Category Archives: Suspense

Review of “Warning Light”

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Book Reviews – “Warning Light” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by David Ricciardi (https://www.facebook.com/RicciardiBooks/). This is Mr. Ricciardi’s 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. The story takes place in Iran and the surrounding area of the Middle East. The primary character is CIA analyst Zac Miller.

Miller has done nothing but ride a desk since joining the CIA. When an earthquake opens up a chance to take a look at a super secret Iranian facility that is thought to have nuclear weapons, Miller talks his way into the mission.

Miller rides a British Airways passenger jet that declares an emergency and lands in Iran. From there the mission goes downhill. Miller is arrested and tortured. The Iranians plant evidence that he has murdered women. Knowing that the CIA does not even know where he is, Miller plans a desperate escape. He must make his way all alone without any assistance or preplanning back to England. Making this all the more difficult is that he has had virtually no training in the field and knows nothing of the local languages.

I really enjoyed the 6.5 hours I spent reading this 336 page thriller. I liked that this story was really more about survival than just another spy novel. I don’t think much of the cover art. 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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Review of “The Compass Island Incident”

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Book Reviews – “The Compass Island Incident” ebook was published in 2017 and was written by Wade Fowler. Mr. Fowler has published four 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 spans the years from the 1950’s to today.

A shipyard worker goes missing in 1953. In the 60’s a young girl begins having dreams where she is a man. Also in 1963, President John Kennedy visits the USS Compass Island, ostensibly to witness a missile test, but in reality to push the button on an attempt on Castro’s life. Mobsters are scheming to get rid of JFK, then he is assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald.

How are all of these facts tied together? Can decades-old murders be solved? After John Franklin Kincaid who was aboard the Compass Island the day of JFK’s visit is murdered, his son begins looking into his father’s death. It is not long before Kincaid finds himself in someone’s sites.

I thought that this was an interesting 7-hour read for this 317 page mystery. There is a lot going on in this novel: A true mystery; Reliving events from earlier lives; Mob conspiracy; and A CIA hit man. Almost too much for one novel. With all of these threads, the plot seems to wander all over the place. I also have to say that the plot was a little on the slow side. The selected cover art is OK. 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).

Review of “Need to Know”

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Book Reviews – “Need to Know” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Karen Cleveland (http://karen-cleveland.com). This is Ms. Cleveland’s first novel.

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 scenes of Violence. The story is sent in the contemporary Washington D.C. area of the US. The primary character is CIA Analyst Vivian Miller.

Miller is part of a group within the CIA in pursuit of Russian sleeper agents. As she investigates a sleeper candidate she discovers her husbands photo. Soon she learns that her husband is a Russian sleeper agent. She is torn over what to do. She should turn him in, but that would mean the end of her CIA career and more importantly the end of her marriage. How would she manage to raise her four young children?

Then comes her attempts to cover it up. To save her family. That leads to involvement with the Russian spy masters. How can she save her family? How cans she protect herself and her children?

I was not impressed with the 5.5 hours I spent reading this 306 page thriller. In my opinion it was dull and spent far too much time dealing with Miller’s emotions. The story was a little slow, particularly in the first half of the novel. Nor did I like the character of Miller. She was weak and far from a heroic leading character. The cover art is OK, but does not make me want to pick up the novel and read it. 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).

Review of “The Spy Who Never Was”

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Book Reviews – “The Spy Who Never Was” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Tom Savage (http://tomsavagebooks.com). Mr. Savage has published ten novels, two under the pseudonym of T. J. Phillips.. This is the third novel in his “Nora Baron” series of spy 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 ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in contemporary Europe with the primary character being Nora Baron.

Baron is an accomplished actress currently teaching drama and acting at a New Your university. Her husband is a CIA agent, while now desk bound, he spent years as a field agent. Baron is recruited by a CIA executive to take part in a supposedly safe and easy operation in Europe.

She gets to Europe and finds that the story she has been told is far from the truth. Nor is the mission necessarily a safe and easy one.

I enjoyed the 5+ hours I spent reading this thriller. This isn’t a “edge-of-your-seat” thriller. There is some action, but most of the story is about Baron following a trail to find a spy in hiding. I do like the character of Nora Baron. While this is the third novel in the series, it does read well as a stand-alone novel. 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 Whispering Room”

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Book Reviews – “The Whispering room” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Dean Koontz (http://www.deankoontz.com). Mr. Koontz has published well over 100 novels. This is the second of 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 the contemporary US, perhaps a little in the future. The primary character is former FBI agent Jane Hawk.

Hawk continues her pursuit of those who are infecting people with nano-bots, then controlling them. Young women are being made in to subservient sex dolls. Key political and business people are just being controlled, guided in their actions. Others, deemed a threat to the overall plan are ordered to commit suicide or go on a killing mission.

Hawk’s husband was one of those who was deemed a threat and then ordered to commit suicide. Now, even with threats to her son’s life, she has committed herself to exposing and stopping the threat of this new world order. In this story she finds a few new allies in the fight, but now she is the most wanted fugitive in the US and her path is hazardous.

I really enjoyed the 12+ hours I spent reading this 530 page suspenseful science fiction thriller. I have ben a big fan of Koontz and have read many of his novels, including the first in this series “The Silent Corner“. I have always liked the way Koontz creates his characters and plots. The cover art is OK, though something more in line with the plot 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).

Review of “Rogue commander”

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Book Reviews – “Rogue Commander” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Leo J. Maloney (http://leojmaloney.com). Mr. Maloney has published seven novels. This is the sixth novel in his “Dan Morgan” 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 character is CIA veteran Dan Morgan. The action in the story takes place in both the US and China.

General James Collins has been accused of helping to steal a group of Tomahawk missiles. He reaches out to long time friend Morgan to ask him to help clear his name. Morgan goes against orders and pursues leads to exonerate Collins on his own. The trail leads Morgan to many dangerous situations and evidence of North Korean involvement.

Meanwhile Morgan’s team mates, including his daughter, are trying to find Morgan and bring him in for questioning. Pursuit of a wanted arms dealer leads them to a connection with North Korea as well.

Morgan fights to find out the truth behind the Tomahawk missile theft. His team and daughter chase down dangerous paths to find the arms dealer. They both soon find that their investigations are connected and that they are investigating a plot that could ignite World War III.

I enjoyed the 7.5 hours I spent with this 254 page thriller. Some of the plot seemed a little over the top, but on the whole I enjoyed it. I think perhaps the character of Morgan was a little too independent for a mature special operations group. The cover art is OK, though something more related to the plot would have been better. 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 White Ghost”

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Book Reviews – “The White ghost” eBook was published in 2015 and was written by James R. Benn (http://www.jamesrbenn.com). Mr. Benn has published twelve novels in his “Billy Boyle Mysteries” series. This is the tenth novel in that series.

I purchased this novel through the Barnes & Noble on-line store and read it on the Nook App on my iPad. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set during the late summer of 1943. The primary characters are Lieutenants Billy Boyle and Piotr ‘Kaz’ Kazimierz.

Just starting on a well deserved leave (this occurs between books three and four of the series), Boyle and Kazimierz receive orders to meet someone in Casablanca. The meeting turns out to be with Joe Kennedy Jr. The Boyle family had a history with the Kennedy’s back in Boston. Now young Jack Kennedy had gotten his PT boat sunk from under him and, while convalescing, had gotten implicated in a murder. Knowing Boyle’s position on Eisenhower’s staff, Ambassador Kennedy pulls strings getting Boyle and Kazimierz temporarily assigned to the murder investigation.

The two fly nearly half way around the world to the Solomon Islands from Morocco. Boyle and Kazimierz begin to dig into the evidence surrounding the murder. Before long they have other bodies on their hands that seem tied to the same killer. The Solomons are near the front lines in the Pacific, so Boyle and Kazimierz must evade dangerous encounters with the Japanese as their investigation progresses.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 10 hours I spent reading this 353 page World War II Mystery. I have read the first ten books in this series and have enjoyed each and every one. I like the plot, mixing mystery with the drama of World War II. I like the way too that Benn mixes well known characters from the period into his novels. I think that the cover art is well chosen. 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 “In the Crosshairs”

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Book Reviews – “In the Crosshairs” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Sgt. Jack Coughlin (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Coughlin_(author)). Mr. Coughlin has published 10 novels, with this being the 10th in his “Kyle Swanson Sniper” 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 times. The primary character is former Marine sniper Kyle Swanson, who is now out of the service, but who occasionally does work for the CIA.

A Mexican police officer who was a good friend of Swanson’s is killed in the line of duty. The drug cartel responsible sets off a bomb at the funeral. This sets Swanson on the trail of the man he thinks is responsible. Concurrent to this, a new Congresswoman is stirring up public concern over the CIA and its involvement in the drug trade.

Swanson heads to the middle east in pursuit of the bomber on behalf of the CIA. He has been paired with another sniper who has been employed on special missions for the CIA. The two close in on their quarry, but things take an unexpected turn. A far larger plot is underway than Swanson and the CIA leadership had imagined.

I enjoyed the 7.5 hours I spent reading this suspenseful 301 page thriller. The characters were well developed and the plot was good, though far from unique. The cover art is OK, though I would have preferred something more closely related to the story. 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 “Red Swan”

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Book Reviews – “Red Swan” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by P. T. Deutermann (https://www.ptdeutermann.com). Mr. Deutermann has published 20 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 Situations. The story takes place in the contemporary US. The primary character is Dr. Preston Allender.

Psychiatrist Allender was an officer at the CIA, dealing with training and senior officer evaluations. He masterminds a masterful plan to discredit a ranking Chinese intelligence official that is very successful. But the administration needs a scape goat for the firestorm that results and Allender is forced to ‘retire’.

Almost a year later he is approached to come back on a consulting basis to act as the liaison between the CIA and FBI for an FBI task force investigating the death of a top ranking CIA officer. The more that Allender discovers, the less he feels he has been told the whole truth. He finds himself the focus of both Chinese and American agents, and everything he has been told comes into question.

I really enjoyed the 7.5 hours I spent reading this 282 page modern suspense thriller. I liked this story. It was not a high-action plot with lots of firefights or hand-to-hand combat. It was more of a suspenseful mystery. The cover art is eye catching, but not directly related to the story. This is the second novel written by Mr. Deutermann that I have read and I have enjoyed them both. 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).