woman in my book club. She has lived all over the world, hikes, plays golf twice a week. When we left a restaurant one night she wrote a note on a napkin and slipped it to a lone male diner.  She’s 80 years old.

In their own ways, both these people, the homicide detective and the elderly friend, "rage against the dying." Through my stories, I can be like them.

Thanks Becky! Rage Against the Dying is on sale today. For more on the book and Becky, visit St. Martin's website.

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