All posts by John Purvis

Book Review of “The Unforgivable Fix”

“The Unforgivable Fix” was published in 2014 (October) and was written by T. E. Wood (http://www.tewoodswrites.com). This is the third book in the “Justice” series and Ms. Woods third novel. The eBook is available on Amazon.

I obtained this novel for free in advance through https://www.netgalley.com for review. I would rate this novel as ‘R’ as there is Mature Language, Mature Situations and Violence. The novel is written in the third person and is set in and around Seattle, Washington. The primary characters are Mort Grant, Lydia Corriger and Allie Grant.

Mort Grant is a Seattle, Washington Police Detective. He is still dealing with the loss of his wife of many years as well as the unknown condition of his long missing daughter.

Allie Grant is Mort’s daughter. She disappeared years ago, but suddenly has reappeared on the run from her boyfriend and others in the drug business.

Lydia Corriger is a psychologist recovering from a gunshot wound to the head (Happened in the first novel “The Fixer”), who has finally reopened her practice.

Allie is afraid of her boyfriend as well as a Russian who he indirectly attached. She comes home and asks her father for help. Mort works with DEA and FBI to get her immunity in return for information on the drug business of her boyfriend. Mort asks Lydia to provide Allie a safe haven until arrests have been made.

Mort is ecstatic that his long missing daughter has returned home and is willing to do anything to keep her safe. He works with the Feds to capture Allie’s boyfriend, and tries to deal with them to keep her from serving time. Meanwhile, Allie is living with Lydia. Lydia is happy to help Mort, but she finds Allie much harder to accept. Lydia is also struggling with a child abuse case she is working on, as well as the demands of supervising a graduate student on his clinical hours.

The bulk of the story surrounds the efforts to arrest Allie’s boyfriend, the interaction between Allie and Lydia, and Lydia’s pursuit of the child abuse case. As with the other novels in this series, there are two mysteries that are being addressed. I thoroughly enjoyed the nine hours I spent reading this novel. The characters were well developed, you were able to get to know each. The story was engaging, it was relatively fast paced, keeping the reader interested. Though I had guessed at the “mysteries” before they were exposed in the story, I still thought that they were good plot twists. I give this novel a 5 out of 5.

My book reviews are also posted on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com).

Book Review of “Steel and Song”

“Steel and Song” was published in 2014 and was written by Ani Bolton (http://www.anibolton.com). This is her second novel and the first in “The Aileron Chronicles” series. The eBook is available on Amazon.

I obtained this novel for free in advance through https://www.netgalley.com for review. This story is a Young Adult / Fantasy / Alternate History / Steampunk tale told in the third person. Due to Mature Language, Mature Situations and Violence, I categorize the book as ‘R’. The novel is set in Russia, but in a different Russia than we know. In this story the Cossacks, rulers of Russia, are at war with the Franks. The primary characters are Tova Vanaskya and Piers Nikolayevich.

Tova is a young peasant girl living in rural Russia. She, as many of her fellow gytrash, have magical skills. In Tova’s case she is an Air Witch with an ability to control the wind. Because of her young age and ability to use her power to navigate a coal barge, she has escaped being drafted into the Cossack’s army. Her luck finally runs out though and she is torn from her mother and younger sister as a conscript.

Piers is a Cossack and is the last young male of the House of Rus, one of the seven Houses. He commands an aileron, a military air ship, and repeatedly throws his ship into battle. He has tallied many kills, but he is never satisfied with his successes, fighting internal demons on every flight. He lost his Air Witch on his last mission and goes looking for a replacement. By the time he makes his way to the replacement depot, all that is left is Tova, which he takes as better than nothing.

Tova displays high skills for someone untrained flying the Aileron. She makes friends with other of the conscripts and finds that there are some ready to revolt against the Cossack’s oppression. She makes friends with the other Aileron crew members, and impresses them and Piers with her ability. There is also a growing attraction between Tova and Piers but as a Cossack, his social position is far above hers.

I enjoyed the five hours I spent reading this novel. There is a touch of romance along with the action Tova and Piers face against the Franks. I thought the characters were well developed, and I liked the story. Over all I give this novel a 5 out of 5.

My book reviews are also posted on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com).

Book Review of “The Travel Writer”

“The Travel Writer” was published in 2014 (June) and is the first novel by Jeff Soloway. This is a mystery novel set primarily in contemporary La Paz, Bolivia, and at the luxury resort The Hotel Matamoros located just a few hours outside of La Paz. The eBook is available on Amazon.

I obtained this novel for free in advance through https://www.netgalley.com for review. The story is told first person from the standpoint of travel writer Jacob Smalls. He has been enjoying himself on complementary hotel visits for some years, and making just enough actual money to get by.

An old girlfriend, Pilar Rojas, contacts him to help investigate the high profile disappearance of travel editor Hilary Pearson from the Hotel Matamoros. Pilar works PR for the hotel and is able to get him a free visit, ostensibly to write about the hotel. He is really going so that he can help her find Hilary, or at lest find out what happened to her. Not only does Jacob want to do this in the hopes of getting back together with Pilar, but Hilary was the editor that gave him his start.

Before leaving New York for Bolivia, Jacob visits Hilary’s family and her place of employment. He runs into Kenny Rawls, who worked with Hilary and has a crush on her. When Jacob heads to Bolivia, Kenny is on the same plane. He has taken off from work to go search for Hilary. Jacob takes Kenny under his wing as Kenny is clueless of Bolivian customs or Spanish.

Together they poke around La Paz for a couple of days looking for clues. They make contact with Pilar and she seems to have information, but puts off revealing much until later. Jacob and Kenny run into some dangerous men associated with the growing political party Condepa. The intrigue, mystery and danger just gets deeper once Jacob and Kenny finally arrive at the Hotel Matamoros.

The writing was good enough, and the pace of the story keeps the reader moving right along. I liked the basic plot of the story, but the way it was developed seemed shallow and simplistic. Both Jacob and Kenny were totally inept investigators, doing things that anyone with common sense would avoid. There were implications as to who was behind things and why, but the details were never entirely clear.

Over all I give this novel a 3 out of 5.

My book reviews are also posted on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com).

Book Review of “Maxwell Street Blues”

“Maxwell Street Blues” was published in 2014 (August) and is the first of the “Jules Landau Mystery” series. It was written by Marc Krulewitch and it is his first novel. The eBook is available on Amazon.

I obtained this novel for free through https://www.netgalley.com for review. This story is told first person by Private Investigator Jules Landau, and is set in contemporary Chicago, IL. Jules’ estranged, ex-con father Bernie comes to him to let him know that Jules’ long time friend Charles “Snooky” Snook has been murdered, and hires him to investigate. This is Jules’ first murder investigation, but he is motivated to take it on as Snooky was like a brother to him.

Falling back on eight years of experience as a PI, and many contacts with the criminal elements of Chicago that go back for generations in his family, Jules digs into the case. Along the way he runs into the police detective Jimmy Kdigero that had put his father in prison years before as well as an Internal Affairs Detective Voss that is trying to get something on Jimmy.

Snooky was well known to the criminal element of Chicago. He was an accountant and handled the money of many of those criminals, generally finding a way to “launder” it. Jules discovers that a few of Snooky’s clients were involved in some sort of kick-back operation associated with real-estate development on Maxwell Street.

jules finds that there are several people with wealth and or reputations at stake, and both of the cops he encountered are far from being sqeaky clean. He is threatened and assaulted more than once as he pursues the murderer.

The pace of the story is good, never leaving the reader bogged down. It is also well written and the plot was reasonable. That being said, I only give it a 3.5 out of 5. There were loose ends that were never addressed, and some of the characters were poorly developed.

I didn’t particularly like the main character Jules. He also seemed an inept PI for someone who had been in the business for over eight years. Some situations where he should have had more of an emotional response were simply shrugged off. I am unlikely to read any more novels in this series.

My book reviews are also posted on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com).

Book Review of “Dead and Gone”

“Dead and Gone” (aka Blind Spot) was published in 2013 and was written by William Casey Moreton. Mr. Moreton has published seven novels. The eBook is available on Amazon.

I was alerted to this book being available for free on promotion through http://booksends.com. This is a mystery set in New York, New York, and is written in the third person. Nick Cortland is the primary character of the novel. He is an advertising executive who wakes up one morning with no memory and the dead body of a young woman laying on the floor next to his bed.

Nick cannot remember if he had anything to do with the girl’s death even as he begins to remember fragments of his life. Nick is desperate to find out how the girl was killed and is sure that the death of a close friend is connected in some way.

I enjoyed the 8.5 hours I spent reading this novel. The plot and characters were well developed, and there were some unexpected twists. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also posted on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com).

Book Review of “Death on Daytime”

“Death on Daytime” was published in 2014 (July) and was written by Tash Bell. This is her first novel and also the first of a planned series of mysteries around the lead character Tess Darling. I was alerted to this novel being available for free through http://readcheaply.com/. The book is available on Amazon.

This novel is a mystery set in contemporary London, England. I would rate it as ‘R’ as there is Mature Language and Mature Situations. It is mostly written in the first person from the view of Tess Darling, but there are occasionally other view points.

Tess is the producer of a weekly gardening segment on a popular mooring TV program. Her hostess for the show has not arrived and she hastily finds a replacement. As they begin the live telecast of the latest garden remake, the body of the missing hostess is discovered buried in the garden. Needless to say this causes an instant sensation for the TV program.

Reluctantly Tess is sucked into the investigation of her murdered hostess – to help her friends and to save their jobs. Along the way she discovers many secrets held by friends and co-workers, and is subject to danger herself. She also finds confidence in herself.

I enjoyed the nearly 10 hours I spent reading this novel. There is occasional use of British slang that is sometimes hard to understand, but on the whole I think that this was a well written mystery with several quirky but likable characters. I give it a 5 out of 5.

Other book reviews I have written can be found at https://johnpurvis.wordpress.com/blog/.

My book reviews are also posted on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com).

Book Review of “Two Hundred and Twenty-One baker Streets”

“Two Hundred and Twenty-One Baker Streets” is an anthology of Sherlock Holmes short stories compiled by David Thomas Moore. It was published in 2014 (October) and it consists of 14 short stories with very different versions of Holmes and Watson. This book is available on Amazon.

I obtained this novel for free through https://www.netgalley.com for review. I must first say that I am not a fan of short stories. I find that they are simply too short!

In this case I did find the collection interesting. Most of the stores I was sad to see end so quickly. I have read all of the original Holmes stores written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and I found these to be complimentary of those original works. I give this a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also posted on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com).

Book Review of “Desperate Times”

“Desperate Times” was published in 2011 and was written by Nicholas Antinozzi (http://nicholasantinozzi.com). This is the first book of the “Desperate Times” trilogy. Mr. Antinozzi has written 6 novels. This ebook is available on Amazon.

This book is a thriller with the story set in New York state in a near future. An apocalypse occurs when there is a sudden financial collapse in the US and around the world. A few have seen the disaster coming and have been planning. The story is of a group that comes together to escape the city and try to survive the crisis at a lake home in rural New York.

As would be expected in such a crisis, some decide to use force to take from those who have thought ahead. The group endures many trials as they struggle to survive. While the story does reach a conclusion, the bigger story continues on in the next volumes of the trilogy.

I enjoyed the seven hours I spent reading this novel. I would rate it as an “R” due to the Violence and Mature Language. I rate this book as a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also posted on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com).

Book Review for “Robin: Lady of Legend”

“Robin: Lady of Legend” was written by R. M. ArceJaeger (http://rmarcejaeger.com/). This is Ms. ArceJaeger’s first book. The eBook is available on Amazon.

I was alerted to this eBook being available for free during a promotion by http://eBooksHabit.com. This is a fantasy for Young Adults, particularly for young women, with a strong young female character. I would rate this book ‘PG’ only because of some fighting that goes on. The story is told first person and is a retelling of the familiar tale of Robin Hood. Only in Ms. ArceJaeger’s version, Robin is a young girl. When the story begins Robin is just 18 and she finds that her father has promised her hand in marriage to Phillip Daniel the Sheriff of Nottingham.

Robin runs away as the only way to avoid the marriage and her father’s wrath. She is bound for London, but gets sidetracked while passing through Sherwood forrest. The results is the story we are used to hearing of Robin’s many adventures, though there are one or two twists to the story.

I enjoyed the eight hours I spent reading this story. This Robin was different enough to be interesting. I thought that the story was well developed, and the characters had depth to them. I score this book as a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also posted on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com).

Book Review of “World of Fire”

“World of Fire” was published in 2014 (August) and was written by James Lovegrove (http://www.jameslovegrove.com/). Mr. Lovegrove has published over 25 novels and many short stories. This book is available on Amazon.

I obtained this novel for free through https://www.netgalley.com for review. This is a Science Fiction novel and I would rate this novel as ‘R’ due to Mature Language and Violence. The story was told first person and is set in a distant future where mankind has spread to distant stars. As they have spread they encountered the Polis+, an AI based race who are humankind’s rivals. A bloody war was fought with the Polis+ and after a particularly costly battle to both sides an uneasy truce was declared. While there is no longer open warfare, along the border with Polis+ space there is constant tension.

The main character of the story is Dev Harmer, an ex-soldier who currently is a troubleshooter for Interstellar Security Solutions (ISS). ISS provides contract services to worlds that have problems, particularly problems that seem to stem from Polis+ activities. He is sent to Alighieri, a planet with an extremely hot surface, at the request of the local government. The planet is very near Polis+ space and is principally a mining colony for helium-3. The underground colony is being threatened by a series of earthquakes. Dev is there to find out what is causing the tremors.

Dev’s investigation leads him across the planet. Dev is not the most likeable character and he quickly rubs many of the Alighieri inhabitants the wrong way. There is a lot of action and intrigue as Dev seeks out the cause of the tremors.

I enjoyed the eight hours I spent reading this first novel of the Dev Harmer series, though I have to say that I did not particularly like the Dev character. His constant wise crack humor irritated me. Other than that the story was interesting. The characters were well developed and the story line was not what I expected. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also posted on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com)