Category Archives: Mystery

Preview of “The Alienist”

Trailers – The TNT channel has announced a new series called ‘The Alienist’ based upon the book of the same name written by Caleb Carr. This is a period mystery set at the end of the 19th century. The official synopsis is:

The psychological thriller drama is set in 1896, when a series of gruesome murders of boy prostitutes has gripped the city. Newly appointed top cop Teddy Roosevelt calls upon Dr. Laszlo Kreizler (Brühl), a criminal psychologist — aka alienist — and newspaper illustrator John Moore (Evans) to conduct the investigation in secret. Joining them in the probe is Sara Howard (Fanning), a headstrong secretary at Police Headquarters.

Based upon this preview, this may be a very good series. Unfortunately, there is no date set yet as to when we will be able to begin watching.

Review of “The Golden Gate”

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Book Reviews – “The Golden Gate” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Robert Buettner (http://www.robertbuettner.com). Mr. Buettner has published nine 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 in contemporary California. The main characters are retired Lieutenant Ben Sheppard who is now on the staff of a senior Senator just appointed as head of Homeland Security. The other primary character is veteran reporter Kate Boyle.

The two are brought together when Manuel Colibri, the world’s richest man is attacked while driving home across the Golden Gate Bridge. At first it is thought to be an act of terrorism, which is how Sheppard gets involved. Boyle gets involved when her father, a retired lawyer, is asked to investigate the incident. The more information that is gathered, the stranger the case becomes.

I enjoyed the just shy of 6 hours I spent reading this Science Fiction Mystery. It is mostly a Mystery with a touch of Romance. I liked the characters and the plot. The cover art is good and implies a ‘James Bond’ like character, which Sheppard turns out to be in a way. 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 “Lost Girls”

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Book Review – “Lost Girls” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Merrie Destefano (http://www.merriedestefano.com). Ms. Stefano has published seven 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 US. High School Junior Rachel wakes up in a ditch. She soon learns that she has been missing for two weeks. The worst part is that she can’t remember anything that has happened to her over the past year. The last thing she remembers is falling asleep in her room listening to music during her Sophomore year.

She discovers that over the past year, before the kidnapping, she had changed. She is astonished to find that she is romantically involved with a guy she would have been too timid to talk to before. She slowly investigates her own life, surprised at what she learns about herself. Slowly too, she begins to remember bits and pieces of the past year. She finds out that she is not the only lost girl, but she is the only one that has turned up alive.

The more she uncovers, she realizes that there has been a very dark side to her life over the past year. She also realizes that she has been involved with some very scary people. Will she remember how she was kidnapped and be able to save some of the other missing girls, or will her kidnappers find her again.

This was an interesting 6.5 hour read of a Young Adult Mystery. While there was romance, there was also a lot of dark, dangerous events in Rachel’s life. The plot certainly headed in unexpected directions as the story unfolds. The cover art is OK, but doesn’t really relate to the story being told. 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 “Sherlock Holmes and the Eisendorf Enigma”

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Book Reviews – “Sherlock Holmes and the Eisendorf Enigma” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Larry Millett (https://www.larrymillett.com/). Mr. Millett has published more than a dozen books and including several “Holmes Mysteries”.

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 mostly in the small town of Eisendorf, Minnesota, but some is spent in Munich, Germany as well.

As expected Sherlock Holmes is the primary character. It is 1920 and the 66 year old Holmes has mostly retired. He travels to Minnesota to visit the Mayo clinic seeking treatment of his growing breathing problems. While there he receives a cryptic message from a former foe, the “Monster of Munich”. The message invites Holmes to the small, remote town of Eisendorf.

Holmes had been unable to catch the Monster back in Munich of 1892. Now he both sees an opportunity to conclude that case as well as solve some unusual deaths in Eisendorf. Eisendorf proves to be a challenge. The town is tight lipped and the town and its inhabitants seem to harbor many secrets.

Holmes faces challenges as well as threats. Will he be able to identify the killer? Will he survive the encounter and his failing health?

I enjoyed the 7 hours I spent reading this 240 page Mystery. This Holmes is very much like Doyle’s original, though much older,  I thought that the plot was well played out and the solution was not obvious. I would certainly consider reading other of Millett’s Holmes novels. The cover art is OK, giving the impression of the dark, forested location of Eisendorf. 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 “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).

Review of “Dragon Twins”

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Book Review – “Dragon Twins” eBook was published in 2013 and was written by Allison Cosgrove (https://stanbrookshire.com). Ms Cosgrove has published five novels. This is the second in her ‘Stan Brookshire’ 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 a little Mature Language and some Violence. The story is set in contemporary times but in a fictitious city. The primary characters are Detectives Stan Brookshire and Jane Trinity.

The Detectives get called in on a case where a housekeeper has been murdered and an young girl has been kidnapped. They are unable to turn any leads in the Chinese family’s friends or business contacts. Soon there is another similar case of murder and attempted abduction.

The Detectives believe that they cases are related in some way, but at first find little evidence. Ultimately one of them takes a big risk to themselves in an attempt to rescue the girl.

I wasn’t sorry that I spent 4.5 hours reading this 304 page Mystery, but it was not one of the better ones that I have read. It was a watered down Mystery with little action. It also has some major flaws in the story: international travel without passports, taking a gun into China and having total free movement within China. The cover art is OK, but really doesn’t give you much of an insight to what the book is about. I’m not sure I would read another book in this series. 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 “Translucid”

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Book Review – “Translucid” eBook was published in 2016 and was written by Zen DiPietro. Ms. DiPietro has published 9 novels. This is the first in her “Dragonfire Station” 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 mild scenes of Violence and Mature Situations. The story is set in the far future. The main characters is Emé Fallon, the security chief of Dragonfire Station.

She wakes up from an accident without any memory of who she is, though strangely she remembers all of her skills. As the looks into her accident, she begins to feel that it was more likely the result of tampering with her shuttle.

She has many suspects, as she remembers no one. Her wife, the Captain of the station, her second in command – the list is endless. She does begin to discover things, and she gradually finds some people that she thinks she can trust. The more she digs, the more signs she sees that her injury was not from an accident, and that it is likely part of some much larger plot.

I really liked this 275 page Science Fiction novel. There is a bit of Mystery and Intrigue, as well as a little action. There is a bit of romance between Fallon and her wife. I liked the plot line of the story and the characters that populated it. It looks to be a good start to a series. The cover art is reasonable, as most of the story takes place on the depicted Dragonfire Station. 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 “A Curious Beginning”

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Book Review – “A Curious Beginning” eBook was published in 2015 and was written by Deanna Raybourn (http://www.deannaraybourn.com). Ms. Raybourn has published nearly 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 minor scenes of Violence. The story is set in 1887 London. The primary character is orphan Veronica Speedwell, a young woman who has just been left on her own with the death of her aunt. She is an accomplished lepidopterist (she hunts butterflies) and a naturalist.

She returns home from the funeral to catch a strange man searching her aunt’s home. Avoiding him, she soon encounters a German Barron with whom she sets off for London. While she seems oblivious to any real threat to herself, the Barron convinces her to stay with his friend Stoker for her own safety.

This begins and adventure for Stoker and Speedwell. There is murder, mystery and revelations of Speedwell’s past. Stoker and Speedwell verbally clash again and again, yet there is a chemistry between them.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 9+ hours I spent reading this Historical Mystery. I liked the characters of both Speedwell and Stoker, though for being so smart, Speedwell took far too long to be convinced of her own predicament. I liked that the story was set in late 19th century London. While the cover art does nothing to indicate a mystery, it does give a feel for the period. This is a series that I want to read more of. 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 “The Jekyll Revelation”

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Book Review – “The Jekyll Revelation” eBook was published in 2016 and was written by Robert Masello (http://www.robertmasello.com). Mr. Masello has published 17 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 Situations. The story is set in the 1880s and present day. The primary character in the 1880’s portion is the well known author Robert Louis Stevenson. The modern portion of the story centers on environmental scientist Rafael Salazar.

For Stevenson, the story begins with his journey to a Swiss clinic for treatment of his tuberculosis. The doctor is a bit odd and the treatment strange, though effective. Stevenson discovers that the medication he is being given comes from an astonishing and sickening source. He also finds himself altered when he takes the medication.

Salazar is studying coyotes in California. His efforts at both his research and love life are hampered by a local gang and their followers. While trying to track his coyotes, he discovers an old trunk that had been submerged in a pond until the drought hit. Inside the trunk he discovers an old journal. The journal proves to be Sevenson’s.

Stevenson is able to publish several works after his hospital stay, including ’The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’. As a play based on the book opens in London, Jack the Ripper begins his terror. The similarity to Stevenson’s Hyde draws the attention of Scotland Yard. Stevenson must evade several dangerous situations and eventually discovers the identity of The Ripper.

Salazar must evade one dangerous situation after another. Though his work is under scrutiny and his grant may be cancelled at any moment, he continues to follow his coyotes. He also reads, and is astonished by, the tale Stevenson has recorded.

I thought that the 10.5 hours I spent with this 493 page novel were interesting. There was some action, but for the most part this was a book on the slow side. I guess that Mystery categorizes this better than any other tag, with a bit of Horror and Science Fiction thrown in. I liked the way Stevenson and Salazar were presented, though I think more could have been done with the Salazar character. The cover art is OK, but doesn’t really give any insight to the story. I give this novel a 3.5 (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).