Category Archives: Fiction

Review of “Codename Lazarus”

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Book Reviews – “Codename Lazarus” eBook was published in 2016 and was written by A. P. Martin (http://www.apmartin.co.uk). This is Mr. Martin’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 and Mature Situations. The story is set in Germany and England during the years 1933-1940 . The primary character is history professor Dr. John King.

King has spent time in 1933 Germany before Hitler rose to power and left just as the Nazis were beginning to take control of the country. Later in 1939 his old Oxford professor called him in to a secret meeting. The professor had been working for British Intelligence and sought King as a new recruit for a secret mission. King agrees even though the though of faking his own death does not sit well. King returns to Germany to find out more about the ever more powerful Nazis before a well conceived hiking ‘accident’ in Switzerland renders ‘John King’ dead.

King, now using the name James Kemp, takes the place of an ousted German who has been leading a spy ring in the UK. King works the traitors, gathering information on each of them and their contacts. The Battle for Britain is at its height and all fear that Germany will soon invade. King finds himself the subject of a search by Scotland Yard’s Special Branch and by a real German spy sent into the UK to revive the spy network.

I enjoyed the 10.5 hours I spent reading this 365 page World War II Thriller. I liked the time scale that the novel covered. The plot was interesting, though not exactly unique. There was intrigue and a little action, though I think more action would have made this a better read. I also was not happy with the conclusion as it left many loose ends. Perhaps a sequel is planned. The cover art is OK, in line with the Swiss accident. I give this novel a 3.9 (rounded up to a 4) out of 5.

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

Review of “The Tao Deception”

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Book Reviews – “The Tao Deception” eBook was published in 2016 and was written by John Green (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_M._Green). This is Mr. Green’s fourth novel and is the second of his “Tori Swyft” thrillers. It is available on Amazon. for the Kindle.

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, Mature Language and Mature Situations. The story takes place in the US, North Korea and in China. The primary character is Dr. Tori Swyft, a former CIA operative and now an analyst for the private firm SIS.

Swyft and colleague Frank Chaudry, formerly of MI6, are involved with brokering a huge deal between a Chinese telecommunications company and Greek firm. As they work with both parties, they begin to suspect something is going on with the Chinese company. Coinciding with this, an unheard of Islamic group in China, RUA, takes credit for assassinating the Pope, then the Prime Ministers of Australia and Russia. This causes great unrest around the world.

Swyft and Chaudry find themselves in the middle of the unrest and on the trail of a secret that will rock the world. While she tries to send information back to a contact in Washington, her reports are untrusted. It becomes a race to see if Swyft will be able to find the proof that is needed and convince those in Washington that she is not part of the conspiracy before a disaster strikes the US.

I really enjoyed the just shy of 9 hours I spent reading this 388 page Thriller. There was both action and political intrigue in this contemporary spy novel. I liked the character of Tori Swyft and will look forward to future novels in the series. The author did a fair job of including some twists and turns in the plot to keep the real villains from becoming apparent too soon. The cover art is reasonable for the story. I give this novel a 4.4 (rounded down to a 4) out of 5.

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

Review of “Malta Victory”

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Book Reviews – “Malta Victory” eBook was published in 2016 (the original paper edition was published in 1980) and was written by Robert Jackson. Mr. Jackson published more than 50 books. This is the fourth in his “Yeoman” 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 on the island of Malta in the Eastern Mediterranean during 1942, The primary character is Sergeant Pilot George Yeoman.

Yeoman is assigned to an RAF Spitfire squadron on the island of Malta. The British are resisting heavy bombardment and attack by both German and Italian aircraft. Yeoman and the other RAF pilots struggle to survive as they are severely out numbered by enemy aircraft. He adds to his count of aircraft shot down, but suffers from the loss of friends and poor living conditions.

The only thing holding off a German invasion is the lack of total air superiority over the island. The question is will the British be able to hold on long enough to keep the Axis powers from invading.

I enjoyed the 5+ hours I spent reading this 160 page World War II novel. I have read several Jackson novels now and this is much like the others – a little history mixed with fictional tales of his characters. The cover art is reasonable, showing Spitfires ready for takeoff. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

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

Review of “The Candidate”

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Book Reviews – “The Candidate” eBook was published in 2016 and was written by Lisa Wiehl (http://liswiehlbooks.com). Ms. Wiehl has published 14 novels. This is the second in her “Newsmakers” 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 across the contemporary US. The primary character is journalist Erica Sparks, a top-rated cable news host.

Time is approaching for the parties to choose their presidential candidates. Sparks is on location where two potential candidates are to have a debate before their party’s convention. A bomber strikes and a candidate, along with many others, are killed. The remaining candidate, Mike Ortiz, is now guaranteed his party’s nomination.

Sparks begins to have questions about Ortiz. On the surface he is a strong candidate, but the more she digs into his background the more questions she has. As she seeks assistance from others to investigate Ortiz, many die under questionable circumstances.

Can Sparks confirm her fears before the election and will she be able to bring the truth to the American people?

I enjoyed the 6+ hours I spent reading this 348 page Mystery Thriller. I liked the character of Sparks and those regulars around her. I thought that the plot concept of a presidential candidate who is possibly under someone’s control was interesting. There were twists and turns in the plot keeping me very involved with the story. While I think that the ending could have been stronger, I liked the novel. The cover art is OK, implying Washington intrigue. I give this novel a 4.2 (rounded down to a 4) out of 5.

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

Review of “Target Tobruk”

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Book reviewsWWII – “Target Tobruk” eBook was published in 2016 (the original paper version was first published in 1979) and was written by Robert Jackson. Mr. Jackson has published over 50 books. This is the third novel in his “Yeoman “ 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 ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in North Africa and on Crete during 1941. The primary character is Sergeant Pilot George Yeoman.

The British are desperately fighting the German and Italian forces in North Africa. Yeoman gets assigned to Tobruk, which is essentially under siege by the Germans. He witnesses a lot of combat, though not all in the skies. He is also sent to Crete to help defend against invading Germans. The British are forced out of Crete and hundreds flee on a variety of Royal Navy vessels. Not all of which make it to the relatively safety of Egypt.Yeoman does his extraordinary flying, but finds himself having to bail out of his faltering aircraft yet again.

I enjoyed the not quite 4 hours I spent reading this 160 page WWII novel. I have read a handful of books by Jackson and found them all to be interesting. In this case you get an image of the war as seen by those fighting in North Africa. The cover art is OK, but since this is a book about Hurricanes, I think a combat photo of a fighter would have been better. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

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

Review of “And Then She Was Gone”

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Book Reviews – “And Then She Was Gone” eBook was published in 2016 and was written by Christopher Greyson (https://www.christophergreyson.com). Mr. Greyson has published 7 novels. This is the first in his “Detective Jack Stratton” 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 contemporary US. The primary character is 18 year old Jack Stratton.

Stratton has recently graduated from High School and is enjoying his summer. He, and his best friend Chandler, have enlisted in the Army and are just waiting to report to boot camp. His goal is to serve his enlistment then return and attend college. Ultimately, he wants to be a police officer.

A woman disappears and before long a neighbor of Stratton is arrested for her murder. Stratton’s foster mother asks him to look into the case to prove the neighbor’s innocence. Stratton and Chandler dig into the case and run up against police that see them as interfering at the best and involved somehow at the worst.

It becomes a question of whether they will be able to find the real killer without getting themselves in so deep that their military service will be in jeopardy.

I enjoyed the 7+ hours I spent reading this 262 page Mystery. While it was not identified as such, it had the feel of a Young Adult novel. I liked the characters in the story and the plot was well developed, with several viable suspects until near the end of the story. The cover art is appropriate, showing the victim being confronted by her murderer. I give this novel a 3.8 (rounded up to a 4) out of 5.

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

Reading Fiction Improves Your Job Performance

Reading – I came across the article “Five Ways Reading Fiction Makes You Better At Your Job” this morning and thought that it made good arguments for include some time for reading fiction in your daily schedule. I have been reading fiction, mostly science fiction, for most of my life. What this article points out is that readers of fiction benefit in five ways:

  1. Improved reasoning skills
  2. Understanding of complex problems
  3. Emapthy
  4. Stress relief
  5. Strong role models

I have found over the years that reading has been a means of relaxing and forgetting for a few minutes the stress of life. If you can find an author you like and get immersed in his story, this may help you unwind.

Many, but certainly not all, novels have strong characters that can serve as role models. I think that this is particularly true of Young Adult readers, but it does apply to everyone in one degree or another. Again there is the challenge of funded the right book with the right role model for you.

I do think that reasoning skills can be improved if you read a novel that has some mystery or complex problem to be solved. You begin, whether consciously or not, to try to come up with a solution before the author does.

You can get very invested with a character in a story. While I have read hundreds of novels, only in a very few cases have I felt that a close friend is gone once I’ve finished the story. I have also found that stories often take a different approach to a problem that I would have taken. It makes me think a little more about the problem.

The net of all this is that you should find a few minutes each day to read some fiction. There is so much available now to read that finding something should not be hard. If you are on a tight budget, there are several daily email publications you can subscribe to that will alert you to free or low cost eBooks. Most are from new and upcoming authors, but I have found that many are pretty good. There are also some “all-you-can-read” services.

Review of “Hurricane Squadron”

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Book ReviewsWWII – “Hurricane Squadron” eBook was published in 2016 (original paper edition was published in 1984) and was written by Robert Jackson (https://www.fantasticfiction.com/j/robert-jackson/). Mr. Jackson has published over 50 books. This is the first novel in his “Yeoman “ 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 France during 1940 as the German Army invades the country at the outbreak of World War II. The primary character is Sergeant Pilot George Yeoman.

Yeoman is sent to France as a replacement to a Hurricane fighter unit stationed in norther France. The story tells of his exploits on air missions against the Germans. It also tells of his adventures after being shot down twice. The novel gives a historical view of this tumultuous and dangerous time in our history.

I enjoyed the 3.5 hours I spent reading this 144 page WWII Fiction novel. I already have read a few of the later novels in the series and enjoyed them as well. I liked the character of Yeoman as well as the look into the history of the period that the novel provides. The cover art is a reasonable choice for this novel. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

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

Trailer for “The Handmaid’s Tale”

Trailers – Hulu will be bringing “The Handmaid’s Tale” to video on April 26. This story set in the near future in a US that has has been taken over by a totalitarian government. The resulting society is dystopian, with women loosing their rights. The main character of the story is a woman who has been assigned to the class of women kept for reproductive purposes.

This movie is based on the book (published in 1985) of the same name by Margaret Atwood. The book achieved significant recognition in the mid 80’s.

If you subscribe to Hulu this may be an interesting series to watch.

Review of “The Intruders”

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Book ReviewsWWII – “The Intruders” eBook was published in 2016 (the original paper edition was published in 1998) and was written by Robert Jackson. Mr. Jackson published has published over 50 books. This one is from his “Ken Armstrong” 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 ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence and Mature Situations. The story is set in England during World War II. The primary character is RAF Squadron Leader Ken Armstrong.

It is 1940 and the war is still in its first year. The Germans are threatening invasion and the Luftwaffe is making an all out assault on the RAF to gain air superiority. Armstrong is chosen to lead a new squadron that will target German air bases in occupied Europe and act as night fighters against the German bombers pounding the UK.

The efforts of many RAF pilots, fictional and real, are told. Several dog fights between RAF and Luftwaffe aircraft are described.

I enjoyed the 6.5 hours I spent reading this 161 page novel. I have read several other of Jackson’s books and have enjoyed them all. This is a combination of history and fiction describing much of the “Battle for Britain” that was being waged in the air. It was a little dry in places, but is still enjoyed it. The cover art is reasonable as it shows a Hawker Hurricane, one of the aircraft Armstrong and his squadron flew. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

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