Category Archives: Thriller

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: “Crash”

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Book Reviews – “Crash” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by N. S. Shajay (https://www.nsshajay.com). Shajay (a pen name) has published three novels. This is the first book of the “Status Unknown Trilogy”.

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 far future. The primary character is Captain Patrick Knox.

A long war is over and humanity is beginning to spread out into the universe again. Knox is taking a ship full of colonists to a new world. He was acclaimed as a Hero during the war, now he just wants to take his passengers to their new home and settle down there himself. They have to make one small detour along the way to deliver a load of convicts to a prison world, but that is supposed to be quick and easy.

A bomb set by a terrorist from a group against further human expansion takes the spaceship off course. It crashes on an uncharted, but a human compatible world. Now Knox must take charge and lead those who lived through the crash in survival. They find that not only are there significant threats indigenous to their new home but the convicts, many of which are convicted murderers, offer there own threat.

Complicating matters is the fact that the only Doctor to have survived the crash is a convicted serial killer. She is brilliant and beautiful, but no one knows how far she can be trusted.

I thoroughly enjoyed the nearly 8 hours I spent reading this 272-page science fiction thriller. I like the plot and the mix of characters in this story. It is a mixture of survival and action. The cover art is OK, but I think there are other images that would have been better. I look forward to reading more stories in this universe. 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: “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 “Past Tense”

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Book Reviews – “Past Tense” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Lee Child (https://www.leechild.com). Mr. Child has published 23 novels, all in his ‘Jack Reacher’ series. This is the latest novel in this 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 rural New Hampshire. As expected, the primary character is former Military Policeman Jack Reacher.

Reacher has just started a cross-country trip from Maine towards San Diego. He takes what he thinks will be a short side trip to investigate his heritage in Laconia, New Hampshire. The investigation into his past takes longer than he expects and before long he has run into trouble from a couple of local sources. He is somewhat surprised that his past is not what he had expected it to be.

While Reacher is trying to find his roots, not far away a young Canadian couple find themselves being held prisoner. Before long they discover that their very future is at risk in an unexpected way. As the novel draws towards a close, Reacher becomes intertwined with the fate of the young couple.

I enjoyed the 9+ hours I spent reading this 400-page thriller. I have read a couple other ‘Jack Reacher’ novels and like the character. The plot in this novel is a bit lower key than the others I have read but still provides an entertaining read. I do not like the cover art chosen for this novel. I give this novel a 4.4  out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Review of “Without Fear”

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Book Reviews – “Without Fear” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Colonel David Hunt and R. J. Pineiro (http://www.rjpineiro.com). Mr. Hunt has published five books and Mr. Pineiro nearly 20 novels. This is the second of their joint “Hunter Stark” 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 Langauge. The story is set in the Middle East of 2005. As the Russians were pulling out of Afganistan, a fighter transporting a nuclear weapon is shot down and the bomb lost.

Decades later in 2005, the bomb is rediscovered by the Taliban. Wanting the bomb activated to use against the west, they reach out to al Qaeda for help. The US, Israeli, Russian and Pakistani intelligence agencies all pick up on the discovery. All of the nations send in operatives to find the bomb.

For the US, the tip of the spear in the bomb chase is Hunter Stark and his team of CIA contractors. They run into one dangerous encounter after another as they close in on the bomb. Compounding their difficulties is the NATO command structure that often causes confusion.

There are also five significant women characters in the novel.  US Air Force Captain Laura Vaccaro, an A-10 pilot, plays an important role in providing critical air support. Senior GRU officer Kira Tupolev leads the Russian Spetsnaz team pursuing the bomb. She is driven not only by the desire to reclaim what is Russia’s but also by the fact that her father was the pilot of the ill-fated fighter that was shot down while carrying the bomb in the first place.

Then there is FBI agent Monica Cruz who is filling in with the CIA as a field officer. She finds herself drawn into the pursuit of the bomb and into action with the Taliban. Pakistani ISI officer Maryam Gadai is also in pursuit of the bomb. Lastly, there is Zahra Hassani, the personal aid and assassin for Saudi Prince Mani al Saud. The Prince is being well paid to help the Taliban get the bomb working. Hassani will do anything to please the Prince.

Stark and his team must overcome one life-threatening situation after another. They have offers of assistance from many quarters, but can these allies be trusted? Will they be able to work with the NATO command team?

I thoroughly enjoyed the 13 hours I spent reading this 528-page thriller. I enjoyed the plot and the characters developed for the story. I liked that the story did not just focus on Stark and his team, but brought in many other characters. I think that the cover art is well chosen. 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 “The Razor”

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Book Reviews – “The Razor” eBook was published in 2018 (November) and was written by J. Barton Mitchell (http://jbartonmitchell.com). Mr. Mitchell 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 and Mature Language. The story is set in the far future. Humanity has spread throughout the stars and one planet, Razor, has been designated as a prison planet for the galaxy’s most dangerous criminals. The main character is Marcus Flynn, a brilliant engineer.

Flynn has been sentenced to Razor, though he contends that he has been set up. Being sentenced to Razor is usually a one-way trip, and conditions there are severe and the work dangerous. .nexpectedly ‘Lost Prophet’ – a catastrophic failure – is declared and before long most guards and civilians have been evacuated from the planet surface. The prisoners though are expendable and are left behind.

Chaos and anarchy reign as the prisoners free themselves and struggle to gain power and settle old grudges. They may have only days left before the barely habitable zone on Razor ceases to exist. Flynn may have an answer, but he must ally himself with murderers, assassins, pirates, and smugglers in order to survive and find a solution.

Will Flynn and his allies survive long enough to save the planet, and more importantly themselves? What will the hidden secrets of Razor they uncover mean for their future? Will there be any kind of future with the young woman Flynn has met, or will she turn on him and slit his throat? Even if Flynn is able to save the planet, will there be any future for those sentenced to Razor?

I enjoyed the 10.5+ hours I spent reading this 400-page science fiction thriller. While this is science fiction, because of the dark setting for much of the story and the savages that Flynn and his allies must face, this almost has a horror feel to it. It also reminded me of some of the first person shooter computer games I have watched my son play where you must make your way through some deserted facility filled with crazies that want to kill you. I do like the characters and would enjoy reading a sequel to this 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 “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 “Vox”

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Book Reviews – “Vox” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Christina Dalcher (https://christinadalcher.com). This is Ms. Dalcher’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 ‘PG’ because it contains Violence, Mature Language, and Mature Situations. The story is set in the near future US, though a much different US. Women have been forced from the workplace and technology limits them to just 100 words per day.

The primary character is Dr. Jean McClellan. She was a brilliant researcher but has been forced to give all of that up and simply be an obedient wife and mother. Then she is suddenly asked to continue her research to help the president’s ailing brother. She sees her young daughter growing up without a voice. She has seen friends silenced. She decides that she must take this opportunity and do something. She must also decide how she will react to working with her former lover again.

I enjoyed the 7+ hours I spent reading this 336 page science fiction and romance novel. This novel feels like a post-apocalypse story, though it isn’t.  It is a little slow at times, but overall I liked the plot. The unique twist of using technology to limit the number of words spoken was interesting. I think that the cover art was well chosen. 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).