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Blood on the Tracks

(Sydney Rose Parnell #1)

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  18,245 ratings  ·  1,450 reviews
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 wi
Kindle Edition, 386 pages
Published October 1st 2016 by Thomas & Mercer
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Barbara Ambush, the third Sydney Rose book, will come out in November 2018. Thanks for asking!

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4.21  · 
Rating details
 ·  18,245 ratings  ·  1,450 reviews

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Kylie D
May 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Meet Sydney Rose Parnell, former Marine, Iraqi war vet, and railway cop. Sydney is investigating the death of a woman, with all clues seeming to lead to a fellow Marine, known as the Burned Man, because of his hideous scars from the war. This doesn't sit well with Sydney, her gut telling her it wasn't him, so she and her canine partner Clyde go out on a limb to find the real killer. With the police investigation going nowhere, the military and a bunch of skinheads both serve to muddy the waters ...more
Dec 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Christine by: Kindle first pick
4.5 stars

Well, my goodness—yet another outstanding debut thriller!! I cannot believe how many wonderful new authors I have discovered this year. It is a real pleasure to add Ms. Barbara Nickless to the list.

Blood on the Tracks is a thoroughly engrossing read about Denver railway cop and former Marine Sydney Rose Parnell, her K9 partner Clyde, and their efforts to bring down the murderer of a young woman named Elise. Elise was known to the railway jumper community as “the good-hearted lady.” Who
Jan 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is Barbara Nickless‘s debut book. I loved the characters of Sydney Rose Parnell and her K9 partner, Clyde. Sydney is an Iraq war vet, now working as a railroad cop in Denver. Sydney has quite a few ghosts that she sees. And she thinks Clyde has a few as well.

A woman known as “the kind hearted lady” is murdered and her PTSD-suffering fiancé is suspected. Denver cops call Sydney in to help find the man among the hobos riding the rails. A group of neo-Nazis is discovered also riding the rails
Michael Slavin
Really good! I read this book because it was in the crime genera and had a military dog in it that now helps her owner as a railroad cop. I also liked that it was a series. It was a little different than most and very interesting.

What was special about this book were the hobos, the railroad (she is a railroad cop), the ghosts she saw all the time as if they were just people at the table with her (she was in the military in graves registration so she saw lots of dead people), and it was a good s
Mar 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
**Reread July 2018: Still a solid story.**

I was dithering back and forth between giving this four or five stars. Since I stayed up late to finish it and because I thought it did a really good job of dealing with PTSD in war veterans, I settled on giving it the rare five stars.

"There’s no escaping death, Corporal Parnell. Not for any of us. Not even when you’re young. Not even when you come home."

This is a new to me author so I went into the story with absolutely no expectations. What I found wa
Tracie Payne
Sep 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was EXCELLENT! At first it was a little shaky but I think it was just me. I loved Sydney's voice and inner thoughts. She was a serious bad ass but she was also broken. I loved Clyde a ton. This had a great mystery and it kept me guessing the whole time. I can't wait for the next book and I'm shocked this was the first novel for this author. The writing was fantastic.
Sep 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
More than five stars.

This author must have been studying the eyes of everyone since birth, she is more mature than her years on this earth. Description of places, cold, blowing desert sand short, but you feel like you were there with her characters. Marine Sydney Parnell back from Iraq, she is strong and haunted by the ghosts of soldiers she picked up, sometimes just the few body parts, so they come back home. Gripping story, beautifully written, suspenseful book. Can't wait to read more books w
Mark Stevens
Oct 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Blood on the Tracks" starts out as a thriller, morphs into a mystery, and turns back again into a movie-ready action-packed finish. But if you mention "movie," that sounds like this story hits the usual marks and follows the normal arcs. It doesn't. It's messy--in a good way--because it feels so driven by character. It's ambitious and sprawling. The story swoops from big picture (hey, stop that train!) to intimate. It's both violent and raw. "Blood on the Tracks" is about the ghosts of war, rac ...more
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
Once in a while, a book turns up that right from the start sucks me into the story and makes me fall in love with its characters. Blood on the Tracks is a book like that. I was instantly hooked with the story and I could not for my life figure out the truth about the young woman death before Syndey Rose herself figured it out. Railroad police Special Agent Sydney Rose Parnell is a new favorite heroine of mine. Her past in the army has left her with a broken heart and awful memories that plague h ...more
Theresa Alan
Oct 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is great writing. The story and characters grab you right away and the pace is unrelenting.
Railroad cop and Iraq veteran Sydney Parnell is brought in to help track down The Burned Man, a man known for riding the rails and suspected of a vicious murder of a woman who reached out to people in need, including those who ride trains.

The Burned Man is an Iraq vet who has burns over thirty percent of his body, including his face. He should be easy to find, but when Sydney and her canine, Clyde (w
The temptation is to star the book and leave it at that. But most critical objections I've seen were to the language and subject matter of the novel, the less-than-angelic depiction of American troops, and the heroine's ETOH and drug use. While not to everyone's taste, surely, those are silly reasons to object to a book. (If you don't like these things, don't read the book. What on earth are you doing reading in this genre?)

Those things don't bother me at all. I had a brother in Iraq. I may look
May 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars
Jul 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-mystery
This book was a solid 4 stars. I enjoyed this. It falls into the Mystery/Crime genre and there were many things to like about this one. I liked the MC. She is not the normal MC for this genre. She was flawed and a little broken, but she was also strong. Her side kick is a dog which in some way makes her even more likable.

The story line meandered a bit, but I loved the plot points and there were some great twists. The thing that I liked the most was the creative writing of the author. She has a g
Nov 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book, following former Marine and current railroad policewoman, who gets involved in tracking, with her K9 partner, another former marine and current hobo.
Special Agent Sydney Rose Parnell is introduced as a railway cop. I never knew we had such cops but we do and that intrigued me along with the story line of the homeless people who catch out on rail cars. I enjoyed the railroad angle and looking into the subculture of the hobos that is seldom talked about today. Another great part of this book is Sydney's canine partner, Clyde. He is a dog to love, for sure. This novel also has a very high body count but I still enjoyed this book. The only negat ...more
"Why did I re-up? Because when I came home, I didn’t know how to be home. Didn’t know how to fit in anymore. Didn’t know what to do with myself. I missed the order. The adrenaline. The sense of larger purpose. War is a drug; it’ll call you back until it kills you. —Corporal Sydney Rose Parnell."

We are dropped into the life of Sydney Rose Parnell, a railroad police officer and war veteran, getting ready for her day as the ghosts from her past crowd her kitchen table. The war broke both her an
CD {Boulder Blvd}
Aug 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: s-my-e-books
Written in 1st POV, you meet the very complicated person of Sydney Rose Parnell. I'm not a fan of 1st POV but I thought this book was really well written. Secondary characters aren't always well developed in 1st POV and in this book, there were a number of well developed secondary charters (as well as a few ghosts). We also have Clyde, a very well developed service dog who is an excellent side kick and integrated into the many scenes very well.

Sydney has come back from the war in Iraq somewhat d
Paula Adams
Nov 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Lots of action, based in Colorado during the winter mostly in the railyard. Several of the police detectives/officers were in the Marines in Iraq and have secrets they have to live with. People go missing every year from the railyard at the same time every year. It's a combined effort between the Denver PD and the railyard police to find out what is happening.
Nov 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
WOW! That was amazing! There were so many twists and turns and I LOVED it! This Author kept me engaged and excited about the story from the first page! The last 10% or so, I think I was holding my breath the entire time! Fantastic!!!! Highly recommend this one!
Jul 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lauren by: Veronica
Blood on the Tracks
4.5 Stars

Sydney Rose Parnell, is an Iraq war veteran struggling with PTSD and working as a railroad policewoman. She is called in to help on the investigation into the brutal murder of a young woman with ties to the hobo/train jumper community.

Sydney is a wonderful heroine and her relationship with her canine partner, Clyde, is truly special. The author's research into PTSD and the mental health issues plaguing veterans is thorough and well written.

The mystery is engrossing
Audra B
2.5 stars. It didn't hold my interest and I ended up skimming a lot of it. I was never able to picture or connect to the characters or the setting. There was no concept of time for me...I had no idea this all took place in about 48 hours. Do people really say "murder cop?" That was weird. I also didn't like her descriptions and metaphors of things. It was way too much and didn't fit.
Oct 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Blood on the Tracks is riveting, rapid-fire, and relevant. From the very first page I was hooked by the writing: the dialogue is gripping, the pacing is spot-on, the setting is rich, and the plotting masterful. As if that weren’t enough, Nickless gracefully paints complex characters with such insightful detail, I feel like I’ve known them—and loved them—for years. Throw in a skillful portrayal of police procedure and voilà! The best mystery I’ve read in years. I’ve already pre-ordered Dead Stop ...more
Oct 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Barbara Nickless' Blood on the Tracks is the story of Burned Man, a homeless ex-marine whose face is destroyed by an IED, who now rides the rails and eats from garbage cans. On his way home to get married, he's arrested for murdering his fiancée. The evidence is overwhelming, but not to Senior Special Agent Sydney Parnell, another ex-marine, and her partner Clyde, a former military working dog, both now serving as police on the railroads. She watched too many die in Iraq including her boyfriend. ...more
Sep 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Best book ever!

I loved this book. You have those books that you don't want to finish, because it is that good. Special Agent, Sydney Parnell, served in the Iraq war with the Marines. My husband was a Marine and this book served a special place in my heart as I lost him two years ago. Once a marine, always a marine. This book so honored this special band of heroes.
When Sydney comes back from the war, she has secrets that she must keep about what when on over there. She was with the Mortuary divis
Sep 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing

Great read! I especially enjoyed the intimate play-by-play of a woman dealing with her past and her PTSD. Well drawn characters that scared the crap out of me reading as I did in the dark, alone, in the night.
Tom Spear
Sep 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing

I read it of mysteries and thrillers. This has been one of the best. I can hardly wait for her next one.
Martha b
Nov 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow what a great first novel. Very exciting and interesting. Sydney rose is a really good character . Looking forward to the next book.
Mar 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
An excellent read, full of emotion and suspense. Beware, you may stay up all night with this one!
Mike Finn

A well-plotted murder story that introduces a strong but guilt-ridden ex-army Railroad Cop and her service dog, tracking a killer who seems to be a Vet suffering from PTSD.

"Blood On The Tracks" is not the catch-the-killer kind of crime story that it may appear to be. The real mystery being unwrapped through the novel is the complex history and fractured but resilient character of Sydney Rose Parnell, the Railroad cop who gets dragged into the investigation of a murder, apparently committed by an
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Saucy Wenches Boo...: Blood on the Tracks [July 2018] 47 12 Aug 11, 2018 03:49PM  

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Barbara Nickless is the #1 Amazon Bestselling Author of the Sydney Parnell police procedural series featuring a railway cop and her K9 partner. About Special Agent Parnell, Jeffery Deaver promises “you'll fall in love with one of the best characters in thriller fiction.” The first two books in the series won the Colorado Book Award, and Blood on the Tracks was a Suspense Magazine Best of 2016 debu ...more

Other books in the series

Sydney Rose Parnell (4 books)
  • Dead Stop (Sydney Rose Parnell, #2)
  • Ambush (Sydney Rose Parnell, #3)
  • Gone to Darkness (Sydney Rose Parnell, #4)
“The videos that show the coffins coming back. People don’t want to know. And you and I? We’re part of what society can’t bear to remember. Because if they really think about it, if they really look at us and realize the cost we’ve paid to keep them safe? They can’t live with the guilt. They put up their ribbons and they give us fucking discounts at stores and they say, ‘Thank you for your service’ so they can go home and feel good about themselves. But if they really looked at what war does to us? Hell. They’d never let us come home.” “Stop” 2 likes
“Do not call us heroes. Not if you are calling us that in order to absolve yourself of guilt over sending us off to an unwinnable war. Some of us are heroes. But some of us never had the chance. And some of us got slammed face-first into the fact that when we looked inside, we found nothing heroic at all. —Corporal” 2 likes
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