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Publisher's Summary

The search for a missing child leads a courageous railway cop down a twisted trail of murder.

It's been five months since Special Agent Sydney Parnell survived a violent confrontation with a gang of brutal thugs, an encounter that left her physically and emotionally scarred. Deep down, Sydney fears she isn't ready for another investigation. But when a woman is murdered on the train tracks and a child goes missing, she knows she's the only one who can lead the hunt for the killer. While Denver police and the FBI chase down blind alleys, Sydney focuses on a single cryptic clue left behind at the crime scene - one that will send her down a path of greed, violence, and long-ago love.

With Denver beset by a series of monsoonlike thunderstorms that threaten to flood the city, Sydney and her K9 partner, Clyde, must wade through a murky trail of murder that stretches back thirty years - all to rescue a child...and catch a killer with a long memory and an insatiable appetite for destruction.

©2017 Barbara Nickless (P)2017 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved

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  • Lia
  • Sutton, Australia
  • 10-12-17

Intense, Gritty, Raw And Amazing

Today’s literary field is covered with about a half million books a year, and it seems many writers believe all they have to do is sit down at a keyboard and type. They could learn a thing or two from Barbara Nickless.

Her new book, “Dead Stop,” is impeccably researched. From police procedural aspects to railroad facts and even right down to the mental challenges faced by her lead character, Sydney Rose Parnell, Ms. Nickless has inserted more than enough information to breathe life into this novel and make it real. But the list of good things about this book doesn’t stop there.

Sydney Parnell’s character is complicated, and the author allows her to share everything. Some of the minor characters are only in scenes briefly, yet just as when we meet someone in person, readers are privy to a range of personality indicators run through Sydney’s filters. Having well-defined characters, even the ones who are only going to be around for a few pages, wakes the book up and brings it to life.

The plot is intense and very believable. The entire story takes place over a few days, as Sydney hunts for both a missing child and a deranged killer. A second mystery unfolds and Ms. Nickless reveals that there is a tangible back story, with potentially more murders that could be connected with current events. Sydney works desperately, racing against time to unwind all the threads. An interesting twist is Ms. Nickless choosing to give Sydney a canine partner. Clyde is an integral part of the novel, and the interplay between the dog and Sydney ranges from serious to humorous.

Sydney’s battle with her past. A war veteran assigned to Mortuary Affairs, she is confronted regularly by the manifestations of her more haunting experiences. Ms. Nickless writes with excellence in describing the post-traumatic stress, there are so many other detective authors using this idea – but in this book it is dealt with so well. That I can’t help but wish for Sydney to find a way through her troubles. Ms. Nickless is a gem of an author, and I believe she can give Sydney other interesting problems to deal with while leaving the PTSD issues behind.

While “Dead Stop” is the second book in the series, it can be read as a standalone. There are a few references to the first story (“Blood on the Tracks”), although little of the main plot is revealed and one could conceivably read the two books in reverse order…though why would you want to? If you’re a fan of detective/suspense stories, you won’t do better than these two books by Barbara Nickless.

I rarely give five stars but this book and blood on the tracks are a few that I have awarded 5 stars. It is a truly amazing listen that should not be missed. Please Ms. Nickless write some of these wonderful stories.

Emily Sutton-Smith is one of my favourite narrators and she was amazing with the delivery of this story.

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Good sequel- first is better...

This is a good follow up to Blood on the Tracks.
When a woman (the daughter-in-law of the railroad owner) supposedly commits suicide on the train tracks and her little girl is abducted there is a good foundation for a mystery. But this is a mystery that began almost 30 years ago. It has everything you would expect in a good mystery:
Sex, betrayal, infidelity, money, love, a heroine railroad cop (Sydney Parnell) who suffers from PTSD and major feelings of guilt for the things she done in her past to protect. Now she's on a mission to save the little girl along with her ex military dog Clyde.
This is a good book, it does get a little complicated at times with the different relationships and quite a few characters. The ending is a segue into Sydney's future in law enforcement and a change in agencies.
Emily Sutton-Smith does a very good job narrating. If you found this review helpful please indicate so.
Thank You.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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