Category Archives: Mystery

Book Review: “Thin air”

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Book Reviews – “Thin Air” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Richard K. Morgan (https://www.richardkmorgan.com). Mr. Morgan has published 10 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, Mature Language, and a few Mature Situations. The story is set in the future on Mars. The primary character is Hakan Veil, a former a protection specialist for commercial spacecraft. He is equipped with military-grade body tech that makes him a force to reckon with.

Veil is now involuntarily retired from his commercial protection role. He takes on private engagements and finds himself forced to take on the job of bodyguard to an Earth Oversite investigator. It is supposed to be an easy gig.

The easy job turns into attempts on his life, a missing investigator, and the discovery of a conspiracy. Can he stay alive long enough to find the investigator?

I thoroughly enjoyed the near 16 hours I spent reading this 536-page science fiction mystery. This novel seemed to start off very slowly. I almost called a Rule of 50 on it, but I persisted and in the end, I was glad that I had. This feels like a noir mystery the way it is written (Veil reminds me of Philip Marlowe except that he is living a couple of hundred years later and on Mars). The cover art is OK, though something in line with the plot would have been better in my opinion. I give this novel a 4.3 (rounded down to a 4) out of 5.

Further book reviews I have written can be accessed at https://johnpurvis.wordpress.com/blog/. 

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

Book Review: “The Taken Girls”

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Book Reviews – “The Taken girls” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by G. D. Sanders (https://www.fantasticfiction.com/s/g-d-sanders/). This is Mr. Sander’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 ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Mature Language and Mature Situations. The story is set in contemporary England. The primary character is Detective Edina Ogborne.

Ogborne has just been transferred to the Canterbury Police. Even before her official start, she finds herself involved in the hunt for a missing teenage girl. That hunt goes on for days, then the girl turns up. As the investigation proceeds it is discovered that this is not the first girl to disappear then reappear unharmed.

Not only is Ogborne faced with the challenge of the kidnapping, but she also faces initial resistance from her new team in Canterbury. Poor choices in her love life have caused her to be transferred to Canterbury and now the new man in her life is a suspect in the kidnapping. She also comes across oddities in the police records that imply that there has been a coverup.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 7.5 hours I spent reading this 400-page mystery. I like British mysteries and I think this is a good one. I like the primary character as well as the others that make up her team. I think they will make for good stories as this series evolves. I have had the opportunity to visit Canterbury so that adds a further attraction to this novel. I like the cover art. 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).

Book Review: “Limetown”

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Book Reviews – “Limetown” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Cote Smith (https://www.cotesmith.com). Mr. Smith has published two novels. This novel is the prequel to the popular podcast of the same name.

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 about ten years ago, mostly in Kentucky. The primary character is seventeen-year-old Lia Haddock.

Haddock’s mother has been acting strangely. Over 300 people have disappeared from a research center in Limetown, Kentucky. Among them are Haddock’s uncle, Emile Haddock, who she barely remembers. Young Haddock is an aspiring journalist and finds herself compelled to seek answers to the disappearance.

She finds that her parents have been keeping secrets from one another and from her. She finds a mystery surrounding her uncle. She finds that she is not the only one seeking Emile Haddock.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 7+ hours I spent reading this 304-page science fiction mystery. I had not listened to the podcast when I read this novel, but have now. The story is a little odd and borders on the paranormal. I would recommend reading it before listening to season 1, but even afterward it will be of value to the fan of the Limetown podcast. It does explain a lot of the backstory for what happens in season 1 of the podcast. I am not a fan of the chosen cover art. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

Further book reviews I have written can be accessed at https://johnpurvis.wordpress.com/blog/. 

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

Book Review: “A Baker Street Wedding”

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Book Reviews – “A Baker Street Wedding” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Michael Robertson (https://www.thebakerstreetletters.com). This is the sixth novel in the “The Baker Street Letters” series by Mr. Robertson.

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’. The story is set in the contemporary UK. The primary characters are lawyer Reggie Heath and the celebrated actress Laura Rankin.

Rankin and Heath have just gotten married and try to escape the publicity by disappearing to a small town where Rankin once attended school. They are soon drawn into a mystery. Rankin is asked to fill in for a woman in a community play. The woman has accidentally fallen off a cliff and died. Soon though Rankin and Heath begin to question the accidental nature of the death.

There is also an unusual character that shows up with Heath’s secretary in the rural town. Is he Sherlock Holmes?

I enjoyed the 5 hours I spent reading this 304-page mystery. This was an OK mystery and I liked the strange character that shows up, though there needs to be more explanation of the character (perhaps that is covered in one of the earlier novels in the series, though Rankin and Heath do not appear to know him). Even though there are five earlier novels in the series, this novel reads well on its own. The cover art is OK but doesn’t relate well to the story. 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).

Book Review: “Perfect Girls”

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Book Reviews – “Perfect Girls” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Alison James. This is the third novel by Ms. James and the third in her “Detective Rachel Prince” 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 the modern day US. The primary character is Detective Rachel Prince.

Prince is a Detective in the British National Crime Agency. A request comes through for assistance from the US. The body of a beautiful twenty-five-year-old English girl has been found dumped behind a department store in Hollywood, California. Prince is assigned to the case and flies to the US.

Police think they have found the murderer, but Prince is not convinced. In fact, the more she investigates the death, she believed it may the work of a serial killer. She is called back home though before she can convince authorities. Consumed by the case, she returns to the US on her own to try and solve the murders. Her investigation has not gone unnoticed by the killer and Prince soon finds herself under their power.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 7 hours I spent reading this 339-page mystery. This is the second novel in this series I have read and I have enjoyed them both. This one is a little different as most of it takes place in the US. I like the character of Prince in the novels. I also enjoyed the plot twist the author has at the end of the book. While this is the third novel in a series, it reads well on its own. 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).

Book Review: “Sherlock Holmes and the Greyfriars School Mystery”

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Book Reviews – “Sherlock Holmes and the Greyfriars School Mystery” eBook was published in 2015 (original paper edition was published in 1996) and was written by Val Andrews. Mr. Andrews published more than 20 Sherlock Holmes mysteries. In total, he published over 1000 books and booklets, including Houdini novels and books on magic.

I ordered this novella from Amazon when it was being promoted by the publisher. I categorize this novella as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in 1912 England with the familiar characters of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.

Both men are retired now. Watson has been called on by his former schoolmaster for some assistance. One of the staff, Dr. Locke, has been working for years on a history of the Greyfriars School, but it has now gone missing. Watson is asked if he will convince Holmes to come out of retirement and help find the manuscript.

Holmes leaves retirement and his bees behind briefly as he and Watson visit Greyfriars School. Once they have arrived at Greyfriars, they are unexpectedly drawn into the search for the murderer of a local jeweler. They find themselves confronted with rebellious school boys, a not altogether forthcoming Dr. Locke, and a desperate killer.

I enjoyed the 2+ hours I spent reading this 109-page mystery. This mystery is written very much like the original Holmes stories. I think that the cover art is appropriate. I give this novella a 4 out of 5.

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

Book Review: “Death in Paris”

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Book Reviews – “Death in Paris” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Emilia Bernhard. This is Ms. Bernhard’s first novel.

I received a copy of this novel on promotion from the publisher. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Mild Violence. The story is set in current day Paris. The primary character is the middle-aged American woman Rachel Levis.

Levis has been living in Paris for some years now. Shortly after she first arrived in Paris she became romantically entangled with the much older banker Edgar Bowen. Now years later she is happily married to another banker when she hears of Bowen’s death. An odd death in that he drowned in a bowl of soup.

While attending Bowen’s funeral, Levis overhears another mourner mention that a bottle of Rose wine was found on the table next to Bowen’s body. The Bowen she had known had hated Rose wine. When the Paris police rule the death an accident, Levis is convinced that there was foul play.

She, along with longtime friend Magda Stevens, begin to investigate the odd death. Levis is surprised to find that she is included in Bowen’s will. This brings her into close proximity with those that she and Stevens believe to be the most likely suspects in Bowen’s death. Before long though, the suspect list is shortened by another ‘accidental’ death.

Will Levis and Stevens be able to prove that Bowen’s death was murder? Can they discover the murderer? Will they be able to avoid ‘accidents’ targeted at them?

I thoroughly enjoyed the 7 hours I spent reading this 327-page mystery. This was a rather low key mystery with little action or excitement, but it was surprisingly a compelling read. I liked the characters created for the two amateur sleuths. I also enjoyed the plot and what I think is a good twist at the end. I do not like the cover art. It has nothing to do with 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).

Book Review: “The Cheerleaders”

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Book Reviews – “The Cheerleaders” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Kara Thomas (https://karathomasbooks.wordpress.com). Ms. Thomas has 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 ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence and Mature Language. The story is set in a contemporary suburban US community. The primary character is 17-year-old Monica Rayburn. She is on her High School competitive dance team. She probably would have been a cheerleader, but they don’t have cheerleaders at her school. At least not anymore, not for the last five years.

Five years ago two cheerleaders died in an auto accident, then two more were murdered. A fifth, Rayburn’s sister, committed suicide. All dead within three weeks. They had a suspect for the murders, but he was killed resisting arrest. Now Rayburn begins to question her sister’s suicide. She is seeing evidence that maybe the man resisting arrest wasn’t the killer after all.

She gets hints at what happened five years ago from a strange neighborhood boy. She hears other things from her stepfather, a cop, and the man who shot and killed the murder suspect. Then there are the things that she hears from people who were close to the dead girls. The more she finds out, the more she questions the official story.

I thoroughly enjoyed the near 7 hours I spent reading this 384-page young adult mystery. I liked the characters created for this novel and the convoluted plot. This is a bit of a dark story, but I liked it. I also liked the plot twist at the end of the novel. The cover art is OK, but I think a better image could have been chosen. 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 “Murder in Keswick”

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Book Reviews – “Murder in Keswick” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by William Todd. Mr. Todd has published seven novels and novellas.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novella as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in the late 19th century in England. The primary characters are, of course, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson.

Watson and Holmes are attempting to get away from London and their constant load of cases. Traveling to the Lake District is supposed to let them relax, but when they arrive they discover that a local has been found dead and his head is missing. They soon find themselves drawn into the strange case.

Was he murdered by the gypsies in the area? By a business competitor? By some other party set to reign terror on the local community? Only Holmes will be able to discover the who, and why of the murder.

I enjoyed the 3+ hours I spent reading this 178 page mystery. I read almost every novel with Holmes and Watson as the main characters I can find. This one is consistent with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s own stories.  The cover art is OK. 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 “Pretty Waiter Girls”

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Book Reviews – “Pretty Waiter Girls” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Greg Alldredge (https://www.greg-alldredge.com). Mr. Alldredge has published three novels, with this being the first in his “Helena Brandywine Adventure” 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 1899 San Francisco. The primary character is young Helena Brandywine.

Brandywine is a wealthy young woman who is educated and who has grown up protected somewhat from the seedier and more brutal side of life. Her step-father, the general, has been away for many years and she has been without her mother for most of her life. She has Sigmund and Lane to assist, guide, and protect her.

Brandywine fancies herself as a detective after the popular stories she has read. When a friend approaches her about the disappearance of another young woman, Brandywine dives into the investigation. That investigation takes her to Chinatown and opens her eyes to what is really going on in the strata of society beneath her station. She also finds herself drawn to a San Francisco Police detective and encountering one dangerous situation after another. She also begins to learn much more about her parents. They are not exactly who she thought they were.

I enjoyed the 5.5 hours I spent reading this 317 page steampunk mystery. I liked the characters in this novel, and the willingness of the author to see primary characters be killed off. I was not expecting the supernatural thread, but I still enjoyed the novel. I will look forward to more novels in this series. I like the cover art. 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).