Category Archives: Suspense

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).

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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).

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).

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).