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At First Light by Barbara Nickless

I love a book that teaches you sometimes, especially when that book is fiction. It’s kind of like when you grate zucchini into your spaghetti sauce so you’re kids don’t know they’re eating their vegetables. This book is like a mashup of the History Channel and your favorite forensic-investigation-type series. And it’s brilliant.

In this book, Dr. Evan Wilding, a forensic semiotician – someone who studies signs, symbols, and language as they pertain to a crime – assists local law enforcement with a bizarre and down-right creepy set of murders. 

 

This book packs so much punch. There are Vikings, bog bodies, bone carvings, a hawk, Beowulf, ax throwing, and characters you’ll absolutely want to take out for a drink to celebrate their hard-earned win. There are unexpected twists and scenes where the tension is so high, you won’t be able to turn the pages fast enough. 

 

If you are a die-hard thriller/mystery fan with a penchant for learning about different cultures and puzzling things out as the story moves forward, go read this book!

5/5

Book Details

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.

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