Category Archives: Suspense

Book Review: “Enola Holmes”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author Nancy Springer https://www.nancyspringer.com published the book “Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche” in 2021. This is the seventh book in her Enola Holmes series. This book was released today, August 31, 2021. She has published more than 50 works.

I received an ARC of this book through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this book as ‘G’. The primary character in the book is teen Enola Holmes. The much younger sister of the famous Sherlock and Mycroft.

As young as she is, Enola is a very independent woman and every bit as smart as her older brothers. She has also inherited her brothers’ intelligence and powers of deduction. A young woman, Letitia Glover, shows up asking for Holme’s help. Glover received a letter from her brother-in-law that her twin sister had died. She has been unable to learn anything from the widowed Earl of Dunhench. Glover wants to know what happened.

While Holmes does not seem overly interested, Enola jumps into the investigation. She is soon undercover in the Earl’s household. She discovers that the Earl’s first wife also died under unusual circumstances. Enola is sure that there is something amiss.

I enjoyed the 3.5+ hours I spent reading this 259-page period mystery. The book is short. The book is more of a novella than a novel. The book does read much like the original Sherlock Holmes stories. But this mystery is not too difficult. Ms. Springer mostly targets young adults so that can be somewhat expected. If you have access to Netflix you will find their production of an Enola Holmes mystery movie. I do like the chosen cover art. 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: “Hellhound, Take Me Home”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author Stu Lane published the novel “Hellhound, Take Me Home” in 2019. This is his first publication. 

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. Much of the story is set in Australia, but some of it takes place elsewhere in Asia. The story spans from 1942 to the end of the war. There are three primary characters. Ken Hazel of the Australian Army, his wife Ann, and Japanese soldier Hito Egami.

Early in 1942, Hazel travels with the Australian Army to Singapore. They are there to help defend the island. Shortly after he arrives the Japanese take the island and he becomes a POW. He is held there for months before being shipped to Japan to work as a slave laborer.

The Australian Army captured Egami and he was held in a POW camp in Australia. He escapes from the camp and wanders the desolate bush. Ann Hazel and her son come upon Egami and they hide him in their home for a while. She begins to fear their efforts are starting to unravel. At about the same time she comes up with a crazy and dangerous scheme to both get Egami home and her husband back.  

Egami had received letters from home while a POW. Ann had received letters from her husband. From those Ann learns that Egami’s brother is a guard at the camp where her husband is being held. A nurse shortage in Guam is the final catalyst for her plan. She volunteers and heads for Guam with Egami in tow disguised as a burn patient. The first leg of the trip is dangerous enough. They must make their way by ship to Guam. Once there she has to find a way for Egami to stow away on a plane headed to Japan. The journey is filled with one peril after another. She is not sure if they will survive the trip let alone be able to maintain the charade.

If this all isn’t enough, after so many months living close to Ann, Egami has begun to develop feelings for her. While she still loves her husband, she has become fond of Egami as well. With the outrageous course they are pursuing, she may lose both of them.

I thought that the 6+ hours I spent reading this 306-page thriller were interesting. While the plot was a bit outlandish, that is not that unusual for a thriller. Some details included in the story though are simply wrong. For instance, in Chapter 25 the POWs in Japan make a ‘tiny transistor radio’ to listen to war news. While POWs were sometimes able to make a radio, it couldn’t have been a transistor radio. The first working transistor was not made until 1947. I find the cover art a little odd. The plane looks vaguely like a B-29, which does factor into the plot. I have no idea though what the image waving his arms means. 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).


If you have an interest in the WWII era of history, you may find these three pages of interest. 

  • The “World War II Resources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 540 links to museums, memorials, websites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, and other sources with information on the World War II era in history.
  • The “World War II Timeline” page expands almost daily and shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.
  • The About WWII page is a collection of links to posts that I have made over the years that are relevant to WWII.

Book Review: “The Export’s Revenge”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author J. K. Kelly (https://jkkelly.com) published the novel The Export’s Revenge in 2021. Mr. Kelly has published six novels. This is the second novel in his ‘The Export’ series. I had the chance to interview the author in September of 2019. You can read that interview here

I received a copy of this novel from the author in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of violence. The story takes place at various locations around the world. The primary character is FBI agent Matt Christopher. 

This novel picks up shortly after the first novel in the series, The Export, concludes. Christopher has taken a job protecting a wealthy yacht owner. Christopher barely survives an attack on the vessel. Soon after, he learns that his sister has been brutally attacked and may not survive. He flies immediately to Rome to check on her. He believes that the attack resulted from some of his prior actions. 

Forced to leave the FBI Christopher forms his own company. One of his first hires is Francesca. She is a former Italian policewoman and Special Forces operative. Christopher’s relationship with his ex-wife Claire seems to be growing closer. He has been warned though that he shouldn’t trust her. He is not sure what to believe. The US President offers Christopher a position within his administration. He tells Christopher that he wants him to seek out those who are abusing their positions. This was what Christopher had been trying to do when forced to leave the US years before. He is tempted, but he is wary of the offer. 

Things are happening that seem to have a link to Brit Thomas Sinclair. Christopher had helped an MI5 friend bring down the powerful Sinclair (see book #1). What has happened to Christopher and his family seems tied to the Sinclair family.

I enjoyed the 6 hours I spent reading this 362-page thriller. While this novel can be read stand-alone, it would be best to read The Export first. This is a much better-written novel than the first in the series. It is very exciting and packed with action. The cover art is a little dull, but it 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).

Book Review: “The Export”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author J. K. Kelly (https://jkkelly.com/) published the novel “The Export” in 2021. This is the first novel in his “The Export” series. He has published six novels. I had the chance to interview the author in September of 2019. You can read that interview here

I received a copy of this novel from the author in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains mature situations, mature language, and violence. The story spans the world. The primary character is FBI agent Matt Christopher. 

Christopher is a good agent. One who seeks the truth. That cost him earlier in his career when he doggedly pursued the wrong people. People with deep government connections. As a result, he is now limited to operations outside the US. He has become an export. Christopher has assisted various US government agencies as well as those of allies. In short, he has become a ‘fixer’. 

The story bounces around the world. Christopher gets involved in one deadly situation after another in his travels. He enters these challenges well prepared. He has training as an FBI agent. He had almost completed SEAL training before he was forced to transfer to the Army Rangers. He is ready for almost anything. At least that is what he thinks until his aunt, the US Director of National Intelligence, dies. 

I enjoyed the 5.5+ hours I spent reading this 383-page thriller. The book reminds me of the original James Bond novels by Ian Fleming – thrillers with lots of action.. The book is more of a collection of related short stories than a novel. The Christopher character moves from one thrilling and lethal situation to another. He is no stranger to violence and deals out at least as good as he receives. When pressed he is not above doling out justice himself. I like the chosen cover art. 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: The Bounty

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Authors Janet Evanovich (https://evanovich.com) and Steve Hamilton (http://authorstevehamilton.com/) published the novel The Bounty: A Novel. It was just released last week on March 23, 2021. Ms. Evanovich has published more than 30 novels. This is the 7th in her ‘Fox and O’Hare’ series. Mr. Hamilton has published 16 novels on his own. 

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 across Europe and North Africa. The main characters are FBI agent Kate O’Hare and criminal Nick Fox. 

Earlier O’Hare had tracked down the charming international criminal Fox and arrested him. After negotiating a deal he now works with the FBI to close other cases. O’Hare has reluctantly become his handler. While their relationship began as adversaries, a bit of romance has emerged. 

The two find themselves pitted against The Brotherhood. They are a clandestine group with ties back to the Vatican Bank priests who helped the Nazis during WWII. They are now searching for a lost train carrying $30 billion in gold. O’Hare and Fox find themselves in a race to follow the clues and find the treasure before The Brotherhood. With Interpol penetrated by the Brotherhood, they find themselves on their own. They reach out to their only reliable potential allies, their fathers.

Clues lead them from one tight spot to another. The Brotherhood always seems to be just half a step behind them. Every encounter exposes them to more danger. 

I enjoyed the 6+ hours I spent reading this 316-page mystery novel. The pursuit of clues reminds me a little of Robert Langdon’s The DaVinci Code. While not the most exciting mystery, it was enjoyable. I do like the chosen 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).

Book Review: “Black Camel”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author Ed Mitchell (https://booksbyedmitchell.com) published the novel “Black Camel” in 2020. This is Mr. Mitchell’s fifth novel and the fifth book in his “The Gold Lust” series. Read my interview with Mr. Mitchell.


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 contemporary US. The novel has several major characters.


Al-Qaeda hires the “Black Camel”, the assassin-for-hire whose real name is Dominique. She and her partner Wolfgang “Wolf” direct a reign of terror across the US. Sleeper cell agents deploy a string of bombs across the country killing hundreds.


FBI agent Cholo Cantera again partners with Israeli Mossad agent Oasis Jazir. They are part of the US task force looking for the terrorists. US Senator Nolan Martin is a particular target. Cantera, Jazir, and Martin all find themselves in precarious situations. Their families are also a target for the terrorists.


The culmination of the terrorist attack is a target in Washington D.C. As the final attack nears completion all that stands in the way of success are Cantera and Jazir.


I thoroughly enjoyed the 8.5 hours I spent reading this 308-page thriller. I enjoyed having a variety of primary characters in this story. The plot was good and believable. While this book is the fifth in a series, it is very readable as a stand-alone novel. I like the selected 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: “Germania: A Novel of Nazi Berlin”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author Harald Gilbers published the novel “Germania: A Novel of Nazi Berlin” in 2020. This is his first English publication and the first of his Richard Oppenheimer series. Read my interview with author Harald Gilbers.


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 1944 Berlin. The primary characters are Jewish former Police Inspector Richard Oppenheimer and SS Hauptsturmfüher (Captain) Vogler.


Oppenheimer had been living a secluded life since his dismissal from the police. He had been able to avoid the plight of most Jews because his wife is a gentile. The Sicherheitsdienst (German SS intelligence) wake him and his wife Lisa one morning.


They take Oppenheimer to the site of a brutal murder. A young woman has been killed. SS Hauptsturmfüher Vogler is leading the investigation. Vogler recruits Oppenheimer to assist as a consultant. Oppenheimer has little choice but to cooperate.


The investigation proceeds over a period of weeks from May 7 until June 25. The murder is the work of a serial killer. The killing won’t stop until they find the perpetrator. Vogler receives criticism for involving a Jew. Oppenheimer fears more than once for his very life.


There is more than just a murder investigation going on. The Nazi leadership wants a quick solution. They also want to make sure that there are no ties back to the party.


I enjoyed the 16+ hours I spent reading this 348-page WWII era mystery. The situation of a Jew working with the SS in wartime Berlin provides a very different setting. The mystery itself is a little slow and dull, but the image of wartime Berlin is interesting. There are a few abrupt transitions between characters. This makes it a little difficult to read. The selected cover art is not great, but it does fit the image of a Police Inspector. I give this novel a 3.9 (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).


If you are interested in the WWII era of history, you may find these three pages of interest. 

  • The “World War II Resources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 510 links to museums, memorials, websites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, and other sources with information on the World War II-era in history.
  • The “World War II Timeline” page expands almost daily and shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.
  • The About WWII page is a collection of links to posts that I have made over the years that are relevant to WWII.

Book Review: “Don’t Look for Me”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author Wendy Walker (https://www.wendywalkerbooks.com) published the novel “Don’t Look for Me” in 2020. Ms. Walker 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, mature language, and mature situations. The story is set in rural Connecticut. The primary characters are Molly Clarke and her twenty-one-year-old daughter Nichole.


Molly has been to see her son play football and is on her way home. She runs out of gas in the midst of a huge storm. The next day the police find her car abandoned on the side of the road outside the small town of Hastings. There is no sign of Molly. The police discover her credit card was used at a nearby hotel. They begin to think that Molly simply walked away from her life.


This fits with the Clarke family circumstances. Five years earlier to the day Molly had killed her youngest daughter in a traffic accident. Her family had begun to fall apart after that. Walking away from it all seemed to be a reasonable conclusion.


Nichole had fought with her mother just before she disappeared. Now she is desperate to find her. When a new lead comes up Nichole travels back to Hastings. She had been there while the police had been searching. It has been two weeks since her mother disappeared. She doesn’t want to go home without her.


Nichole finds that the residents of Hastings have many secrets. Nichole can’t tell who to trust. Someone she has met in Hastings knows what happened to her mother.


I thoroughly enjoyed the 6+ hours I spent reading this 345-page mystery. The story is a little unusual. The part told from Molly Clarke’s perspective is in the first person. Ms. Walker has done a superb job of creating a compelling plot. Twists and a surprising ending all contribute to making this a very enjoyable read. The selected cover art is simple but feels like a good choice. 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: “If I Disappear”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author Eliza Jane Brazier published the novel “If I Disappear” in 2021. This is Ms. Brazier’s first publication. I have had the opportunity to interview Ms. Brazier and you can read that interview here.


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 a remote part of Northern California. The primary character is Sera Fleece. A divorced woman in her 30s who has become obsessed with a true-crime podcast.

Another young woman, Rachel Bard, produces the podcast. When the podcasts suddenly stop, Fleece feels driven to find out what happened to her. Fleece drives to the small town near where Bard lived. She finds her way to the Fountain Creek Guest Ranch. Bard’s parents own and run the ranch.


Fleece got undercover. She is nervous and has been fighting mental disorders for several months. She gets hired at the ranch as a summer worker and begins to investigate. The clues are few and the suspects plentiful. So many are keeping secrets.


I enjoyed the 7+ hours I spent reading this 304-page mystery. I have to say that I found this novel a bit odd. Part of that is from the first-person narrative. The flow of the plot also felt a little disjointed. Fleece turns out to not be much of a ‘detective’. I do not like the chosen cover art. 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 Linden Tree”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author S.D.M. Carpenter published the novel “The Linden Tree” in 2020.


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 an alternative history of WWII. In this ‘universe’ the Japanese never attack Perl Harbor and the Nazis develop nuclear weapons first.


There are two primary characters in this novel. Luftwaffe General Peter von Zimmermann and British SOE agent Emelia Ramsour-Fritsch. Zimmermann is a decorated veteran from WWI. Now he is one of the top bomber pilots in the Luftwaffe. He is chosen to drop the first nuclear weapon on the UK.


Germany immediately threatens both the UK and the US with further nuclear attacks. The British publicly submit. Secretly they mount a search for the German weapons program. Ramsour-Fritsch travels to Switzerland taking on the role of a socialite. She makes her way to Berlin where she meets Zimmermann.


At first, she is just playing her role, but before long true romance develops. As the German ME-264 heavy bomber becomes operational, all of the UK and the East Coast of the US come within range. Can the Nazis be stopped before they dominate the world?


I thoroughly enjoyed the 12+ hours I spent reading this 355-page WWII Alternative History novel. The author was able to integrate many facts from WWII into the novel. The characters were believable and the plot interesting. The cover art is simple but I like it. 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).

If you are interested in the WWII era of history, you may find these three pages of interest. 

  • The “World War II Sources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 500 links to museums, memorials, websites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, and other sources with information on the World War II-era in history.
  • The “World War II Timeline” page expands almost daily and shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.
  • The About WWII page is a collection of links to posts that I have made over the years that are relevant to WWII.