Category Archives: Book Review

Review of “Black Phoenix”

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Book Reviews – “Black Phoenix” eBook was published in 2017 (original paper edition was published in 1994) and was written by George Bernau. Mr. Bernau published three novels.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence and Mature Situations. The story is set in the closing days of World War II. The primary character is US Army Major Thomas Sheridan, an Army Intelligence officer.

Berlin is about to fall to Allied troops. The Nazis are all but crushed, but they still have a plan. Key officials are secretly transported to South America along with a deadly substance known as Black Phoenix. Sheridan, along with his partner and lover Debra Marks, are sent in search of the fleeing Germans and for a lead on Black Phoenix.

They find that Nazi leadership still has a plan to conquer the world, and thousands may die. It becomes a race to see if they can survive the German fanatics and save the world.

I thought that this was an interesting 8.5 hour read of a 291 page World War II era Thriller. This is a little old and shows its age some, but it is still an interesting read. I am not sure why the cover are was chosen as rockets are not part of the plot. I give this novel a 3.4 (rounded down to a 3) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

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Review of “Digging in the Stars”

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Book Reviews – “Digging in the Stars” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Katherine Blakeney (https://katherineblakeneyauthor.wordpress.com). This is Ms. Blakeney’s first publication.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set is the far future. The primary character is 16 year old Carter Vanadian.

Vanadian, five of her fellow Archeology of Outer Space students and their professor are about to set off on a month long apprenticeship trip. Vanadian’s close friend, Conrad, has recently gone missing while on the planet Thror. Vanadian manipulates the travel reservations so that her group goes to Thror as well.

The planet is a chaotic place with the resident “Furry Giants” hosting visitors in spa hotels with much flirting with the female guests. As Vanadian begins to dig into the disappearance of Conrad, she inadvertently drags the rest of her small group into the mystery. She also finds that there is the real possibility that she may be on the trail of a truly significant archaeological discovery. This knowledge and the efforts to discover what has happened to Conrad do not go without risk to her and the others.

I thought that this was an interesting 10 hour read of a 344 page Young Adult Science Fiction Mystery Thriller. Beyond the fact that Vanadian and her companions travelled to a remote planet in just a day or two, this was a pretty hard to accept story. The basic concept was OK, but to me, the novel was contrived and weak. The cover art is OK, but could have been better. I give this novel a 3.4 (rounded down to a 3) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Review of “The Last Good Man”

“The Last Good Man” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Linda Nagata (http://www.mythicisland.com). Ms. Nagoya has published more than a dozen novels.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence and Mature Language. The story is set just a few years in the future. The primary character. Is True Brighton, a former Army helicopter pilot and now one of the principle officers of Requisite Operations. Requisite Operations is a military contractor, mostly providing training and security services, but they also have a small team for armed response.

Requisite Operations is contracted to rescue a young Doctor who has been kidnapped by terrorists. During that mission, Brighton comes across evidence that brings back old memories and opens old wounds.

Requisite Operations soon finds itself being watched and under attack. As more evidence mounts up, Brighton strikes out on her own to pursue the truth. This leaves her team searching for her and her at risk.

I really enjoyed the 11.5 hours I spent reading this. 464 page techno thriller. A large part of the novel concerns the tech – robots, drones and AI – that is being used by various military units, including Requisite Operations. I found that a very interesting part of the story, given that most of it is what is in the research labs today. I thought that the characters were well developed and I liked the plot. The cover art is OK. I give this novel a 5 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Review of “The Massacre of Mankind”

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Book Reviews – “The Massacre of Mankind” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Stephen Baxter (http://www.stephen-baxter.com). Mr. Baxter has published more than 30 novels.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story takes place some 14 years after the original “War of the Worlds”. The British have learned much from the technology left behind by the Martian attack.

When launches are seen on Mars once again, the British prepare to repel a new wave of Martians using all they learned in the first invasion. The martians though, have learned from the first invasion too.

The primary characters of this story are continuing characters from the original, including Walter Jenkins. Britain is not the only target in this new assault. Soon the entire world is attempting to fight off the Martian onslaught.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 13.5 hours I spent reading this 498 page alternate history and science fiction thriller. This is an authorized sequel to the original work and it has the right feel for the period – the 1920s. If you have read the original “War of the Worlds” and enjoyed it, you will want to read this sequel as well. I like the cover art selected. I give this novel a 4.7 (rounded up to a 5) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Review of “Blackout”

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Book Reviews – “Blackout” eBook was published in 2017 (original version published in 2012) and was written by Marc Elsberg (http://www.marcelsberg.com/en/). This is Mr. Elsberg’s third novel.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story takes place in contemporary Europe. Several characters play significant roles in the story. The most prominent character is Italian former hacker and activist, and currently software developer Piero Manzano.

Without any warning power starts to fail across Europe. As the power outage lingers, officials soon realize that the blackout has resulted from an attack. Power companies struggle to get the grid back up, but they encounter one problem after another. Manzano makes some interesting discoveries as to the cause of the blackout, but is received with more doubt than open arms. His past make many think he is involved with the attack.

After days without power, civilization and government across Europe begins to break down. Manzano must take some severe risks to prove he isn’t involved and uncover those who are.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 6.5 hours I spent reading this modern techno-thriller. I have read many technical articles concerning the power grid in both Europe and the US, and this fictional story does not sound all that far fetched. I enjoyed the wide cast of characters in the story. I’m not sure what the cover art is supposed to depict. I think there would have been other choices that would have related more to the story. I give this novel a 4.5 (rounded up to a 5) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Review of “Remember, Remember”

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Book Reviews – “Remember, Remember” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Anna Elliott (http://www.annaelliottbooks.com) and Charles Veley. Ms. Elliott has published 17 novels and Mr. Veley over a dozen. This is the fourth book in their “Sherlock Holmes and Lucy James Mystery” series.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in the Victorian are of the original Sherlock Holmes. The primary characters are Sherlock Holmes and the young American woman Lucy James.

James wakes up outside the British Museum without any memories of who she is, but with a sore bump on her head. She begins to search for her identity and she soon finds herself being pursued by people she doesn’t know. She does seem to have a feeling about the name Sherlock Holmes. The mystery quickly grows beyond her identity as she is drawn into an effort to identify German spies that have infiltrated the British government.

I really enjoyed the 5.5 hours I spend reading this Sherlock Holmes mystery. The story was well crafted and fits into the original story line of the Holmes mysteries. I liked the characters as well as the plot. It almost had the feel of two separate story lines in one book, one dealing with James’ amnesia and the other with the german spies. The novel cover art is OK. I give this novel a 4.5 (rounded up to a 5) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Review of “Space Agent and the Isles of Fire”

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Book Reviews – “Space Agent and the Isles of Fire” eBook was published in 2017 (original paper edition was published in 1963) and was written by Angus MacVicar (http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/ea.cgi?111388). Mr. MacVicar was the author of a dozen novels.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘G’. The story is set in the far future where mankind is expanding to the stars. The primary character is U.N.O Department for Space Investigation agent Jeremy Grant.

A space craft has fallen to Earth on one of the Isles of Fire and the impact has caused an earthquake and the eruption of the volcano the island surrounds. The fear is that the craft has been illegally returning samples of Martian vegetation. The crash is feared to have spread the vegetation across the island.

Grant, along with a few close colleagues, travel to the island to investigate. Once they approach the island, they encounter a overwhelming urge to turn back and flee from the island. They fear that the Martian plants are responsible. Their attempts to investigate leave them stranded on one of the islands.

Will help arrive in time” Will the volcano erupt again? Will the vegetation from Mars take them?

This was a mediocre read of 5.5 hours. This vintage science fiction tale reads like the plot from a 50s era ‘B’ movie. While it might have been great in the 60s, I don’t think that it has aged well. I also do not think that the cover art is consistent with the story. I give this novel a 2.8 (rounded up to a 3) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Review of “Traitors Gait”

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Book Reviews – “Traitor’s Gate” eBook was published in 2017 (original paper edition was published in 1969) and was written by Geoffrey Osborne. Mr. Osborne published six novels.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set during the late 60s during the height of the cold war. The primary character is British secret agent James Dingle.

Dingle, along with long time friend and partner Glyn Jones are sent to the Soviet Union to obtain copies of plans for a space based bombardment system. The mission seems to be going well until Dingle is captured by the Russians. he soon learns that he was betrayed by one of his team.

Will he be able to escape? Will he be able to bring justice to the turncoat?

I enjoyed the 2.5 hours I spent reading this Thriller novella. The story was clearly dated, but it still was a good read. I do not think the cover art adds much as the story had nothing to do with tanks. I give this novel a 3 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Review of “Found in Time”

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Book Reviews – “Found in Time” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by J. K. Kelly (http://jkkelly.com). This is Mr. Kelly’s first novel.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence and Mature Language. The story is based on today, but the team travels to various places and times on their missions. The primary character is US Marine Major JJ Jackson.

Jackson has been a covert operator for some time, but is now asked to lead a new, even more secret unit. The unit’s mission is to test out a time travel device, then to eventually use it to fight the terrorists they have been confronted with. Their missions back in time are filled with danger and they meet several historical figures. Their most severe challenge comes from an unexpected quarter.

I really enjoyed the 8 hours I spent reading this science fiction thriller. It does have a bit of a religious twist. I liked the characters developed in the novel, and the plot. I did have a feeling in the first half or so that it was a collection of short stories stitched together. I do hope that there are more books to follow with the same characters. The cover art is OK, but I don’t think that it relates well to the story. I give this novel a 4.5 (rounded up to a 5) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

 

Review of “Nightmare Planet”

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Book Reviews – “Nighmare Planet” eBook was published in 2017 (original paper edition was published in 1976) and was written by Donald S. Rowland (http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/ea.cgi?116971). Mr. Rowland published 19 novels.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in the far future. The spacecraft Voyager from Earth is in route to the Brontus Major Constellation when it discovers an uncharted planetary system. The primary character is Ship Captain Kyle Barlor.

The planetary system was completely unknown and did not at first show up on their instruments. As they approach the system, things begin failing on their ship and they are fired upon from one of the planets. A party is landed on the planet showing signs of habitation, but soon after they land contact is lost. Barlor leads a rescue mission, but they too are soon set upon by hostile creatures. It soon becomes apparent that leaving the planet and surviving will be a challenge.

I spent only 5 hours to read this 191 page vintage science fiction novel. The writing had the distinct feel of an older work. It really does not hold up very well for today’s reader. I don’t think the cover art is very representative of the story. I give this novel a 3 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).