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Saturday, April 18, 2020

Blood on the Tracks by Barbara Nickless

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.  I 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.


18 comments:

  1. If there's a K9 partner, this might be a good series for my husband (and me). Just as long as the dog never dies! I'll add it to our list. Thanks, Jenclair.

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    1. Clyde doesn't die, but a lot of other people do. :)

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  2. Sounds good. I like the characters you describe a lot.

    I see that you reference Kindle Unlimited. You are the first person I've heard mention it. Are you a member, and if so, what do you think of it? I considered it once but noticed that not a lot of "big name" authors were included in the selections - at least at that time.

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    1. Sometimes there is absolutely nothing, but at other times, I find quite a few books. One thing I really like is that when I get a book that I enjoy from NetGalley, I can find the author's previous books on Kindle Unlimited. :)

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  3. I do love books where there'a a K9 partner! I will definitely be giving this series a try at some point. :)

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  4. A railroad police special agent. I don't think I've come across that one before. I'm partial to Marine veterans given my dad was one. I think I might like this and will have to add it to my wish list.

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    1. The author has done her research on both the railroad and the Marine aspect. It is violent, but Sydney and Clyde are great characters.

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  5. I've seen this book on Kindle Unlimited and wondered about it. Will put it on my list to try. Bet I'd like it. I appreciate your thoughts on it, Jenclair. Hope you and yours are well and good one state over from us....LOL!

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    1. I'm looking forward to the next one! We are good here, mostly at home, but taking walks through the neighborhood--which is an eerie experience at times. I've walked when I didn't see another walker at all and everything is so still and quiet. Keep well, Kay!

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  6. I love it when a book demands to be read like that. It is so satisfying. I had no idea before discovering book blogs that mysteries with detectives and their K-9 partners were such a sub-genre. I find it fascinating.

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    1. I don't know when I noticed the trend, but I have maybe three series that include the K-9 partner. Working dogs, their training, and their jobs intrigues me. :)

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  7. This sounds like an intriguing series! Will look out for them. Thanks, Jenclair! :)

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    1. I think you'd like Sydney and Clyde, Melody!

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  8. Count me in as another person who really enjoys this series. I have the third book yet to read, and I'd better get myself in gear since there's a new one coming up!

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    1. :) I'm glad to find someone else who is reading the series!

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  9. This does sound good! I had to google Belgian Malinois. They look like German Shepherds don't they? What pretty dogs.

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  10. Sydney and Clyde are a partnership I would like to read about -- her experiences make her a promising character.

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