Category Archives: Suspense

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).

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Book Review: “Executive Force”

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Book Reviews – “Executive Force” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Gary Grossman (https://www.garygrossman.com). Mr. Grossman has published four novels. This is the fourth in his “Executive” 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 contemporary US. The primary characters are Secret Service Agent Scott Roarke and his fiancée Katie Kessler, a lawyer and assistant to the US Supreme Court Chief Justice.

A series of assassinations of political leaders is driving the US into chaos. A growing secessionist movement is being fueled by this and threatens the US. Roarke must find the assassin and stop him before there are more deaths. Kessler is looking into the secessionist movement for the Chief Justice and goes undercover within the leading organization. Both find themselves in danger and on trails of evidence that lead to the same conclusion.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 10.5 hours I spent reading this 448-page thriller. While this is the fourth book in this series, it reads well on its own. I liked the characters and the plot created by the author. The cover art is kind of bland. Something related to the story would have been better in my opinion. 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: “Time’s Children”

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Book Reviews – “Time’s Children” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by D. B. Jackson (http://www.dbjackson-author.com). Mr. Jackson has published six novels. This is the first of his “Islevale Cycle” 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 another world where magic is possible. The primary character is fifteen-year-old Tobias Doljan.

Doljan is a student of magic with a specialty as a Walker who can travel through time. He is sent to the court of Daerjen. The sovereign of Daerjen, Mearlan IV, asks him to Walk back in time fourteen years, far beyond what is normally allowed. Doljan agrees to take the risk and the burden of aging himself fourteen years in order to stop the war that has been going on.

Doljan survives the trip back in time, but Mearlan and his court are unexpectedly attacked and killed, disrupting the timeline. The only survivor is Doljan and Mearlan’s baby girl. Doljan, though only fifteen in the body of a thirty-year-old man, must find a way to save the princess and evade the invaders.

Doljan’s close friend and love from the magic school, Mara, senses the disruption in time when Mearlan is killed in the past. Though she has forgotten who Doljan is, she knows she must follow him into the past to correct the change in history.

Plots that span time. Magical creatures. Threats from foreign powers. This has the making of a great fantasy series.

I thoroughly enjoyed the nearly 13 hours I spent reading this 528-page fantasy. I liked the plot and the characters. I think the twist of aging those who travel through time adds to the story. 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).

Book Review: “St. Paul’s Labyrinth​”

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Book Reviews – “St. Paul’s Labyrinth” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Jeron Windmeijer (https://jeroenwindmeijer.nl/). Mr. Windmeijer has published three 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 some scenes of Violence. The story is set in contemporary Leiden, Netherlands. The primary character is university professor Peter de Haan.

Haan attends the installation of an underground waste container. He does so as an opportunity to do archaeological exploration. Few opportunities come to do excavation in the old city. Surprisingly, this excavation opens up an old and unknown tunnel. Haan and a colleague venture in. Inside the tunnel, they find a naked man covered in blood. Then Haan gets a mysterious text message ‘the hour has come‘.

When the colleague disappears in the tunnel, Haan becomes the target of a police investigation. Then when his close friend Judith Cherev disappears, he finds that he has been given only hours to solve a puzzle and save her. Along the way, he discovers hidden mysteries, a secret society, and a group that will do anything to keep their secrets hidden.

I enjoyed the 8.5 hours I spent reading this 329-page thriller. This has the feel of a Dan Brown thriller, but I did not find it nearly as good. There was quite a bit of detailed reference given to Leiden. That would probably make this book attractive to you if you lived there or knew the area well. Unfortunately, I found this novel a little slow and it felt disorganized to me. The cover art is OK, but I think something more closely tied to the story would have been better. 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).

Book Review: “The Last Saturday of October”

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Book Reviews – “The Last Saturday of October” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Douglas Gilbert. This is Mr. Gilbert’s first publication.

I received a copy of this novel from the author in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘G’. The story is dramatized non-fiction.

This is an inside look at how close the US and Russia came to nuclear war during the Cuban Missle Crisis. In 1962 the US had discovered Soviet nuclear missile sites in Cuba. The US set a fleet to stop shipping headed into Cuba that might be carrying nuclear weapons.

Captain Vasili Arkhipov is given the mission to take his submarine brigade to Cuba. They are carrying nuclear-tipped torpedoes. He had already survived a nuclear disaster at sea on another submarine and was suffering from what we now know as PTSD. His vessel and crew were being chased by a large antisubmarine force of the US. He was being pushed ever closer to having to use his nuclear weapons.

I enjoyed the 6 hours I spent reading this 238-page non-fiction book that reads like a thriller. I think that Gilbert did a good job of taking history and making it readable and exciting. I like the chosen cover art. I give this book 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: “Assassin’s Run”

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Book Reviews – “Assassin’s Run” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Ward Larsen (https://www.wardlarsen.com). Mr. Larsen has published ten novels. This is the fifth in his “David Slaton” 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 contemporary Europe and North Africa. The primary character is former Israeli assassin, David Slaton.

Slaton, his wife, and young son have disappeared, or at least they thought that they had. While sailing along the coast of Italy, they are surprised when Anna Sorensen, a pretty young CIA agent seeks them out. A Russian Oligarch has been assassinated by a sniper nearby. Slaton was a sniper for Israel and now word is that the Russians are looking for him as the shooter.

Sorensen convinces Slaton and his wife that their safest action is for Slaton to help identify who the assassin actually is. Reluctantly Slaton agrees and before long he is deep into the investigation. It soon becomes clear that the Russian Oligarch was somehow plotting with two others. Together they are behind some kind of smuggling operation connected to Saudi Arabia. There is more there than a simple smuggling operation though. Slaton and Sorensen must stay alive, discover the plan and try to stop it.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 9.5 hours I spent reading this 358-page thriller. I liked the characters in this novel. Slaton is a strong lead that is easy to like. The plot is good and not obvious. The novel reads well as a stand-alone read even though it is the fourth in the series. The cover art is OK, though I think it could have been better. 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: “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).