Category Archives: Suspense

Book Review: “Run and Hide”

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Book Reviews – “Run and Hide” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Alan McDermott (http://www.alanmcdermottbooks.co.uk). Mr. McDermott has published nine novels. This is the first in his “Eva Driscoll” 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 the contemporary US. The primary characters are CIA agent Eva Driscoll and former Spec Ops operative Rees Colback.

Driscoll’s brother had been part of the same team Colback had served with. Now only Colback is still alive and someone wants him dead. Only through Driscoll’s assistance has he avoided those that are pursuing him. Now they are both on the run. But who is it behind the orders to kill them? Slowly they discover that a powerful, wealthy cadre is after them. They can either run for the rest of their lives, or they can fight back.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 6.5 hours I spent reading this 300-page thriller. I liked the characters created for the novel as well as the plot. There is quite a bit of action in the story and it is left with a cliff-hanger ending that guarantees a sequel. I certainly will be looking for one. I have read a couple of other novels by McDermott and I have found all of them consistently good. I am not a fan of 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).

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Review of “The Forbidden Door”

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Book Reviews – “The Forbidden Door” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Dean Koontz (http://www.deankoontz.com). Mr. Koontz had published more than 125 novels. This is the fourth novel in his “Jane Hawk” 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 near future California. The primary character is former FBI agent Jane Hawk.

Hawk’s life was upended when her husband committed suicide. Her investigation led her to a secret group using nanotechnology to slowly gain control of key people across the US. Now, she, her son and those close to her have become their targets. Hawk continues to evade capture even after the secret society has made her the most wanted person in America. Their mind control tech means that they have an army to wield against Hawk.

While she has evaded them for months, now they are closing in. The group knows the general location where Hawk’s young son is in hiding. Hawk is racing towards her son to save him. They know she is coming and plan to have her, her son, or both within days. Hawk has to gather her resources and try to outwit them and be read to out gun them.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 11 hours I spent reading this 480-page science fiction thriller. While this could be a readable stand-alone novel, you really need to start with the first book in the series “The Silent Corner” to understand what is happening. I like the Jane Hawk character that Koontz has created. I also like the plot, with advanced tech to give the secret society an edge, but enough human involvement in her pursuit to make them vulnerable. I like the cover art. 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 “Duty and Betrayal”

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Book Reviews – “Duty and Betrayal” eBook was published in 2016 and was written by Toby Oliver. Mr. Oliver has published five 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 begins at the end of World War II and continues through the height of the cold war.

It is well known that one of NASA’s top scientists, Bernard Zimmerman, was a leader in the Nazi rocket program. What is not known is that he is still active with modern Nazi sympathizers. Both the CIA and MI5 want to capture another former Nazi who is traveling in Europe before he can escape to South America. They have evidence that Zimmerman is involved in the escape attempt. Complicating this is the fact that the Russians are after him too.

A beautiful woman, Joyce Leader, who was a German spy during World War II, but who also secretly was a double agent acting for the British, is used to get close to the Nazi sympathizers. Will the intelligence agents be able to stop the Nazi from escaping? Will they and Leader come out of the operation unharmed?

I thoroughly enjoyed the 5.5 hours I spent reading this 210 page espionage thriller. This has the feel of a novel written in the 50s or 60s, though it is much more recent. It is a little slow but still was a good read. 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).

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).

Review of “Irontown Blues”

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Book Reviews – “Irontown Blues” eBook was published in 2018 (August) and was written by John Varley (https://varley.net). Mr. Varley has published 14 novels. This novel is set in his “Eight Worlds” 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 ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence and Mature Language. The story is set in the future on the Moon colony. The primary character is Christopher Bach a sometimes cop and part-time private detective. His genetically enhanced bloodhound Sherlock is also a significant part of the story.

Bach lives as though he is part of the 1930s-40s era mystery genre books and movies he loves. He is engaged by a woman to investigate a crime but finds himself involved in a hunt of biohackers in the dangerous Irontown district of the Moon colony.

I thought that this was an odd 6 hour read of 304 pages. It is both science fiction and a mystery, though mostly mystery. I finished the novel, though I am not sure if I liked it very much. The cover art seems appropriate. 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 “Black Chamber”

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Book Reviews – “Black Chamber” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by S. M. Stirling (https://smstirling.com). Mr. Stirling has published more than 50 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 some Mature Situations. The story is set during the World War I years, though in an alternate timeline. In this world, President Taft dies in office and Teddy Roosevelt becomes president again instead of Wilson. The result is a much more conservative US. A US that is primed to enter World War I against Germany.

The primary character of the story is Luz O’Malley Aróstegui, a young woman who is a spy for the Black Chamber, an American intelligence organization. She is sent on a secret mission to Europe posing as a Mexican revolutionary who is seeking Germany’s assistance. She discovers that the Germans plan a secret attack against American cities to delay them from entering the war.

Aróstegui must use both her feminine wiles as well as her considerable skill to fool the Germans, obtain the information she has been sent for, and report her findings.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 13.5 hours I spent reading this 400 page alternate history thriller. The altered timeline is interesting and gives a foundation for some creative stories. I have read many of Mr. Stirling’s novels and have found them all very entertaining. The chosen 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).

Review of “Now She’s Gone”

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Book Reviews – “Now She’s Gone” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Alison James. Ms. James has published two novels, both in her “Detective Rachel Prince” series. This is the second book 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, Mature Language, and Mature Situations. The story is set in contemporary England and Scotland. The primary character is Detective Inspector Rachel Prince.

A 16-year-old girl is found dead at the bottom of a cliff in Scotland. Her death is ruled an accident, but her wealthy parents think there is more to her death that the local police are finding. DI Prince is asked to look into the matter more for diplomatic reasons than because there are any real questions about the girl’s death.

Her initial investigation uncovers at least one other similar death and before long Prince is on the trail of organized crime dealing in child pornography and perhaps a serial killer. Prince’s personal life – her current boyfriend and a potential new romantic interest within the police force – distracts her from her investigation.

I thoroughly enjoyed the nearly 8 hours I spent reading this 300 page mystery. I liked the characters created for this novel and the plot. I will be looking for the next installment in this is a series. The cover art is OK.  I would 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 “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).

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).