Coming Soon from Thomas & Mercer

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Dead Stop

Book 2 in the Sydney Parnell series. Now out from Thomas & Mercer.


“A deliciously twisted plot that winds through the dark corners of the past into the present where nothing—and nobody—is as they seem. Dead Stop is a first-rate, can’t-put-down mystery with a momentum that never slows. I am eager to see what Barbara Nickless comes up with next—she is definitely a mystery writer to watch.”

–Margaret Coel, New York Times bestselling author of Winter’s Child

“… riveting suspense. Nickless writes with the soul of a poet.  Dead Stop is a dark and memorable book.”

–Gayle Lynds, New York Times bestselling author of The Assassins

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.

Blood on the Tracks

Book 1 in the Sydney Parnell series

Awards: The Colorado Book Award, presented by Colorado Humanities & the Center for the Book; the Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence for mainstream mystery; the Colorado Authors’ League Writing Award for genre fiction. A Suspense Magazine Best Book of 2016.

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?

What others are saying:

Blood on the Tracks is a must-read debut. A suspenseful crime thriller with propulsive action, masterful writing and a tough-as-nails cop, Sydney Rose Parnell. Readers will want more.”

Robert K. Tanenbaum, bestselling author of the Butch Karp thrillers

“The aptly titled Blood on the Tracks offers a fresh and starkly original take on the mystery genre. Barbara Nickless has fashioned a beautifully drawn hero in take-charge, take-no-prisoners Sydney Parnell, former Marine and now a railway cop battling a deadly gang as she investigates their purported connection to a recent murder. Nickless proves a master of both form and function in establishing herself every bit the equal of Nevada Barr and Linda Fairstein. A major debut that is not to be missed.”

Jon Land, USA Today bestselling author

“Fast-paced and intense, Blood on the Tracks is an absorbing thriller that is both beautifully written and absolutely unique in character and setting. Barbara Nickless has written a twisting, tortured novel that speaks with brutal honesty of the lingering traumas of war, including and especially those wounds we cannot see. I fell hard for Parnell and her four-legged partner and can’t wait to read more.”

Vicki Pettersson, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Swerve

“Nickless’ writing admirably captures the fallout from a war where even survivors are trapped, forever reliving their trauma.”

Kirkus Reviews

“In Blood on the Tracks, Barbara Nickless delivers a thriller with the force of a speeding locomotive and the subtlety of a surgeon’s knife. Sydney and Clyde are both great characters with flaws and virtues to see them through a plot thick with menace. One for contemporary thriller lovers everywhere.”

Cindy A. Matthews, Authorlink

Blood on the Tracks is a bullet train of action. It’s one part mystery and two parts thriller with a compelling protagonist leading the charge toward a knock-out finish. The internal demons of one Sydney Rose Parnell are as gripping as the external monster she’s chasing around Colorado. You will long remember this spectacular debut novel.”

Mark Stevens, author of the award-winning Allison Coil Mystery Series

“…an interesting tale… the fast pace will leave you finished in no time. Nickless seamlessly ties everything together with a shocking ending…”

RT Book Reviews

“Part mystery, part antiwar story, Nickless’s engrossing first novel …  skillfully explores the dehumanizing effects resulting from the unspeakable cruelties of wartime as well as the part played by the loyalty soldiers owe to family and each other under stressful circumstances.”

Publisher’s Weekly

“Nickless captures you from the first sentence. Her series features Sydney Rose Parnell, a young woman haunted by the ghosts of her past. In Blood on the Tracks, she doggedly pursues a killer, seeking truth even in the face of her own destruction. The true mark of a heroine. Skilled in evoking emotion from the reader, Nickless is a master of the craft, a writer to keep your eyes on.”

Chris Goff, author of Dark Waters

From Thomas & Mercer

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