Ritual murder. Archaic clues. A visionary killer. In this heart-stopping novel by the Wall Street Journal and Amazon Charts bestselling author of the Sydney Rose Parnell series, words can kill.
On the muddy banks of the Calumet River, a body has been found posed next to a series of mysterious glyphs and bearing wounds from a ritualistic slaying. Chicago detective Addie Bisset knows only one man who can decipher the message left by the killer: her friend Dr. Evan Wilding. A brilliant forensic semiotician, Evan decodes the etchings as Viking Age runes. They suggest either human sacrifice or righteous punishment. But to what god? And for what sins?
Only one thing is clear from the disturbing runic riddles: there are more victims to come.
As Evan races to determine the identity of the Viking Poet, he and Addie uncover the killer’s most terrifying secret yet: the motive. This startling discovery puts Evan’s life in mortal danger, and verse by ancient verse, time is running out.
An Amazon Best Book of the Month: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
“Well-researched…” —Kirkus Reviews
“[In] this intense psychological thriller…Evan and Addie race to prevent more bloodshed. Hints of a romantic relationship between the pair enliven the story, and references to Beowulf and Viking history add depth. Readers will hope to see more of Addie and Evan.” —Publishers Weekly
“Brilliant Evan Wilding, with his goshawk and unusual friendships, will fascinate those who read for character.” —Library Journal
“The moment I finished this intelligent and pulse-pounding psychological thriller, I was ready for Book Two…Dr. Evan Wilding is one of the most interesting fictional characters I’ve met in some time…Author Nickless’s prose is crisp and, at times, poetic. Her descriptions are vivid but balanced. I became immediately attached to her engaging and well-drawn characters. In some respects, At First Light is reminiscent of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code. I highly recommend this book to fans of fast-paced thrillers that include riddles, ancient languages and literature.” —Claudia N. Oltean, for the Jacksonville Florida Times-Union
“At First Light is a stunner of a tale. Barbara Nickless has fashioned a deep exploration into moral depravity and the dark depths of the human soul in a fashion not seen since the brilliant David Fincher film SE7EN. This wholly realized tale is reminiscent of Lisa Gardner, Karin Slaughter, and Lisa Scottoline at their level best.” —Jon Land, USA Today bestselling author
Barbara Nickless is the Wall Street Journal and #1 Amazon Charts bestselling author of the Sydney Rose Parnell series, which includes Blood on the Tracks, a Suspense Magazine Best of 2016 selection and winner of the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence; Dead Stop; and Ambush. Blood on the Tracks and Dead Stop won the Colorado Book Award, and Dead Stop was nominated for the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence. Her essays and short stories have appeared in Writer’s Digest and Criminal Element, among other markets. She lives in Colorado, where she loves to cave, snowshoe, hike, and drink single malt Scotch—usually not at the same time. Connect with her at www.barbaranickless.com.