At First Light

Mysterious Book Report No. 468

by John Dwaine McKenna

Award-winning and best-selling author—as well as personal friend—Barbara Nickless, has just launched her latest book featuring a pair of all new characters in a high intensity thriller that will take your breath away.

At First Light, (Thomas & Mercer, $15.95, PB, 400 pages, ISBN 970-1-5420-26-41-3), by Barbara Nickless, introduces a female character named Addie Bisset, who’s a homicide detective who works in the Chicago Police Department.  The novel opens at the scene of a man who’s been ritually murdered,  his body staked out to resemble the ancient bodies found in peat bogs throughout Europe, then left beside the Calumet River with mysterious symbols carved on wooden strips arranged like sunbeams around his head.  They turn out to be Viking runes.  Baffled, Addie calls in a consultant, her friend,  university professor Evan Wilding, a forensic semiotician (Someone who studies signs and symbols) to try to decipher the markings.  When a second body, also killed in ritualistic manner turns up, it becomes apparent they’re dealing with a possible serial killer in this outstanding psychological thriller.  Evan uses all of his linguistic ability in attempting to get inside the killer’s mind and find out exactly who he or she is.  In translating the archaic runes, he determines that the killer  intends to slay three more victims.  But as Addie and Evan struggle to find the monster before he claims more victims they’re impeded by an unknown someone who’s deliberately leading them astray, as well as hampered by her misogynistic superior . . . a lieutenant . . . who doesn’t think females are capable of anything more than administrative or clerical duties.

A back-story featuring tidbits of romance, as well as frequent references to the epic poem Beowulf  and a smattering of historic Viking lore, keep the plot moving and the reader fully engaged and eager for the next installment of what promises to be an exciting and dynamic series.    Barbara Nickless is an awesome talent! You won’t be disappointed.


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