Dead Stop

Dead Stop

Mysterious Book Report No. 340

by John Dwaine McKenna

When the prestigious 2018 Colorado Book Awards were announced earlier this month, Dead Stop, (Thomas & Mercer, PB $15.95, 384 pages, ISBN 9781503943384) by Barbara Nickless was the Mystery Fiction winner.  These awards are sponsored by the Colorado Humanities Organization, and is the equivalent, in the MBRs opinion, of winning an Olympic Medal.  It’s so far up on our personal list of unobtaniums, that we’ll be cashing the first of our Publisher’s Clearing House checks and going to the White House to pick up a Medal of Freedom, before ever being nominated for, much less winning, a Colorado Book Award.  It is a mighty accomplishment, and Ms. Nickless is the most deserving of recipients.  Her work is nothing less than epic.

Dead Stop is the second installment in the saga of Sydney Rose Parnell and her K9 partner Clyde, a Belgium Malinois war dog.  They’re both ex-maries, Iraq War Vets—Sydney with Cemetery Services and Clyde with CIA Special Operations—who suffer from PTSD, and both of them see ghosts of those who didn’t come home.

Six months have gone by since the showdown and shootout with a violent gang of thugs that left Sydney Rose and Clyde physically and emotionally scarred, and barely able to continue in her job as a Special Agent for the Denver Pacific Continental Railroad.  She’s not sure she’s ready to handle another grueling, emotional and dangerous case . . . but heroes don’t choose their fights . . . and when confronted by evil, Sydney Rose rises to the occasion, battling with everything she has to save eight year-old Lucy Davenport, after her mother is murdered on DPC property, her father grievously wounded and her two older brothers killed in a home invasion and massacre.  While the police and FBI search for clues, Sydney tries to find the location of an obsolete railroad crossing number that was written on the wall of an abandoned property—next to a pair of dead bodies—just before the whole thing was blown sky-high by booby-trapped explosives.  The key to it all may be held by a retired DPC Special Agent with a history of cruelty, viciousness and criminality . . . but “Bull,” like little Lucy Davenport, is missing.  Are the cases related?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  The only way to know for sure is to read this award-winning, and fast-paced, action-packed, thriller-diller of a novel featuring two of the most endearing and toughest ex-jarheads you’ll ever meet.  Barbara Nickless is fast attracting legions of fans all over the world.  This is your chance to get in on the ground floor of what promises to be a much-loved and long-lived series, because the third of Sydney Rose and Clyde’s adventures, entitled; Ambush, is due in January 2019.  The MBR is all aboard and a Barbara Nickless fan for life!

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