Blood on the Tracks is the first book in the Sydney Rose Parnell series. I actually started with the 4th book (Gone to Darkness--which will be published in August), but since I like the characters--and loved Clyde, Sydney's K-9 partner--I wanted more. So...I found the first book in the series.
One of the most interesting aspects of the series is Sydney's experience as an Iraq war veteran and Marine, and both Sydney and Clyde have some unresolved issues from the war.
Blood on the Tracks gives a great deal of background that I didn't have when I read Gone to Darkness. It read fine as a stand alone, but learning more about the background was intriguing. The chapter epigraphs are particularly thought-provoking.
Who is Sydney Rose Parnell? She is a Marine war veteran who still struggles with PTSD and currently, a railroad police special agent.
Who is Clyde? Clyde is also a Marine veteran, a Belgian Malinois, and Sydney's best friend and companion. The background information explains their connection through Doug Ayer's, Clyde's handler in Iraq.
Plot? A young woman is brutally murdered and the suspect is the Burned Man, an Iraq war veteran with gruesome facial scars. This creates a personal dilemma for Sydney in two separate ways--she has a connection to Elise through Nik, who has been a father figure for both Sydney and Elise and through the Burned Man, whom she recognizes from an event in Iraq.
There are two parallel plot lines, one of which peters out when when evidence points in a specific direction. The other plot line, however, I suspect will be amplified in another book.
Some misdirection and a twist that was not exactly what I expected. The characters are well drawn and complex; the weight of grief, death, and war is evident in Sydney's responses and in the epigraphs to each chapter; the research into the effects of war gave a sense of realism and depth.
I found myself unable to put this down as I cheered on Sydney and Clyde, enjoyed reading about the trains and hobo population, watched Sydney deal with her mixed emotions about the Burned Man--her belief in his innocence and her fears of the event in the past becoming public knowledge.
Kindle Unlimited. I've already gotten the next book and started it!
Police Procedural/Suspense. 2016. Print length: 386 pages.