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Publisher's Summary

A young woman is found brutally murdered, and the main suspect is the victim's fiancé, a hideously scarred Iraq War vet known as the Burned Man. But railroad police Special Agent Sydney Rose Parnell, brought in by the Denver Major Crimes unit to help investigate, can't shake the feeling that larger forces are behind this apparent crime of passion.

In the depths of an icy winter, Parnell and her K9 partner, Clyde - both haunted by their time in Iraq - descend into the underground world of a savage gang of rail riders. There, they uncover a wide-reaching conspiracy and a series of shocking crimes. Crimes that threaten everything Parnell holds dear.

As the search for the truth puts her directly in the path of the killer, Parnell must struggle with a deadly question: Can she fight monsters without becoming one herself?

©2016 Barbara Nickless. (P)2016 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.

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Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great debut, looking forward to more from this author

I am very impressed with this debut novel by Barbara Nickless. I thought she did a superb job with this book and I thoroughly enjoyed her writing style. This is another one of those who done it books that really keeps the reader/listener guessing right up to the very end.
A woman is brutally murdered, she's kind and helpful to the down and outers and the hobos who pass through hitching rides on the railroad. Some say she's like an angel others say she's a busybody getting involved with the wrong people. And then there's her fiancé a badly burned Iraq veteran who is arrested for the crime.
I could go on and describe the railroad police and the detective from the major crimes unit but you can read all that on the synopsis provided.
What you won't see there is that while the main story is playing out there are multiple subplots going on concurrently. Each of these subplots ties into the main story and each provides another suspect but don't get too attached to anyone in particular because the ending will throw you for a loop.
Emily Sutton-Smith gives an Excellent performance.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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Thank You.

92 of 96 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Wayne
  • Matthews, NC
  • 10-09-16

Great start for a first time author

Blood on the Tracks was my Kindle First selection last month so I had the opportunity to read the ebook before the October 1 release date. I was so impressed that I decided to listen to the audiobook also. This is an incredibly strong debut novel by Barbara Nicklass. The Sydney Rose Parnell series promises to be a favorite. Parnell is a 27 year old ex-Marine currently working as a special agent for the railway police in Denver. She and her K9 partner Clyde are both veterans of war in Iraq and both suffer from PTSD. This police thriller is superb. Emily Sutton-Smiths narration is excellent.

48 of 52 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Probably a good read; not a great listen

There are a lot of things to like about this book. The writing is quite good and the protagonist is unique, flawed, and interesting. The author clearly has firsthand knowledge of the Marine Corps and railway police or she did a lot of very effective research. On the other hand it does tend to drag on at some points, adding length without necessarily adding any depth to the story or the characters.

Unfortunately, the narrator detracts from the story so I cannot honestly say how good the book is. This is especially true in regards to the dialog, which felt very mechanical. It's entirely possible that it would have felt natural had it been read by someone else. This could also be the reason that all the male characters were completely indistinguishable from one another. Why they would choose a narrator with a single male voice (and a bad one at that) to read a book that is dominated by male secondary characters is beyond me.

Personally, I do not care for books with high body counts and no repercussions. It feels very unrealistic. So for me that was a negative. Otherwise the story might have been four stars.

The book is set up for a series and I would be tempted to read more, but I would not listen again.

46 of 53 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

NOT what the summary implied

What disappointed you about Blood on the Tracks?

The story is not at all a mystery or a suspense. It's more a story about a woman who suffers from PTSD, and often suffers flashbacks. It's a military story that depicts horrible things that happen in Iraq, and the mental anguish that soldiers suffer post war.

What do you think your next listen will be?

Janet evanovich 23

78 of 91 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent story & narrator...

I really enjoyed the excitement the narrator brought to this journey seen through eyes of a brave Lady marine who helped to heal herself and
Her service dog after seeing too much at war....can't stop listening to
This excellent book,

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • NOKWISA
  • Garland, Texas, United States
  • 12-12-16

Wonder Woman

She manages tremendous odds and battles. She's like a Timex; takes a licking and keeps on ticking. The plot was good and very unusual. The ghosts popping in and out , the cocktail of drugs (uppers/downers) plus booze and PTSD might have had something to do with that. The narrator does not do male voices well at all so if she had just kept this to a straight read I would have liked her better. But actually I did enjoy it!

14 of 16 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Semi slow starter -- but hang on for the ride !

I really liked that the book described how the soldiers were thinking and feeling after coming home from the war. I have always heard about ptsd - and about half of my co-workers suffer from the condition. Their responses to questions are vague at best.
True or not , I feel like reading this book gave me some insight into the behavior of the people I with with.
Naturally, my favorite character was Clyde - dogs are effected by the war too!
The narrated did a great job. I really appreciated the emphases she was able to carry across in the sardonic humor of our heroine.
I would have liked a bit more out of Her love interest - maybe a bit more back story.
All in all a great story that took me to a place I have never been before - a glimpse into the lives of soldiers come home and those around them.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Engaging Mystery with Many Twists & Turns

This story took a lot of implausible twists and turns, but it held my interest and I did want to see where it was going. There are some ties to war, skin heads and violent crimes, which may be off putting for some (not my normal fare). The narrator is good and does well with many voices. If you like a good mystery and don't have a problem with violence, it's a not a bad listen.

17 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Good twist

I would have given the narrator five stars, but she kept pronouncing Semper Fi ...Semper FEE ...and it bugged me. I'm not a marine, but I know a few of them. It would bug them too. anyway other than that good story, a lot of twists and turns, keeps you guessing till the end.

30 of 36 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Hmmm... Uneven Story that is Both Great and Boring

My thoughts on this book are still mixed. Sometimes I loved the book, and in the next second, I'd think, "If they bring THAT (whatever THAT might be; it varied) up one more time, I'm going to scream!" As a person with PTSD myself and a volunteer at a VA Hospital, I thought that much of the PTSD-related musings of the main character as well as others, like Nick and the Burned Man, were well-detailed and pretty accurate, so either the author has some experience with it, or has done good research. However, I did find it slightly overdone in some sections, especially when the main character was trying to make correct decisions.

Character development was also a bit uneven, with some of the characters well-developed and others not so much. I was left with many questions that didn't appear to have adequate answers, but that may just be me. Why was the Iraqi backstory about the soldier and the woman such a big deal that it would "bring down" everyone who knew about it? I sort of bought the answer the book gave, but not really. So it brought the war to a higher, more violent place--isn't that what war is supposed to be about? Killing as many bad guys as possible? We gave up on the hearts and minds pretty early in both Afghanistan and Iraq, as far as I'm concerned. Which makes the horror done to so many of our own soldiers so much more horrific. I volunteer at a VA hospital and have seen the damage done up close and personal, so am a little bitter myself.

The ending was a surprise that I didn't see coming. I may do this book again, but as a print or Kindle. One of the disadvantages of audiobooks in this genre is the difficulty of going back and re-reading a particular section to gain more information about one character or situation when trying to guess who done it, which is much of the point of a whodunit.

I usually prefer male narrators, but this woman was relatively pleasant to listen to, except for that one thing that another reviewer brought up, her mispronunciation of Semper Fi. I can't believe nobody caught that when reviewing the audiobook! Marines have a their own set of how things are done and said, and for the most part, this book got them spot-on. Which makes the mispronunciation even more jarring.

For a first book, it was a definitely a worthy effort. It was at least not the kind of buddy-cop shoot-em-up that could be written by a computer program, as so many in this genre are these days. It was quite original, and that alone gave it an extra star. I read and listen to a great many books these days as I am disabled and spend much time alone at home, and prefer to listen to books as opposed to watching movies or television (yuck!) and I can only listen to so much music before I find it boring.

I will be checking out the next book in the series, but may give it a try on Kindle first, just to see if I prefer that. Some books are made to be read and some to be heard. I haven't decided yet where Sydney Rose falls on that line. If you find this review helpful, please check the box below. Thanks for reading all the way through. Writing reviews that other people will read helps me to solidify my feelings on a particular book, but I am trying to be helpful to other potential readers as well.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Suswati
  • 05-20-17

Slightly overrated in terms of reviews

The idea of PTSD of war veterans is an important topic, and I understand that the author attempted to raise the issue, but the constant appearance of ghosts with not much impact on the narrator seems to trivialise the effect of trauma. She seems to have learnt to live with them.

The story itself felt too much of a mishmash of several themes from the far right to soldiers of war. It would have been better to stick to one area. I would have been more interested in hearing about Iraq and how it is more clearly linked with the current crime. It just seems to fall short in developing the major themes.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • S. Rifflart
  • 01-30-17

Very bleak at times

This story of a war ravaged ex woman marine was not short on bleak imagery. But the story is a good one. Plenty of back story and twists and turns and at least it ended with hope

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • anna
  • 10-07-16

Great !

Great story twisting this way and that . Loved it and will look for more from this author.