Wilding's Second Mystery
Bruce Von Stiers
Barbara Nickless is the author of the fantastic, best-selling Sydney Parnell crime novels. Last year Barbara introduced a brand-new series and lead character. This character is a semiotician and professor named Dr. Evan Wilding. That first book in the series was At First Light.
This year Barbara is releasing the second in the Wilding series. The title of this new book is Dark of Night. It is being published by Thomas & Mercer.
As the book begins, we are introduced to Dr. Elizabeth Lawrence. She is a doctor of ancient history and papyrology and the head of an institute dealing with Middle Eastern history and antiquities in Chicago. Lawrence is about to have a clandestine meeting, apparently to purchase two pieces of papyrus. These items just might have a chance at changing history and the way the world looks at certain things. But something terribly goes wrong after the encounter, the result of which ends in the death of Lawrence.
Evan Wilding is called to the scene of the death. Not only was Evan a friend and colleague of Lawrence's, but he is also a consultant to the Chicago police department. His conduit to the police is detective Adrianne “Addie” Bisset. She is the one who has Evan get involved with the case.
Lawrence's death was caused by a bite from a cobra. But was it suicide as it was laid out? Or was it murder disguised as suicide? A cobra is found with the body and almost attacks Evan. How that played out in the book was kind of scary to me, but I am definitely not a fan of snakes anyway.
There are a lot of different things going on in the book. Evan is trying to figure out his relationship with Christina, his somewhat girlfriend. He is also trying to sort through his feelings for Addie. She's his best friend, but he may actually be in love with her too. But Addie has a guy, sort of.
Then there is the mysterious Ronen Avraham. He claims to be a friend and colleague of Lawrence's. But what is he really? And what exactly does he want from Evan? Is Avraham a spy? Possibly Lawrence's killer, if her death wasn't a suicide? These are just but a few things that the author puts in front of the reader for us to wonder and guess about.
Thrown into the mix is a ultra-wealthy man who wants to open a biblical museum in Chicago. He has been collecting antiquities related to Christian heritage and of biblical importance. The museum and the people involved in that project end up being key elements in the story. Also key to the story is the possible theft and illicit acquisition of antiquities from the Middle East.
A little side bit in the book involves a cute Corgi named Perro. Evan is dog sitting for Diana, his postdoc assistant. Perro more or less saves Evan's life a couple of times during the course of the book.
The book also has an assortment of minor characters, each one either adding content or advancing the story.
Dark of Night is a superb novel. In addition to the mystery, there is a bit of thought provocation. What if there were scrolls of other written items that alter what we know of biblical history? The author approaches the subject subtly, but it is there.
After reading the first book in the series, I was hopeful that a second book would be as good or better. I wasn't disappointed. With the new book, Barbara Nickless has solidified a great new mystery series.
Dark of Night is available for pre-order from amazon, Barnes and Noble and other major book outlets. The official publishing date for the book is November 15, 2022.
If you would like to learn more about Barbara Nickless and her Sydney Parnell and Dr. Evan Wilding mysteries, visit https://www.barbaranickless.com/
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© 2022 Bruce E Von Stiers