Tag: Barbara Nickless

Ambush by Barbara Nickless

Book Summary

Railway cop and former Marine Sydney Parnell is on the hunt. So is a killer she knows only as the Alpha. They’re in a race to find Malik, an eleven-year-old Iraqi boy with secrets to guard. Sydney wants to help him. The Alpha wants him dead.

From the dark alleys of Mexico City to the mean streets of Denver, Sydney and her K9 partner, Clyde, use their wits and determination to chase down the ruthless killer. But when their path collides with his, Sydney realizes just how far-reaching and sinister the Alpha’s past is. And how far he’s willing to go to save his secrets.

This series has gone from “OMG this is good,” with book one, Blood on the Tracks, to “WOW, what the hell,” in book two, Dead Stop, to “holy shit!” with Ambush, book 3 in this outstanding dark crime series of reads. Barbara Nickless came out of nowhere onto my radar last year and is now one of my top 5 go-to authors. Her writing puts her at number two in my all-time favourite authors.

Yes, she is that good! It’s not just her story telling skills, and her ability to weave several connecting threads throughout her work, but the depth she’s given to her MC, Sydney, the sheer intimacy we feel on both a physical, emotional, and mental level. It’s as if we’re sat with her in a bar supping a beer, with Clyde her K9 partner there, at our feet, as she tells you about the case in hand. And that isn’t to say her other characters miss out, they don’t. From the secondary and supporting cast, right on through to the shadowy figures pulling the strings. Everyone is nuanced in many shades of grey, with those we think of as bad having their own story to tell.

Nickless is faultless in setting a gripping scene and creating atmosphere, along with dealing us a real sense of dread, with wire-taut tension in the fight scene, through to using pacing to full effect in stringing out our nerves to the limit, it will make your skin prickle.

Truly, this gifted combination of exemplary storytelling will have you flicking pages, trying to keep up with Sydney and her K9 partner, Clyde, as she pieces together odd facts, with seemingly random pieces of information, all the while hunting down who’s behind the shadows hiding in dark alleys. And believe me, it’s never who you think it is.

We are played as many times as Sydney is, as she sifts the shifting sands of memories that haunt her from her time in Afghanistan, through to the current murder of fellow marine, Kane, and his connection to what happened in Sydney’s past. It all ties in by the end that will leave you strung out with frayed nerves but also, with a sense of hope. And, of course, with a promise that Sydney and Clyde are not done … not done by a long shot.

If you like high octane pacing, gritty action, dark alleys, fist-fights, and a strong female lead who refuses to give in, and refuses to give up, then I can highly recommend this whole series and especially, Ambush.

Smart, highly original, and brutally authentic!

AMBUSH
Sydney Rose Parnell #3
Barbara Nickless
Thomas & Mercer, 2019
Paperback, 364 pages
Crime | Mystery | Suspense

WWW Wednesday

Bonjour tout la monde: welcome to WWW Wednesday, a weekly meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words in which we ask three simple questions:

  • What are you currently Reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

So, what have I been up to this last week, I hear you ask? Well, let’s see …

What I’m currently reading.

I started TWO GIRLS DOWN by Louisa Luna last night, a new series and a new author to me. I read 130 pages but, to be honest, I’m not loving this one, but who knows, maybe it will surprise me.

“When two young sisters disappear from a strip mall parking lot in a small Pennsylvania town, their devastated mother hires an enigmatic bounty hunter, Alice Vega, to help find the girls. Immediately shut out by a local police department already stretched thin by budget cuts and the growing OxyContin and meth epidemic, Vega enlists the help of a disgraced former cop, Max Caplan. Cap is a man trying to put the scandal of his past behind him and move on, but Vega needs his help to find the girls, and she will not be denied.

With little to go on, Vega and Cap will go to extraordinary lengths to untangle a dangerous web of lies, false leads, and complex relationships to find the girls before time runs out, and they are gone forever.”

What I recently finished.

If you follow this blog regularly, you’ll already have seen my review on Louise Penny’s latest Three Pines mystery, ALL THE DEVILS ARE HERE—her sixteenth entry into this long running series. It also has to be my first entry on this year’s Best Of Reads and what will be one of my Top Ten best reads of all-time.

Yes, it was that good. Don’t believe me? Go read my review and if you’re not convinced, go read it yourself!

What will I read next?

Ah, that’s always one of the big questions as, each time I finish one book, I never know what I might read next. I can be something of a mood reader so like to keep several choices to hand. But, I’m leaning towards the next book in Barbara Nickless’s excellent Sydney Rose Parnell series, AMBUSH. The first two were both excellent reads and you can check my reviews to learn what I thought, in detail. But Nickless is now one of my Go-To authors.

“Railway cop and former Marine Sydney Parnell is on the hunt. So is a killer she knows only as the Alpha. They’re in a race to find Malik, an eleven-year-old Iraqi boy with secrets to guard. Sydney wants to help him. The Alpha wants him dead.

From the dark alleys of Mexico City to the mean streets of Denver, Sydney and her K9 partner, Clyde, use their wits and determination to chase down the ruthless killer. But when their path collides with his, Sydney realizes just how far-reaching and sinister the Alpha’s past is. And how far he’s willing to go to save his secrets.”

And you, what are you reading and what are looking forward to reading next?

Book Haul: Upcoming Reads

Oh, how I love book mail, when those lovely, bright shiny covered books arrive and I smell them for the first time, ah! Come on, is there anything better? And the thrill of breaking a new spine of a new story, and even better, a new author. Well, I have quite a few new authors coming up, thanks to Jo over at the Blue Mood Cafe for some of these suggestions.

In this week’s haul:

  • TWO GIRLS DOWN by Louisa Luna (Crime)
  • AMBUSH by Barbara Nickless (Crime)
  • A MERCIFUL PROMISE by Kendra Elliot (Crime)
  • WE LIE WITH DEATH by Devin Madson (Fantasy)
  • HALL OF SMOKE by H.M. Long (Myth/Fantasy)
  • COLONYSIDE by Michael Mammay (SF)

And, of course, I just finished reading DEAD LAND by Sara Paretsky, which arrived way ahead of all the other books I ordered at the same time. Not that I’m complaining, but sometimes I wonder how my online book retailer makes any money trying to keep up with the Big A by offering free shipping and then, sending my order one book at a time.

I cannot finish without saying a really BIG thank you to Hannah Long for the signed copy of HALL OF SMOKE, a Norse-inspired fantasy that sounds like a fantastic and wild ride. And, of course, I can’t wait to read all of these.

Dead Stop by Barbara Nickless

Book Summary

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 monsoon like 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.

DEAD STOP by Barbara Nickless is one hell of a twisted read full of taut drama, nail-biting tension, with a compelling plot that utterly blindsided me. But what sets this book apart from other murder-mysteries I’ve read of late, is it’s MC. Sydney Rose Parnell is the kind of character you not only root for the entire time, but is someone you can identify with and feel an affinity for because of her past … because of the baggage she carries.

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