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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2021 Barbara Nickless (P)2021 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

What listeners say about At First Light

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

I’ll read more of these

Interesting premise for a murder; good twist. I particularly liked the characters of Addie, her partners and other colleagues on the police force, and of course, Dr. Evan Wilding, the “semiotician” (a word I had never heard before) who happens to be 4’5” tall.

I enjoyed the friendship between Addie and Evan and am looking forward to reading more about them in future books. There is a gentle humor here along with the murder and mystery that is difficult to juxtapose. The narrator did a creditable job with different accents and distinguishing voices.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Awesome 🙂 What a unique Mystery

Started slow but wow when i t got started. The story was so different from any other mystery I've read. I so enjoyed the information regarding animals, literature and Greek mythology. The character development was superb. The narrator was very enjoyable. I hope there are more in this series.




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I liked it

I liked it, didn't love but it was nice.
I mostly listened to the audiobook, but this book in particular was a bit confusing to just listen to due to its constant reference to Viking traditions/words so I found the need to also download the book to my Kindle and that made it easier.

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Pure Brilliance

Wow. This is a new author for me, and she's definitely got a new fan! This story is an intelligently designed, well-written masterwork of riddles, linguistics, and devious murder. The main character, Dr. Evan Wilding, is at once fascinating and fantastic. He's a bit reminiscent of LIncoln Rhyme and Aloysious Pendergast in that he is outside the norm of society and possesses superior intelligence yet is not narcissistic. He is not your average crime fighter. In fact, technically, he's not a crime fighter at all. But his specialized knowledge and unique mental acuity are a great asset to the police department, and he finds himself frequently drawn into cases by his detective friend, Addie.

This plot is a juggernaut of concepts, theories, and potential suspects. The murderer is quite brilliant and leaving clues that not just anyone could unlock. These clues are focused on ancient symbols and rituals of the Viking people as well as their runic language. Dubbed the Poet Viking, the ruthless murderer leads Addie and Evan on an incredible chase, and we, the readers, get to tag along from the comfort (and safety) of our armchairs.

As one who reads more than 300 books a year, finding a truly unique and engaging new hero is akin to winning the lottery. This one is a winner. I will be following this author and this series based solely on my enjoyment of this brilliant tale.

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Skim over parts

I found it necessary to gloss over many parts where the author took a deep dive into Olde English literature, Nordic history, medieval customs and the like. Some of it was relevant to the story of course, but I found it repetitive and overdone. The crimes are unique, the story well written overall. The characters are very interesting. And the narration brilliant.

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Fantastic

best narration, vivid storytelling, makes me want be a reader and a writer. will follow this author and series!

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  • JD
  • 01-11-22

great story!

loved this one, would recommend it to anyone who loves crime novels. etc. thank

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weak

good characters. implausible story. narrator ok. yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada

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Devil is in the details

I love how much literature and Viking and European history is in this book. Very detailed and I had to go back listen to excerpts a few times to understand completely.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Interesting Character Drama

This was an entertaining crime drama about ritualistic murders that featured a Viking influence. There is a great deal of speculation on runes and folklore. One obviously glaring omission with a book set now is no mention of the Marvel films, especially Thor, Loki and Odin. That would've kept things a bit more real. I listened to the audio book version, which was wonderfully narrated by Tim Campbell and his gorgeous British accent. The focus is on Detective Addy Bisset and semiotician Dr. Evan Wilding, a brilliant professor who is a dwarf. While the police case was not as interesting as I expected, the characters of Bisset and Wilding were the saving grace of the book. Snappy dialog and beating around the bush between two people who are meant for each other, but afraid to take the plunge was far more interesting to me.

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Profile Image for Jeanette NORMAN
  • Jeanette NORMAN
  • 12-21-21

Not at all sure about this book

I must say l have been unable to consider this outing by Barbara N worth listening too or reading. it just does not work.