Category Archives: paranormal

Review of “Lammas Night”

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“Lammas Night” eBook was published in 2016 (original paper edition published in 1983) and was written by Katherin Kurtz (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katherine_Kurtz). Ms. Kurtz published nearly 40 novels.

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. The story is set in the early days (1940) of World War II. The British Expeditionary Force has barely escaped the continent through Dunkirk ahead of the German army. All of England fears that an invasion is soon to follow.

The primary character of this story is Colonel John “Gray” Graham of the British MI6. Not only is he working within the espionage community to defeat Germany, but he is also a practitioner of the occult arts. England is not only facing Germany’s military strength, but their occult assault as well. Graham and his close occult comrades want to organize as many of the occultists in England to rise up on Lammas Night to resist the pending invasion. But this must all be done very carefully as the hint to the public of involvement in magic would be devastating to any of the involved families.

Complicating this is a close friendship with Prince William of the British Royal family. The Prince soon convinces Graham to involve him more in the effort to organize the occult resistance to Hitler. The Prince and Graham soon realize that one of them may need to make a personal sacrifice to save England.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 10.5 hours I spent reading this 448 page novel. This was not a fast paced novel, but the intriguing story kept me very interested. I have read other novels by Kurtz and I have liked them all. I am a fan of World War II stories and really enjoyed this one, even thought it was more of a fantasy than most. I guess I would classify this as an Alternate History novel as the world in which it is set parallels ours, but allows for magic. I also think that the new cover is better than the one used on the original paper publication. 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 History Major”

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“The History Major” eBook was published in 2016 and was written by Michael Phillip Cash (http://www.michaelphillipcash.com). Mr. Cash has published 10 novels.

I received a galley of this novella for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novella as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence and is very strange. The story is set on a small college campus. The primary character is college freshman Amanda Greene.

Amanda wakes up hung over. But that is not all. Her dorm room looks strange. Her room mate is strange. Even the campus grounds outside the dorm window looks strange. Things do not improve for Amanda as her day progresses and she tries to attend her first day of classes.

She finds her schedule has been changed and she is in history class. She hates history. She tries to get the class changed, but the women the registrar’s office just tell her to go to class. When she gets to class, it is the strangest thing yet.

So . . . I spent less than 2.5 hours reading this 132 page novella. I almost called a Rule of 50 on it, but kept reading until the end. I should have quit. I am not sure what to say about this story. It is strange. It also seems to ramble along without a clear point. There is a point in the end, but the route to that end really did not set well with me. I think that this is best classed as a Psychological Paranormal story.

The cover wasn’t very informative as to what you will find within the pages. The story was last paced, but almost frantic. Did I mention that this story is strange. I give this novella a 2 out of 5.

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

Review of “A Time of Torment”

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“A Time of Torment” eBook was published in 2016 (August) and was written by John Connolly (http://www.johnconnollybooks.com). Mr. Connolly has authored or co-authored more than 30 novels. This is the 14th novel in the “Charlie Parker Mystery” series.

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, and Mature Situations. The story is set mostly in West Virginia. The primary character is Private Investigator Charlie Parker.

Parker has a history of violence. He is currently working in an advisory capacity with the FBI. This story has nothing to do with the FBI connection though. Parker is approached by Jerome Burnel who was recently released from prison. Burnel claims he is innocent and that he was set up. He fears that he will soon be killed.

In any case, he wants Parker to investigate. Parker is unsure at first, but soon comes to believe Burnel. Not long after, Burnel disappears. Parker and his close associates Angel and Louis begin to dig deeper.

There is an area of West Virginia known locally as The Cut. Those that live there live isolated lives, resisting any intrusions into their property. Not only are they reclusive, but they are thought to pursue more than one criminal activity. Before long Parker has his first encounter with men from The Cut. He skirmishes with them, but ultimately knows he must go to the heart of the trouble, The Cut itself.

Concurrent with all of this, the local Sheriff has been having his own encounters with The Cut. People have gone mission for years, but there has never been sufficient evidence to take action. Recently though, bodies have been discovered in a shallow grave. He hates The Cut. This brings him into all but open conflict with the leaders of The Cut. Because of the fear that The Cut instills in the locals he has few who are willing to support him. Then he meets Parker.

I enjoyed the 12 hours I spent with this 480 page Paranormal Mystery. I had not ready any of the prior books, but this one read well stand-alone. It is a dark story with a lot of violence. I liked the character of Parker, but did not really get to know him well in this novel. While there is definitely a paranormal aspect to the story, it is only a minor thread. I give this novel a 4.5 (rounded up to 5) out of 5.

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

Review of “Ink and Bone”

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“Ink and bone” ebook was published in 2016 and was written by Lisa Unger (http://lisaunger.com). Ms Unger has published 15 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 and Mature Language. This novel is set in a small town in upstate New York. The primary character is Finley Montgomery, a tattoo covered, twenty year old college student.

Finley left the city to move to rural New York. There she lives with her grandmother while she is attending a local university. She is also there to learn from her grandmother how to control her ability. She has prophetic dreams and can see ghosts.

Her grandmother has occasionally helped a local Private Investigator, Jones Cooper, with her psychic insights. He has recently been handed the case of a missing girl. Cooper wants the grandmother to assist him again with the new case, but she defers it to Finley.

This is Finley’s first time to use her abilities and she very unsure of herself. There have been several missing girls over the years, but no leads as to who kidnapped them or their fate. Finley finds herself drawn into the woods and is able to ‘see’ murky images of the kidnapping.

Just as a winter storm moves in with lots of snow, Finley finds herself compelled to go into the woods to look for the girl and her abductors. Finley feels there is little time left for the young girl and she must take action regardless of the danger.

I enjoyed the 9 hours I spent reading this 352 page paranormal Mystery Thriller. It reminded me a lot of books written by Dean Koontz. Finley is a character that is facing many challenges: learning to control her ability; dealing with a mother who wants nothing to do with the paranormal; coping with the boyfriend who has followed her across the country; . I could easily see this turned into a series of novels, which I would read. 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 “Escape from Witchwood Hollow”

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“Escape From Witchwood Hollow” eBook was published in 2014 and was written by Jordan Elizabeth Mierek (http://www.jordanelizabethmierek.com). Ms. Mierek has published four novels.

I received a copy of this novel for review from the publisher. I categorize this novel as ‘G’. This Young Adult Fantasy novel is set in rural New York. Some takes place in 1670, some in 1850 and the remainder in 2001.

The primary character is Honoria, a High School student in 2001. Her parents had died in the September 11 attack. Her aunt and uncle had relocated with her and her brother to rural Arnn, New York to get away from the memories within the city.

Honoria is taken to Witchwood Hollow by some girls in her class, a place with a dark legacy. She is told that over the centuries since the area was colonized, people have disappeared into the hollow never to be seen again.

The story jumps to 1850 when 17 year old Albertine disappears while trying to walk from town to her father’s farm. She wonders about the hollow meeting other who have become lost, but never able to find her way out.

The story also covers 1670 when Lady Clifford escapes into the hollow. After poisoning a woman, she has been chased into the woods. She stays there using the magic she has learned to keep hidden and young. She becomes the witch in the hollow.

I spent about 4 hours with this 200 page book. It was interesting, but not a genre (Paranormal) that I typically read. Young Honoria struggles with the loss of her parents, with the move to the new school, with leaving the city for a rural town and with her growing feelings for Leon. In spite of her fear of the hollow she is drawn to it. Honoria wonders if the magic of the hollow might reunite her with the ghosts of her parents. 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 “Sherlock Holmes and the Tangled Skein”

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Sherlock Holmes and the Tangled Skein” eBook was published in 2016 and was written by David Stuart Davies (http://www.davidstuartdavies.co.uk/home). Mr. Davies has published more than a dozen novels, with this being his sixth Sherlock Holmes novel.

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. The novel is set in 1888 London and surrounding areas.

The primary characters are Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson. This is a follow on to the well known Hound of the Baskervilles story. While not involving any of the Baskervilles directly, it does primarily take place in that area of England.

An odd package arrives at 221B Baker St. and it turns out to be a device intended to kill Sherlock Holmes. This prompts Holmes to investigate its origin. Inspector Lestrade comes to ask for Holmes and Watson to help with murders that have happened on Hampstead Heath. These deaths seem somehow tied to a strange phantom lady seen in the area at night.

The investigation take a turn for the paranormal when Holmes and Watson, while pursuing the phantom lady, are rescued by Professor Van Helsing. It is his theory that the phantom lady is a vampire. Not only that, but that Count Dracula has come to England to create a local vampire colony.

As expected Holmes and Watson are skeptical of Van Helsing’s claims and continue with their investigation. That leads them to the area of the Baskerville home and their attempt to save a young woman from falling to an evil illness. Watson and Holmes face danger and death more than once in this tale of mystery, facing one of their most clever adversaries.

This was a quick read taking less than five hours for me to complete this 192 page novel. It was a well written story and matches the style of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I somewhat regret reading it only because the genre (vampires) is really outside my interest area. 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).

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).

Review of “The Harmony Scroll”

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“The Harmony Scroll” eBook was published in 2015 and was written by Edita Petrick (http://editapetrick.biz). Ms. Petrick has published 7 novels and this is the second in her “Stella Hunter” mystery series.

I obtained a copy of this novel for review from the author. I would categorize this novel as ‘R’ as there are instances of Violence. This Paranormal Mystery novel is set in contemporary times in the US, France and England.

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. Evidence is staged to make it look like Hunter and her adopted son were killed in a house fire. Carter has doubts, and soon is in pursuit of the captive Hunter.

After rescuing Hunter, they begin a search for the Harmony Scroll. This document supposedly contains an incantation that will free Hunter’s adopted son from the curse they saved him from in the first novel in the series, “Ribbons of Death”. They make slow headway, but find themselves being watched by some and hunted by others. They finally believe they have found a lead to where the Harmony Scroll is hidden, but the discover that they have been manipulated by dark forces.

I enjoyed the 9 hours I spent reading this novel. The story is one long adventure and I felt that there was an abrupt jump into the story at the beginning and I found it a little confusing. While I liked this novel overall, I do not think it was as good as the first one in this series. 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 of “The Suicide Exhibition”

“The Suicide Exhibition” was published in 2015 (March) and was written by Justin Richards (http://www.justinrichardswriter.com). Mr. Richards is the author or co-author of more than 50 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. This Science Fiction WWII Thriller novel is set in the early days of World War II. The primary characters are Major Guy Pentecross, Sarah Diamon and Leo Davenport.

Leo Davenport is a noted actor, but once WWII has broken out he uses his skills to work behind German lines to gather intelligence. He  finds himself part of a German dig at a burial mound in France. He realizes what the Germans have found are important to the war effort and returns to England with what he has been able to steal from them.

Major Guy Pentecross has seen action on the continent and was wounded in the withdrawal from Dunkirk. His wounds kept him from returning to active duty, so he has taken up a position in the Foreign Office. Pentecross’ language skills has made him an asset, which often involves him with captured German airmen.

Sarah Diamond has split loyalties, with an American mother and British father. She has been a flyer for some time, and is now doing what she can for the war effort by ferrying aircraft for the British.

Colonel Brinkmann runs a very secret group that is charged with focusing on the more paranormal research that the Allies know is being carried out under the command of Himmler. Working closely with the Unclassified Artifacts department at the British Museum, they have tracked members of the German SS as they explore and loot ancient tombs at various places. they score a cough when they are able to get Davenport on a German dig. Pentecross and Diamond stumble across what Brinkmann is doing. But instead of arresting them, Brinkmann recruits them onto his team.

As they learn more, they find that the Germans are on the trail of what appears to be remnants of an advanced civilization hidden in ancient tombs. Their concerns quickly change from the Germans finding new weapons, to what they may have awakened in their digs.

I thoroughly enjoyed the nine hours I spent reading this novel and look forward to more in the series! There is a lot in this plot to remind you of Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. I thought that this has been a good kick-off to what appears to be a very exciting series. I like the plot centered on WWII with more than a touch of Science Fiction. I give this novel a 5 out of 5.

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

Book Review of “Paradigm Lost”

“Paradigm Lost” was published in 2014 (December) and was written by Ryke E. Spoor (http://grandcentralarena.com). Mr. Spoor has published 11 novels.

I obtained a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I would categorize this novel as ‘PG13’ as there is some Mature Language and Violence. This Fantasy Paranormal Mystery novel is written in the first person and is set primarily in New York, though not exactly on our Earth. The primary character is Jason Wood, a private investigator/information specialist.

Wood is involved in one after another of investigations that gradually draws him and his girlfriend Sylvia Stake, into the heretofore unknown world of the paranormal. They soon find that our world is home to vampires, werewolves and other paranormal creatures. Some of these are friendly, and others very deadly.

There is a bit of Mystery as Wood and his friends pursue various investigations. There is a significant portion of Fantasy and the Paranormal as we discover the strange tale of where the vampires and werewolves came from.

This is not the typical novel that I read. Even though I watched every episode of “True Blood”, stories with vampires, werewolves and other paranormal creatures are not my usual selection. This book is more of a tightly connected set of short stories than it is a novel, and from the preface, these were originally written between 1987 and 2001. The basis of the book is Spoor’s story “Digital Knight”.

I thought that the plot was interesting. I liked the origin story of the vampires and other paranormal beings. The characters though, seems a little thin, they do not have the richness I have found in other novels. Overall 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).