A Pane of Glass

Fiction - Thriller - Psychological
443 Pages
Reviewed on 05/07/2019
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

R. Byron Stockdale lives with his wife in rural southwest Missouri. He holds Bachelor Degrees in Architecture and Environmental Design from the University of Kansas.

Writing and sailing are his two favorite pastimes.

The seed for his debut novel, A Pane of Glass, was planted with the tragic, unsolved murder of a little girl in the city where he was raising his young family. The story then coalesced around his years of experience working with law enforcement in justice and corrections design and was further galvanized by the seemingly constant news reports of children being victimized by their ‘natural protectors’.

The story is fiction.
The evil is real.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite

A Pane of Glass by R. Byron Stockdale is a psychological thriller that keeps readers, along with police and FBI investigators on edge, trying to identify a perp who puts brutally painful endings to people’s lives. Why is the perp doing this and what is his or her motivation? The people dying at this killer’s hands are not nice people: most of them are convicted rapists and/or pedophiles and most have done their time. But the deeper investigators like Tom Russell and Kate Morrow dig, especially once bodies start piling up, the more it’s looking like someone doesn’t feel justice has been served. The circumstances of their murders closely match those in which the felons assaulted and left their victims. So, is this the work of a vigilante, someone doling out the punishment he/she feels the criminal justice system didn’t? And if so, how is this person getting the information needed to carry out this killing spree?

Prepare yourself for a detailed thriller that will give you not only a good look at how investigators work, but also will provide intriguing and comprehensive insights into the minds of good and evil victims, both before and after they have been victimized. The pace is not overly rapid, but it’s never slow: readers have time to absorb every event and ponder all possibilities, and don’t be surprised if you find yourself agreeing with investigators that just maybe they should let the vigilante continue his work. Dialogue is plentiful and perfectly handled, characters are developed as much as necessary, and there’s even some romance tossed in for good measure. You can comfortably tick all the boxes for whether A Pane of Glass should be your next read. Enjoy!

Linda Travels

It's one thing to accept the reality of evil; it is another to confront it in a very real way, through every father's nightmare. Tremendous imagery yields brutality, madness, perennial love and emotion in this soon-to-be blockbuster thriller. With mastery of detail and structure, visceral invocations of rage and unsuitable empathy are thrust upon the reader, only to succumb with heart wrenching tenderness in a Shakespearian-worthy close.

Jodi Langley

Lost some sleep over this one (and some fingernails!)—I really, really liked it. Well, I loved it actually. The writing reminded me of Thomas Harris with a little Hemingway influence: straight up story-telling but with a descriptive flair that had me ‘in the book’ like I was right there. All the way through, it felt like I was watching a really great movie, dying to know what happens next. That’s where all the lost sleep comes in!

If you like a gripping serial-killer-psycho-thriller, brilliantly executed and without a bunch of gratuitous violence, all wrapped in a beautiful, heart-wrenching package, this book’s for you. But don’t think it’s one of those garden-variety stories about the FBI chasing down another serial killer—blah, blah, blah; this bad-boy psychopath definitely operates at the yes-but end of the murder spectrum. Read it and you’ll know what I mean. A Pane of Glass was a real fresh spin on an old formula and not at all what I had expected!

At some higher level, I think it shines a light on a real serious issue without beating you over the head with it. I can’t wait for this author to come out with his next book.

While I’m waiting, I think I’ll go read this one again!

Betty W

The killer is on a hunt to remove the human vermin that has forever changed his life and that of others. The decision to do so is not left to him alone.
"Our children see the world through a special window. It is crystal clear and pure, and it somehow filters out the evil on the other side. Through the pane of glass their light is purified.
As they grow, their vision becomes less pure. They begin to see the awful and know of it, but the glass still separates them from it and shields them from harm. But for our children, the glass was broken, and the evil slithered through. It took my little girl too." (pg 142)
Stockdale has a rare talent for storytelling and poetry, painting a vivid picture with words. He is sure to build a strong fan base with his work.
Looking forward to more from this author!

Dave G. (UK)

"Killer ending... love it. So after three sleepless, nightmare interrupted nights and two really non-productive days I think I hate you now. I may never get the graphics out of my head. I find I have to sail to Potter's Cove for a little tranquility from time to time. Nice touch there. It was certainly a respite from the killing and killer talk. God I hate what perverts do to kids. I found myself routing for Bryan."

Vickie V.

"WOW...quite a read...it was very good, intense and graphic...well done! By the way, I think it would make a good movie! Great thriller!"

Carolee J.

"ABSOLUTELY loved it!"

Melinda McClure

"As an aficionado of the true crime genre, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. A Pane of Glass is an excellent read about a serial killer who has a different objective and whose purpose is unlike most others. The author's descriptive writing carries the reader along, as if you were part of the FBI team tracking the killer. The plot has many twists and turns and I found it hard to put this book down."

Jennifer J.

"Loved the book beginning to end. Had a good cry at the end."

Fern W.

"The story was powerful. You gathered together a mish-mash group of characters, from the totally sane to the unhinged crazy to the psychotic psychopath. The playful banter between the FBI agents, Kate and Tom, gave a break between all the mayhem. Speaking of... the ways to kill someone, WOW! Very graphic too. Oddly enough, I felt sorry and scared of Rhodes. The ending felt like a sequel coming on. I hope so. This book seems like a #1 to me."

Amazon Customer Review

"I was engrossed from the beginning. Couldn't put it down. Byron describes evil in a way that allows us to read it and still feel safe."

Kathleen T. (Lincolnshire, UK)

"Just about to finish this - loved it."

M.L. (Dallas, TX)

"Love the book. Brilliant. Very, very, impressive."

Greg T. (St. Louis, MO)

"The book was an entertaining read. The character building was well organized and complete. You will find yourself wanting to read just one more chapter when your read time is running low." Greg T. (St. Louis, MO)

Kenny Gott

Excellent novel. Mr. Stockdale has a real knack for setting scenes beautifully, and creating characters that feel real and present…for better and for worse. Much of the story is heartbreaking, as we get inside the heads of people whose own hearts have been broken; but ultimately, it’s an action crime story as the FBI tracks a very motivated vigilante killer. I wrestled with pulling for the likable FBI agents, against my natural tendency to pull for the vigilante as his “victims” are the worst of the worst on earth; this tension plays out throughout the book for the characters and for the reader. There are no real winners in the dark world Stockdale creates—but woven throughout is a persistent and tangible hope for some kind of peace, whether in this life or the next. It’s an emotional roller coaster: gut-wrenching and sad, exciting and surprising, painting humanity at its best, and at its most innocent, and at its most despicable. Thanks for the ride.

James Siegler

Mr. Stockdale takes you into the mind of the serial killer while he is killing child molestors and the FBI agents looking for him. You are transported to the locations by in-depth description of towns and aftermath of the kills. The victims of the sexual predators are the children and parents living with the knowledge of what happened. You will cry for the children and cheer the killer on. Once you start to read this book you will not want to put it down. The end surprised me!!!!

Clee Jefferson

Excellent book. R. Byron Stockdale's character development creates characters you can identify with and have compassion for. A thriller that I could not put down. I love this genre, Pane of Glass did not disappoint. I'm looking forward to more about Kate from R. Byron Stockdale in the future,

Bill H.

"A Pane of Glass" is a well-written book, an engrossing tale, more than a detective story, and deals with a subject that should concern us all--the abduction, molestation and murder of children. The author notes: "The story is fiction; the evil is real." The evil really is real, and the author does a very good job of presenting the issue. I highly recommend the outstanding book.

Ralpha Hausmann

This book kept me coming back for more! It’s a spellbinding mystery full of unexpected turns and consequences. A bit of macabre adds to the excellent narrative. This story is much more than what I expected from a first time author. I am anxiously awaiting his next exciting novel!

Sheila M Fuller

A perfect love conquers evil story. It really pulled me in with beautiful prose and compelling characters. The ending was a roller-coaster ride: exciting, sad, tender. A Pane of Glass is a must read! I loved it!


Excellent writing; keeps the reader wanting more… very hard to put down!

Becky T.

I had to force myself to put this book down at times during the course of reading it, only because I didn't want to finish it quickly. It is a fascinating, compelling story, about a subject that is beyond disturbing. The scenes are almost too real, too descriptive, too uncomfortable to read; but, that's what makes the book so compelling, and, ironically, so "easy" to read. Picturing the scene is not a problem -- Mr. Stockdale writes some of the most descriptive sentences I've ever read. The truly evil events are left to the reader's imagination and not dwelled upon. Thank goodness for that. I don't think I would have been able to read it had it been otherwise. If there is anything to improve upon in this book (wish I could rate it 4.5 stars but not possible) I'd say it would be character development. We seem to be looking at nearly all of these characters (particularly the 'good guys') from the 30,000 foot level. We don't get to know them very well. It's a small complaint, really, considering the excellence of the overall storyline. I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would, considering the subject matter. It has made a lasting impression.

Library Lady

Very intriguing and suspenseful. A serial killer who is out for revenge against abusers of children. A sympathetic character in spite of what he does. Give it a chance and see what you think.

Alan Ward

This was a very intense story and extremely well written. I loved the writing style, it is story-telling with a descriptive aspect that I really enjoyed. It is a gripping story that had my attention from page one to the end. Read it and you’ll know what I mean. I can’t wait for this author to come out with his next book.

Marc McKinney

Pane of Glass, by R. Byron Stockdale is a tough book. It hits you like a real victim of kidnapping had written it, taking his experiences to an artistic depth that can only emerge as pure catharsis. This is a book where anyone who was a survivor of childhood trauma might get some satisfaction out of getting even with a predator. Written in shameless detail, this book hits me with a huge dose of the reality of child abduction. So while it's not for the faint hearted, I do recommend this powerful story to those willing to look behind the curtain of what really goes on, both from the perpetrator's perspective and the victim's, and then from the FBI's agents' viewpoints and the vigilante's perspective. 4 points of view.
A book this tough to write deserves every single star it can get. My hat's off to you, sir. I am deeply, deeply humbled


A Pane of Glass is Robert Stockdale’s debut novel but you would never know it. This suspenseful thriller is gripping from the first paragraph.

There is a vigilante serial killer back at work targeting child predators. His M.O. is torturing the predator the same way he tortured the child. Tom Russell, who has been on the case for a while, and his partner, Kate Morrow, are a great team and work together to figure out who the Short Rose Killer is. This book will definitely make you want to hug your children.

I highly recommend this book. It is a fantastic debut novel and I look forward to reading more from Robert Stockdale.

W. Baunach

A page turner, could not put it down!!!!!

Sheri Dillman

I love a good suspense book and this one fulfilled the bill.

Sarah Jefferson

The characters were really compelling and it was a page turner. I couldn’t put it down.

Lori Brown

Get through the first chapter which produces an immediate blow to your psyche, and this book opens up to a riveting duo of characters, leaving the reader to wonder which is the protagonist and which the antagonist. This journey walks you through the human condition in a subject matter that few authors will tackle successfully., This author has the unique skill of pairing horror with empathy, tragedy with triumph, anxiety with solace holding this reader in the moment with amazing graphic imagery. Some will not tolerate the subject matter but I say the realism in this book enables you to work through your own personal feelings and find your own answers in the process. I can’t wait for his next foray into the mind!

Amazon Customer Review

Although I don't have a lot of "spare time"....this book was hard to put down. From the beginning, this well written thriller had me intrigued . From presenting the characters to forming the plot...it was a fantastic, exciting ride. The dénouement was not disappointing!! The book took me to an unfamiliar world. I would highly recommend if you enjoy a thriller that is compelling and brilliant...a must read!!! I sure hope there is another soon!!!!!

Cheryl Sanning

The first couple chapters are dark and almost hard to read but that's the beauty of this book. It sucks you in to feel the pain and disgust caused by this predator. The authors descriptive writing brings you into the chase to make this a real page turner. The inter-personal relationships between the characters are well written and you can feel the emotions between them.

As an avid reader I look forward to reading more by R. Byron Stockdale.

Viga Boland

"... a psychological thriller that keeps readers on edge. 'A Pane of Glass' should be your next read."

Viga Boland - Award-winning author of 'No Tears for My Father', 2014 Readers' Favorite Gold Medalist.

Luc Vors

"Pure catharsis! A Pane of Glass will challenge everything you believe about love, forgiveness and justice." -Luc Vors, author of: 'Where Sleeping Dogs Lie'