Category Archives: Mystery

Review of “Final Target”

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Book Reviews – “Final Target” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by E. V. Seymour (http://www.evseymour.co.uk). Mr. Seymour has published 11 novels. This is the second of his “Josh Thane Thrillers”.

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 primary character of the story is former Assassin for hire Josh Thane.

Thane has ‘retired’ from his role as an assassin and the violent world he was part of. He is surprised when a person from his past, MI5 agent Inger McCallen, shows up. Thane has a romantic interest in McCallen but has never wanted to complicate his life further. Now McCallen is recruiting him to investigate a threat against her life.

As Thane pursues the investigation, he finds himself the target of more than one attack. Then McCallen disappears and MI5 seems to think Thane is involved. Thane must avoid MI5 while he desperately tries to find McCallen. Crime figures that he formerly worked for begin to die, and that is another complication with connections back to him.

I enjoyed the 7.5 hours I spent reading this 272 page mystery and thriller. I liked the character of Thane who is definitely a guy with a sketchy background, but who is trying to live a normal life. The cover art is OK. 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).

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Review of “The Gemini Agenda”

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Book Reviews – “The Gemini Agenda” eBook was published in 2018 (original paper edition was published in 2012) and was written by Michael McMenamin and Patrick McMenamin (http://www.winstonchurchillthrillers.com). Mr. McMenamin Sr. has authored or co-authored 12 books. Mr. McMenamin Jr. has authored or co-authored 6 books. This is the third in their “Winston Churchill 1930s Thriller” 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 1932. The primary characters are Mattie McGary, Churchill’s goddaughter and a reporter for the Hearst newspapers, and Bourke Cockran a law professor, former US Army MID agent, and the son of one of Churchill’s former mentors. Also playing a significant role in the story is the German Kurt von Sturm.

By this point, McGary and Cockran are an intimate pair, though not yet engaged. McGary is drawn into a mystery of grisly murders across the US by Hearst. She encounters ruthless thugs who try to discourage her investigations. Meanwhile, Cockran is engaged as the divorce attorney for Ingrid, the wife of Wesley Waterman. Waterman and Cockran have already crossed paths earlier in the book series. Waterman uses his wealth and power to block the divorce including violence and murder.

When Ingrid’s siblings disappear while traveling in Europe, she and Cockran set out to find them. McGary’s investigation of the murders also leads her to Europe where there is evidence that some Americans that have been abducted are being held. Both paths lead to a secret medical facility where studies are being conducted under the direction of the Nazis.

Von Sturm has had affairs with both McGary and Waterman and still carries deep feelings for both women. When he finds Waterman under threat, he steps in to rescue the young woman. In doing so he risks the deadly retribution of both colleagues and his employers if they find out. He feels honor bound to do what he can to save Waterman’s siblings.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 11+ hours I spent reading this 400 page historical thriller. I have enjoyed the three major characters in the novels, as well as the other real people of the era that are woven into the story. While this isn’t a true WWII story, it deals with real factors that lead up to the war. The cover art is OK, but an image of one of the Pitcairn autogiro craft that Cockran and McGrady repeatedly use would have been better in my opinion. 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 DeValera Deception

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Book Reviews – “The DeValera Deception” eBook was published in 2018 (the original paper edition was published in 2010) and was written by Michael McMenamin and Patrick McMenamin (http://www.winstonchurchillthrillers.com). Mr. McMenamin has published seven novels and this is the first in their “Winston Churchill 1930s Thriller” 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 across North America in 1929.

Winston Churchill is traveling across Canada and the US. The Prime Minister, Ramsay MacDonald, asks him to discretely approach President Herbert Hoover to get assistance in stopping the sale of arms to the IRA. While a team of SIS agents is dispatched to investigate, Churchill decides to rely on his own resources. He recruits his goddaughter, Mattie McGary, who is a reporter for the Hearst newspapers and Bourke Cockran a lawyer and son of one of Churchill’s former mentors.

While Cockran develops a strong love interest in McGary, he also mistrusts her and Hearst. The two are able to discover quite a bit about the IRA plot, but they find themselves in dangerous situations time and again. Cockran is distracted by the presence in the US of the IRA agent responsible for the death of his first wife. He struggles to keep his focus on the arms deal instead of seeking revenge.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 9.5 hours I spent reading this 415 page period thriller. I liked the characters of Cockran and McGary, as well as the real historical figures that the authors have woven into the story. I like the cover art selected for the novel. 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 “One Way”

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Book Reviews – “One Way” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by S. J. Morden (http://bookofmorden.co.uk/). Mr. Morden has published 15 books.

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 set in the near future mostly on the Mars. The primary character is Frank Kittridge. Kittridge ran a construction company at one time, but at the beginning of the story he is in prison on a life sentence for murder.

Kittridge is approached with an unusual offer. The company, Xenosystems Operations, that runs the private prison he is doing time in is also bidding on a contract to build a Mars base for NASA. Kittridge and a few other prisoners are being given the opportunity to travel to Mars and to build the base there. In return they get out of prison, but will be confined to the Mars base for the rest of their lives.

The volunteers are given training and then are sent to Mars on a one way trip. They arrive and begin to assemble the habitat that has been sent ahead of them. Then ‘accidents’ begin to happen and prisoners begin to die. Is it just the inhospitable Martian environment or is there a killer amongst them?

I thoroughly enjoyed the 9 hours I spent reading this 368 page science fiction mystery. I thought that the concept of using prisoners to take a one way trip to Mars was interesting. The Kittridge character is very flawed and I think adds to the story, though perhaps he is a little too flawed. I like the cover art, though I am not sure why a space suited figure is shown in space. 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 “Prisoner in the Castle”

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Book ReviewsWorld War IIWorld War II Timeline – “Prisoner in the Castle” eBook was published in 2018 (August) and was written by Susan Elia MacNeal (http://www.susaneliamacneal.com). Ms. MacNeal has published eight novels in her ‘Maggie Hope Mystery’ series. This is the eighth in the 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 Language. The story is set in Scotland during World War II. The primary character is Maggie Hope, a former British spy.

Hope has been sent to a castle on a remote Scottish island because she has become aware of the plans for D-Day. She and a hand full of others from the intelligence community are there to set out the war where they cannot reveal sensitive information that they have come across.

Soon after a new resident arrives, members of their small community begin to die. At first, the deaths seem like accidents, but before long it is obvious that there is a killer amongst them. Not only are they living with a killer, but the evidence indicates that there is a German spy on the island after Allied secrets.

I really enjoyed the 8 hours I spent reading this 320 page World War II-era mystery/thriller. While this is one of a series, it reads well as a stand-alone novel. I liked the characters in the novel. I would like to go back and read earlier novels in the series, and I will certainly be looking for future additions. I like the cover art. 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 “Before Mars”

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Book Reviews – “Before Mars” eBook was published in 2018 and wad written by Emma Newman (http://www.enewman.co.uk). Ms. Newman has published 10 novels or novellas. This is the third novel in her “Planetfall” universe.

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 Mature Language. The story is set in the near future on a human base on Mars. The primary character is geologist and artist Anna Kubrin.

Kubrin is surprised when she is offered the opportunity to fill the open fifth slot of the current Mars team. For her, this is the opportunity of a lifetime. That is until she arrives. Once she is on Mars she encounters animosity from some team members. She also begins to find evidence that something is very wrong.

Living on Mars with just four other humans on a base owned and operated by one of the wealthiest men on Earth leaves Kubrin with few options. She begins to quietly investigate, but she is sure her efforts will soon be discovered.

I thought that this was an interesting 8.4 hour read of this 352 page science fiction mystery. To me, the Kubrin character was not psychologically stable enough to have been cleared for this Mars mission. I thought that the character spent too much time dealing with her psychological issues. Aside from that, the story was interesting, though a little slow. While part of a series, this novel reads well on its own. The cover art is OK, but I think it could have been better. 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).

Review of “The Girl in the Ice”

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Book Reviews – “The Girl in the Ice” eBook was published in 2016 and was written by Robert Bryndza (https://robertbryndza.com). Mr. Bryndza has published 13 novels. This is the first in his “Detective Erika Foster” crime thriller 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 Language. The story is set in modern-day London. The primary character is Detective Erika Foster.

Foster had been on leave. She had led a raid on a suspect’s home and in the process part of her team were killed, including her husband. The police have discovered the body of a young woman frozen in a lake. An old friend of Foster’s persuades her to come back and take the lead of the investigation team. This does not sit well with all of the officers working the case.

The murder investigation is complicated by the fact that the young victim is from a well to do family. As she digs deeper into the case, she finds evidence of three prostitutes being killed in almost an identical fashion. But associating the death of the socialite with the death of the prostitutes does not go over well with her family. This soon, and her brusque style, leads to her being sidelined from the investigation.

As the official investigation stalls, she is able to once again resume the role of leadership. As she narrows in on the killer, she is unaware that the killer had been stalking her. Will she be able to identify the killer before she becomes his next victim?

I enjoyed the 7.5 hours I spent reading this 396 page mystery thriller. I liked the character of Foster. She is a bit flawed and broken, but a tough customer. I will look for more books by Bryndza in this series. I liked the cover art, but to be consistent with the story the frozen dead girl’s eyes should be open. 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 “Blue Madonna”

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Book Reviews – WWII – “Blue Madonna” eBook was published in 2016 and was written by James R. Benn (http://www.jamesrbenn.com). Mr. Benn has published 14 novels. This is the eleventh in his “Billy Boyle WWII Mystery” series.

I purchased this novel through Barnes and Noble for my Nook reader. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story takes place in England and France in the days just before and following D-Day, June 6, 1944. The primary character is US Army Captain Billy Boyle.

Boyle is thrust into a dangerous undercover operation to identify those behind the theft of US military supplies intended for use by D-Day troops. This leads Boyle into occupied France on the eve of D-Day to find and bring out a key witness against the thieves.

A group of US fliers who have been shot down is in hiding with the French resistance. Included this group is the key witness. Boyle must make contact with them and bring out the witness. But the activities with the French underground are disrupted when one of the airmen is found dead. Boyle must not only try to solve the murder, but also assist the resistance with operations against the Germans. He is faced with surviving both the obvious German enemies, but also the unknown killer.

I thoroughly enjoyed the nearly 9 hours I spent reading this 337 page World War II mystery. In fact, I read this novel in one day. This novel reads well enough on its own, but I recommend reading these novels from the beginning. I have read all 11 now and find them to be excellent. I like the characters that Benn has developed for this series, and how he has woven the details of World War II into the mysteries. While the cover art is not bad, I think something more in line with the main plot of the story would have been better. 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 Compass Island Incident”

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Book Reviews – “The Compass Island Incident” ebook was published in 2017 and was written by Wade Fowler. Mr. Fowler has published four 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 Language. The story spans the years from the 1950’s to today.

A shipyard worker goes missing in 1953. In the 60’s a young girl begins having dreams where she is a man. Also in 1963, President John Kennedy visits the USS Compass Island, ostensibly to witness a missile test, but in reality to push the button on an attempt on Castro’s life. Mobsters are scheming to get rid of JFK, then he is assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald.

How are all of these facts tied together? Can decades-old murders be solved? After John Franklin Kincaid who was aboard the Compass Island the day of JFK’s visit is murdered, his son begins looking into his father’s death. It is not long before Kincaid finds himself in someone’s sites.

I thought that this was an interesting 7-hour read for this 317 page mystery. There is a lot going on in this novel: A true mystery; Reliving events from earlier lives; Mob conspiracy; and A CIA hit man. Almost too much for one novel. With all of these threads, the plot seems to wander all over the place. I also have to say that the plot was a little on the slow side. The selected cover art is OK. 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 “Places in the Darkness”

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Book Reviews – “Places in the Darkness” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Chris Brookmyre (https://www.brookmyre.co.uk/). Mr. Brookmyre has published more than 20 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, Mature Situations, and Mature Language. The story is set in the far future with humanity having built a large space station Ciudad de Cielo (CdC) — The City in the Sky.

The CdC is considered to the best humanity can create, but there is a dark underside to the CdC. In spite of the lofty goals for the CdC, smuggling, booze, and prostitution form the basis for a strong underground economy.

When the “first” recorded murder occurs on the CdC former LA cop and now CdC law enforcement officer Nikki “Fix” Freeman is called on to investigate. Freeman is familiar with the gritty underground economy. She, like many of the other CdC residents, have a second job tied in some way to illegal enterprise.

Arriving just as the murder is discovered, new security chief Alice Blake finds the that the CdC has far more illicit and corrupt activities than she had expected. She and Freeman are forced together in the investigation. Powers are manipulating events to keep both Freeman and Blake off balance. The murder investigation soon evolves into an effort not only to solve the murder but also for Blake and Freeman to simply stay alive.

I really enjoyed the 11.5 hours I spent reading this 448 page science fiction mystery novel. I liked the world created for this novel. The space station makes a different setting for a mystery. I also liked the characters of both Freeman and Blake. The 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).