Tag: Suspense

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!

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

All the Devils are Here by Louise Penny

Book Summary

On their first night in Paris, the Gamaches gather as a family for a bistro dinner with Armand’s godfather, the billionaire Stephen Horowitz. Walking home together after the meal, they watch in horror as Stephen is knocked down and critically injured in what Gamache knows is no accident, but a deliberate attempt on the elderly man’s life. 

When a strange key is found in Stephen’s possession it sends Armand, his wife Reine-Marie, and his former second-in-command at the Sûreté, Jean-Guy Beauvoir, from the top of the Tour d’Eiffel, to the bowels of the Paris Archives, from luxury hotels to odd, coded, works of art. 

It sends them deep into the secrets Armand’s godfather has kept for decades. 

Read More

Top Ten Tuesday: My Favourite Reads of 2020

As this hideous year winds down, and we look back at the books we’ve read this year—or, in my case, since I refocused my website towards crime fiction this past summer—we celebrate our favourite and the best of the year as this week’s Top Ten Tuesday from Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl.

Given I haven’t read that many books since the summer, and of those that I did read, a lot are from previous years, this list is strictly going to be less the best of and more what my favourites were.

So, in no particular order, here’s the books and series I’m raving about:

BLOOD ON THE TRACKS by Barbara Nickless

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?

Crime Fiction | Suspense | Mystery : Thomas & Mercer, 2016

FALLOUT by Sara Paretsky

Before there was Lisbeth Salander, before there was Stephanie Plum, there was V.I. WARSHAWSKI. To her parents, she’s Victoria Iphigenia. To her friends, she’s Vic. But to clients seeking her talents as a detective, she’s V.I. And her new case will lead her from her native Chicago… and into Kansas, on the trail of a vanished film student and a faded Hollywood star.

Accompanied by her dog, V.I. tracks her quarry through a university town, across fields where missile silos once flourished — and into a past riven by long-simmering racial tensions, a past that holds the key to the crimes of the present. But as the mysteries stack up, so does the body count. And in this, her toughest case, not even V.I. is safe.

Crime Fiction | Detective | Suspense : William Morrow, 2017


Caleb Zelic used to meet life head-on. Now he’s struggling just to get through the day. His best mate is dead, his ex-wife, Kat, is avoiding him, and nightmares haunt his waking hours.

But when a young woman is killed after pleading for his help in sign language, Caleb is determined to find out who she was. And the trail leads straight to his hometown, Resurrection Bay. The town is on bushfire alert and simmering with racial tensions. As he delves deeper, Caleb uncovers secrets that could threaten his life and any chance of reuniting with Kat. Driven by his demons, he pushes on. But who is he willing to sacrifice along the way?

Crime Fiction | Suspense | Noir Mystery : Pushkin Press, 2018


When a peculiar letter arrives inviting Armand Gamache to an abandoned farmhouse, the former head of the Sûreté du Québec discovers that a complete stranger has named him one of the executors of her will. Still on suspension, and frankly curious, Gamache accepts and soon learns that the other two executors are Myrna Landers, the bookseller from Three Pines, and a young builder.

None of them had ever met the elderly woman.

The will is so odd and includes bequests that are so wildly unlikely that Gamache and the others suspect the woman must have been delusional. But what if, Gamache begins to ask himself, she was perfectly sane?

When a body is found, the terms of the bizarre will suddenly seem less peculiar and far more menacing. But it isn’t the only menace Gamache is facing.

Crime Fiction | Suspense | Murder-Mystery : Minotaur Books, 2018


The Parsees are among the oldest, most secretive and most influential communities in the city: respected, envied and sometimes feared.

When prominent industrialist Cyrus Zorabian is murdered on holy ground, his body dumped inside a Tower of Silence – where the Parsee dead are consumed by vultures – the police dismiss it as a random killing. But his daughter is unconvinced.

Chopra, uneasy at entering this world of power and privilege, is soon plagued by doubts about the case.

But murder is murder. And in Mumbai, wealth and corruption go in hand in hand, inextricably linking the lives of both high and low.

Crime Fiction | Murder-mystery : Mulholland Books, 2019

Book Talk: The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave

My Wish List and yes, my bank account too, is groaning under the weight of all the new books I’m adding, and looking forward to. Including this one coming out next year from Simon & Schuster, THE LAST THING HE TOLD ME by Laura Dave is making waves even before publication because … it’s already been optioned as a TV series starring Julia Roberts … yes, that Julia Roberts!

About the Author

Laura Dave is the national and international bestselling author of Eight Hundred Grapes and other novels. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times; O, The Oprah Magazine; Ladies’ Home Journal; Glamour; Redbook; Self; and The New York Observer. Dave has appeared on the CBS Early Show, The Modern Love Podcast, and NPR’s All Things Considered; and Cosmopolitan named her a “Fun and Fearless Phenom” of the year. She resides with her family in Santa Monica.

About the Book

Before Owen Michaels disappears, he manages to smuggle a note to his beloved wife of one year: Protect her. Despite her confusion and fear, Hannah Hall knows exactly to whom the note refers: Owen’s sixteen-year-old daughter, Bailey. Bailey, who lost her mother tragically as a child. Bailey, who wants absolutely nothing to do with her new stepmother.

As Hannah’s increasingly desperate calls to Owen go unanswered; as the FBI arrests Owen’s boss; as a US Marshal and FBI agents arrive at her Sausalito home unannounced, Hannah quickly realizes her husband isn’t who he said he was. And that Bailey just may hold the key to figuring out Owen’s true identity—and why he really disappeared.

Hannah and Bailey set out to discover the truth, together. But as they start putting together the pieces of Owen’s past, they soon realize they are also building a new future. One neither Hannah nor Bailey could have anticipated.

Laura Dave
Simon & Schuster, May 4, 2021
Paperback, 320 pages
Thriller | Suspense