A Twist Of The Knife by Becky Masterman

The Blurb On The Back:

It takes a strong woman to be able to watch someone die.

Ex-FBI agent Brigid Quinn has seen it all, and survived.  But nothing can cut her closer to the bone than family …

Laura Coleman once saved Brigid’s life, but is now working on an ‘innocence project’, investigating cold cases.  And one in particular seems to have caught her attention.  Fifteen years before, Marcus Creighton was accused of killing his wife and three children.  Now the state governor has signed the warrant for his execution.

Worried that her friend is getting in too deep, Brigid promises to help.  But what if her instincts are betraying her?  If she can’t even trust her memories of her own childhood, how can she make a call on some stranger’s story that took place over fifteen years before?

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):

Former FBI agent Brigid Quinn returns to her home town of Fort Lauderdale when her dad is hospitalised with pneumonia and while there meets up with ex-colleague Laura Coleman who once saved her life.  Coleman now works with a defence attorney, re-examining death row cases and she wants Quinn’s help with one in particular.  15 years ago Marcus Creighton was convicted of the murder of his wife and three children after his mistress refused to corroborate his alibi and his finger prints were found on the murder weapon.  But he’s always maintained his innocence and when the chief forensics officer of the time is found to be compromised, Coleman’s convinced that they can get the conviction overturned.

Quinn calls in some favours to help Coleman out, but she’s not convinced of Creighton’s innocence and worse, is worried that Coleman’s too emotionally involved with him.  Plus Quinn has problems of her own – her father’s illness has drawn out existing family tensions, forcing Quinn to re-examine her childhood and everything she thought she knew about her family …

I picked up Becky Masterman’s crime thriller not realising that it was the third in a series and I think you need to read the earlier books to understand the family and friendship dynamics as I found both them and Quinn’s behaviour around them difficult to believe in while the mystery itself never really grabbed me and becomes overwhelmed by Quinn’s family problems.  I liked the fact that Quinn is an older woman and able to draw on her experience but the hard-boiled voice just read like it was trying too hard and without having had the benefit of the earlier books, I simply wasn’t that interested or emotionally invested in her re-examination of her relationship with her parents or her brother.  Similarly, I found her friendship with Coleman to be a little cold and distant and really needed to know their shared history (which is mentioned without going into much detail) in order to understand some of the tensions there.  The mystery itself is okay but very much plays second fiddle to Quinn’s domestic issues and while the death row element should add jeopardy a development half way through removes the urgency and made it difficult to care about the resolution.  Ultimately I just didn’t connect with the book and I’m not sure I care enough about Quinn to read the earlier works.

A TWIST OF THE KNIFE will be released in the United Kingdom on 23rd March 2017.  Thanks to the Amazon Vine Programme for the review copy of this book.

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