Category Archives: Fiction

Review of “Hunted”

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“Hunted” (aka “Cameron’s Chase”) eBook was published in 2016 (March, though the paper edition was originally published in 1986) and was written by Phillip McCutchan (https://www.historicnavalfiction.com/authors-a-z/other-authors/philip-mccutchan). Mr. McCutchan wrote 45 novels about the Navy. This is the 11th of 14 novels in his “Donald Cameron RNVR” series.

I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. This World War II era Thriller novel is set aboard the destroyer Glenshiel, where the primary character Donald Cameron is the Captain.

Norwegian resistance notifies the Allies that the German battleship Attila has set sail accompanied by two heavy cruisers. Because of the timing, the Allies believe that the German battle group is after a supply convoy from North America and/or the troop laden Canard ships Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth. All are in route to the UK across the North Atlantic.

The available British fleet is mobilized and sent out to find the Germans. Fog and snow come at a perfect time for the Germans as it keeps their ships hidden from reconnaissance aircraft. Destroyers, including the Glenshiel, are dispatched in a search pattern to find the Germans.

The Glenshiel finds the Attila. In a brief one-sided encounter with the far superior German vessels, the Glenshiel is damaged. With its radio and radar antennas shot away, Cameron and the Glenshiel continue to carefully probe after the Germans.

The story also deals with personnel aboard the Glenshiel. Not all of the sailors are happy being aboard the vessel. The thoughts of several characters, on both the Allied and German sides, are given.

I enjoyed the 6.5 hours I spent reading this 176 page novel. This is the second of the “Donald Cameron RNVR” novels I have read, and I enjoyed this one just as much as the first. It does read well as a stand alone novel. I think they give a good depiction of serving abord a small military vessel in World War II. 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 “Crash Course”

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“Crash Course” eBook was published in 2016 (February) (the original paper copy was published in 1979) and was written by Stephen Barlay. Mr Barlay published 11 novels.

I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘G’. Not sure if I should call this a Thriller or a Mystery. Really neither in my estimation.

Pilot of passenger aircraft aborts takeoff at last moment and crashes the plane at the end of the runway. A crew member and a passenger are killed along with a young boy on the ground. As the investigation begins, there seems to be none of the aircraft problems that the pilot reported as causing the crash.

I thought this might be an interesting book . . . I was wrong. I spent a little over 2 hours reading this novel and got to about 31% of the way before I just had to give up and call a ‘Rule of 50’ on it.

Several characters were written about, some which seemed to have no connection to the crash. The only action scenes were contained in the few pages describing the crash itself. At more than 30% of the way through the novel I still had no idea what the plot was. Yes there was a crash and an investigation. There was no hint yet at any sabotage nor anyone wanting to cause harm to the aircraft or the air lines. I feel like I wasted two hours. I give this novel a 2 out of 5.

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

Review of “Ashley Bell”

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“Ashley Bell” eBook was published 2015 and was written by Dean Koontz (http://www.deankoontz.com). Mr. Koontz has authored nearly 150 novels.

I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence, Mature Situations and Mature Language. The setting of this Paranormal Thriller novel is contemporary California. The primary character is Bibi Blair, a young woman in her mid thirties who is told she has less than a year to live because of cancer.

She has been a surfer and now is a successful author. While in the hospital, she is visited by a strange man and a dog. Her cancer is gone. But that begins a strange trail of death and a mission by Blair to save Ashley Bell.

The problem is that she has never heard of Ashley Bell. The journey Blair takes to find and save Ashley Bell is dangerous and puzzling. There seems to be a powerful agency at work to thwart her at every turn.

It soon becomes a race to see if Blair will be able to get to Ashley Bell in time to save her.

I like Dean Koontz and have read many of his novels. I think that this is one of his better ones. The tale is a little bizarre, with many twists and turns. It also has a paranormal element that so many of Koontz’s novels contain. 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).

“Go Bag” Interesting Short Film

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I saw a reference to the short film “Go Bag” earlier today. It sounded interesting so I took a look.

It is a quick view, less than 9 minutes in length, but it is full of action. It reminds me a lot of sequences from one of  the Mission Impossible or James Bond full length Thriller movies. It is a free view on YouTube from filmmaking and motion graphics software company  Red Giant.

A young woman agent is at the airport and is being pursued. All she has to work with is her ‘Go Bag’. When it accidentally gets switched, she has to call upon her ingenuity to use the odd contents to escape.

My only regret is that the video is not longer.

Review of “Squadron Scramble”

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“Squadron Scramble” eBook was published in 2015 and was written by Robert Jackson. Mr. Jackson has written several books, both Fiction and Non-Fiction, on World War II, with a focus on aircraft of the era.

I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because of Violence. This Fiction novel is set in the early days of World War II. It covers the ‘Battle of Britain’ (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Britain) that lasted from late July 1940 through October of that year.

Those months saw an aggressive air power battle between the British and Germans in the sky over Britain. This story follows Sergeant George Yeoman of the British RAF and Lieutenant Joachim Richter of the German Luftwaffe. Yeoman and Richter combat one another more than once in the sky.

I thought that this story paints a good picture of the stress both sides were under during the Battle for Britain. Pilots and those interested in that era of flying will enjoy the many details that the author has included. I have read many stories from World War II, both Fiction and Non-Fiction. This book is short (119 pages and about 6 hours of reading), but I enjoyed it. 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).

 

Book Review of “The Khazar Codex”

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“The Khazar Codex” eBook was published in 2015 and was written by Graham Fulbright. This is Mr. Fulbright’s second novel.

I obtained a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I would categorize this novel as ‘PG’ as there are instances of Violence and Mature Language. This Fiction Thriller novel is set in contemporary London, England.

A small group of men who are advocating for the sake of the homeless take over a London theater and keep an handful of hostages, including the Prime Minister’s teenage son. The hostages,  while not in agreement with the methods, are sympathetic to the cause of the homeless. The hostages are well treated and are left more or less to freely roam the theater. Police and authorities are kept at bay by the threat of automatic weapons and explosives.

The hostages stumble upon a hidden vault in the basement of an adjoining building. Inside they find a cache of artwork and artifacts, most likely stolen. The art is established at stolen and valuable. A chest found in a display case contains a secret compartment with a modern cypher lock. The hostages set about to break the code securing the compartment. Ultimately, ancient scrolls are uncovered that will shake the foundation of Jewish, Muslim and the Christian faiths.

I almost called a “Rule of 50” on this novel. The novel started out slowly, glacially slowly particularly the first chapter. It did finally pick up some once I was about 15% into the novel, though in hindsight I think I should have pulled the plug. The overall plot was interesting, though I felt it just took forever (and at slightly over 24 hours spent reading the novel it was) to finished the 626 pages. I would also only marginally call it a Thriller.

I found that the story bogged down repeatedly with philosophizing, particularly about religion. There was also a hint at the beginning of the novel about some paranormal events experienced by what would become two of the hostages. But those events did not really matter any in the story.

I like a good, long story, but I think that in this case the novel would have been better if 200+ pages would had been edited into the bit-bucket. I give this novel a 3 out of 5.

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

Book Review of “The Bleiberg Project”

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“The Bleiberg Project” was published in 2014 and was written by David Khara (http://www.dskhara.com). Mr. Khara has published 6 novels, three in the “Consortium” series. This is the first book in that series.

I obtained a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I would categorize this novel as ‘R’ as there are instances of Violence and Mature Language. This Thriller novel covers from the thirties as Hitler was starting to rise to power until current day. Most of the action is in Europe, but some is also in the US. The key characters are Jeremy Corbin, Jacqueline “Jackie” Walls and Eytan Morg.

Corbin is a wealthy wiz on wall street that is fighting a number of personal demons. He finds out that his father, who left he and his mother years ago, has died. To his surprise he finds that what he knew of his father was far from the truth, and now his father’s investigations are dragging him into a world wide conspiracy.

Walls is a pretty, petite CIA operative who is assigned to protect Corbin. They have hardly met before she is saving his life. He is immediately drawn to her. Based on information Corbin’s father left behind, he and Walls are soon headed to Europe to recover information left there for him.

Morg is a deadly Maossad agent, and has an unbelievable past. He is assigned to watch and protect Corbin. He follows them to Europe, but soon must reveal himself to save both Corbin and Walls. They manage to barely stay one step ahead of their adversaries, but there is a trail of bodies left behind.

This very much reminds me of something Alistair MacLean or Ian Fleming might have written. The plot was a little different and it kept me engaged with the story. I thought that the three main characters were interesting. 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).

Book Review of “Ribbons of Death”

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“Ribbons of Death” was published in 2015 and was written by Edita A. Petrick (http://editapetrick.biz). Ms. Petrick has published 6 novels.

I obtained a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I would categorize this novel as ‘R’ as there are instances of Violence and Mature Language. This Fantasy Thriller novel is set in contemporary times in several locations, but mostly in the US.

The two principal characters are Timothy J. Carter and Dr. Stella Hunter. Carter has a long military career, including time in the Special Forces. At the time covered by the novel, he is a contractor for the US government. His role is not well defined, filling the area between the FBI and CIA allowing him to go where ever a situation leads him.

Hunter is a PhD with a focus on myths and mythology. She had been a professor at Michigan, but has left after her husband left her for a younger woman. Carter shows up at Hunter’s door one cold night asking for help.

Months earlier a riot had broken out at a peaceful demonstration in Cairo, Egypt. Hundreds were killed and injured. Carter was there and was uncontrollably drawn into the mayhem. Now, he is trying to track the cause. Similar deadly periods of mayhem break out in a few US cities. After talking with Hunter, they believe that the events are tied to a myth she had included in her book. Seeking to stop further deaths, Carter, with Hunter in tow, try to track down those behind the incidents.

They spend nearly a month traveling across the US trying to track down leads. They soon face deadly opposition to their investigations, but every step brings them a little closer to the source of the trouble. This 9 hour read was interesting, though the plot was not unusual. Unlike so many tales like this, there was no romance between the two major characters. I thought both of the characters were interesting, and the story compelling. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

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

Book Review of “Joe Steele”

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“Joe Steele” was published in 2015 (April) and was written by Harry Turtledove. Mr. Turtledove has published over 100 books.

I obtained a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I would categorize this novel as ‘PG’ as there are some instances of Violence and Mature Language. This Alternate History novel is set starting in 1932 and then continuing into the 1950s.

Son of Russian immigrants Joe Steele is a US Congressman with higher political aspirations. He is contending with Franklin D. Roosevelt for the Democratic nomination for President, when Roosevelt dies in a fire. Steele sweeps into office on a campaign to pull America out of the depression. His methods are ruthless, but his actions start to bring America back. Soon though, he is faced with the growing conflict of World War II, followed by the rise of Communism.

Bothers Mike and Charlie Sullivan are both reporters, Charlie based in Washington DC and Mike in New York. Mike does not like the steps that Steele is taking to control America, and speaks out in his columns. Before long, Mike is arrested, convicted of being a “wrecker” and sentenced to 5-10 years in a work camp. The outbreak of WWII offers Mike an opportunity to leave the camp and fight for the US.

Charlie sees the threat Steele is posing, but knows better than to openly say anything. Before long, Steele “invites” Charlie to join his staff as a speech writer. Knowing that saying ‘No’ may send him to join his brother, Charlie joins Steele’s staff.

I have read many of Turtledove’s other novels and have enjoyed them. I thought this alternate history was interesting but not as good as some of his other novels. The 13 hour story shows the US taking a very rigid, dictatorial path. It is not an edge-of-your-seat thriller, but it was an interesting read if you like Turtledove. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

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

Book Review of “Rome is Burning”

“Rome is Burning” was published in 2014 and was written by Roy A. Teel Jr. Mr. Teel has published six novels, with this being the third in his “Iron Eagle” series.

I obtained a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I would categorize this Fiction Thriller novel as ‘R’ as there is Mature Language, Mature Situations and Violence. The novel is written in the third person and is set in contemporary Los Angeles, California. The primary characters are FBI agent John Swenson and Sheriff Jim O’Brian.

John Swenson is The Iron Eagle who has appeared in the first two novels of this series. While an FBI Agent, he anonymously sees justice carried out when the system fails. He has assembled a tight knit group of fellow Special Operations combat veterans around him to help with imposing justice when needed. They hold back nothing to succeed, and are not hesitant to resort to torture to get the information that they seek.

Sheriff Jim O’Brian is added to his group as Swenson discovers a plot to take over the US government. He and his crew strike out against terrorists attacking the Los Angeles area, and move to block those who wish to overthrow the government.

The plot is full of conspiracy theories, some kind of far fetched in my opinion. I also felt that there was not a lot of depth to the characters. There is a lot of action. I give this novel a 3.5 (rounded up to 4) out of 5.

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