Category Archives: Thriller

Book Review: “A Hero”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – Author Stephen Arseneault (https://www.arsenex.com) published the novel “A Hero” in 2019. Mr. Arseneault has published more than 50 novels. This is the first of his “Corporation Wars” 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 far future. The primary character is Rayford Tyvos Jackson.

Jackson has recently graduated from college with an engineering degree. Work is hard to find and he needs to find a way to support his wife and daughter. The Jackson family decide to travel to the remote mining colony of Echelon. The job with the Arlis Corporation is the only one he can find. He is expecting a good position with Arlis. His best friend at college is running the Echelon mining facility. He hopes this will be a good career move, but the corporation imposes strict rules. Soon, he and his family are fed up and are ready to leave.

Aliens are sited in human space, but they avoid all contact. Without warning, they begin to mercilessly attack human settlements. Humanity has not had a war in decades. The military is ill-equipped and the politicians are unwilling to make hard decisions. As Jackson has feared, there is an attack on the mining facilities on Echelon. Casualties are widespread and include Jackson’s wife and daughter. Seeking revenge Jackson enlists in the Marines.

Human forces struggle against the aliens. They call themselves the Togmal but little is known about them. Even after years of war, there has been no communication. While they win a few battles, humanity is losing the war. Major corporations, including Arlis, step up and offer to take over the war. They claim that their organization and efficiency will enable humans to win. The corporations take over the military. They also take over most functions of the government. The result is that newer and better weapons begin to flow to the troops. Slowly the tide begins to turn.

I enjoyed the 7+ hours I spent reading this 330-page science-fiction thriller. The story is full of action as well as subtle intrigue. I am looking forward to the next novel in the series. This is the second novel I have read from Arseneault (ARMS War for Eden was the other). I have enjoyed them both. I like the selected cover art. I give this novel a 5 out of 5.

You can access more of my book reviews on my Blog ( https://johnpurvis.wordpress.com/blog/).

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

Book Review: “The Extinction Agenda”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – Author Michael Laurence (https://michaellaurencebooks.com) published the novel “The Extinction Agenda” in 2019.

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 contemporary times. The primary character is FBI Special Agent James Mason.

Mason and a team of agents storm the location tied to a smuggling operation. a trap had been set for them and few survive. The hardest loss is Mason’s partner and mentor.

This was no common smuggler. This operation was moving an active and deadly virus across the Mexican border. Mason returns to his normal duties, but he cannot let go. This begins months of investigation. He is convinced that a shadow organization is behind the smuggling operation.

Even though forced to take a leave after his wife dies he continues investigating on his own. He believes her death is likely to have resulted from those he is pursuing. As he closes in he recruits long time friends Gunnar Backstrom and Ramses Donovan. Backstrom is a tech whiz and a corporate espionage gun-for-hire. Donovan walks a fine line between being a criminal and being law-abiding.

Together they close in on the secret operation. Their efforts do not go without a response from their targets. The three are put into hazards way one time after another as they get closer.

I thoroughly enjoyed 11+ hours I spent reading this 377-page thriller. This is a good action-filled thriller with an end that suggests further novels in the series. I like the chosen cover art. I give this novel a 4.6 (rounded up to a5) out of 5.

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

Book Review: “Shadows of Annihilation”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – Author S. M. Stirling (https://smstirling.com) published the novel “Shadows of Annihilation” in 2020. Mr. Stirling has published more than 60 novels. This is the third book in his ‘Alternate World War’ 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, Mature Language, and Mature Situations. The story continues the struggle between the Black Chamber and Germany.

The Black Chamber is a secret spy unit of the US Secret Service. It is 1917 and the World War has settled into a stalemate. The Germans have driven US troops from mainland Europe. Of course, this is an entirely different world than the one we have lived through.

Black Chamber agents Luz O’Malley and Ciara Whelan are on the job again. They travel to the US protectorate of Mexico. Their destination is in the remote highlands. They are to assist with the security of a secret facility under construction there. This is the first Annihilation Gas facility built by the United States. They must have it to hold the Germans in check.

Unexpectedly, German agent Horst von Duckler appears on the scene. Luz and Ciara have run up against him before and he has a grudge to settle with them. The pair encounter him and German sympathizers in one confrontation after another.

I enjoyed the 11+ hours I spent reading this 396-page alternate history novel. I have read many of Sterling’s novels. He is one of my favorite authors. This third installment in his Alternate World War series does not disappoint. While I have read both of the prior novels in the series (“Black Chamber” and “Theater of Spies“), you could read this one stand-alone. I do recommend that you read them in order. There is an element of LGBTQ in the story as Luz and Ciara are an intimate pair, but that plays a very minor role. I like the selected 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).

Book Review: “Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: God of War

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – Author Jeff Rovin published the novel “Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: God of War” in 2020 (May). He has published more than 40 novels as well as other works. This is the 19th book in the Op-Center series created by Tom Clancy and Steve Pieczenik.

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. There is a mysterious outbreak of a fatal biological agent in Antarctic waters. The Black Wasp Team is called back to action.

An Australian bound airliner crashes after the rapid infection of all passengers and crew. A private yacht explodes in the South Indian Sea. A helicopter crashes on a South Africa bridge.

The years of apartheid in South Africa spawned many secret projects. Among these is the discovery of a lethal biological agent. The few who knew about it sought to hide it away. They thought it would be safe. They hid it on the frozen shore of a protected island the government-controlled. Unfortunately unlawful digging on the island released the agent.

Soon there is a Chinese vessel investigating the island. The US must find the source of the outbreak and keep it from falling into the wrong hands. Dispatching the Black Wasp Team to find the source of the contagion is the US response. They must find the source and make sure that no other country gets it.

I enjoyed the 8.5 hours I spent reading this 352-page thriller. This is the second novel in the Black Wasp subsidies. I read the first “Tom Clancys Op-Center: Sting of the Wasp” and liked it. This novel is readable as a stand-alone book, but it would be best to read ‘Sting of the Wasp’ first. The Black Wasp Team is an odd collection of four characters. It is not the conventional Special Ops Team. The cover art is OK, though it is not tightly tied to the story. I give this novel a 3.8 (Rounded up to a 4) out of 5.

You can access more of my book reviews on my Blog ( https://johnpurvis.wordpress.com/blog/).

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

Book Review: “Red Metal”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “Red Metal” eBook was published in 2019 and was written by Mark Greaney (https://markgreaneybooks.com/). Mr. Greaney has published 10 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 Violence and Mature Language. The story is set in contemporary times. A small contingent of the Russian military conspire with the Russian president to invade the west and recapture a mine of Rare Earth metals.

Tensions are high between the US and China. With the threat of an invasion of Taiwan, military forces are redeployed to support the island. The Russians have been unhappy since they were forced to abandon the Rare Earth mine in East Africa. Now that the attention of the US is focused on Asia, the Russians implement a high stakes plan to recapture the mine and gain control for decades of high tech.

The story is told from the viewpoints of several characters, though a few stand out. On the Russian side the two generals leading the major military efforts are the main characters. On the side of the ‘Allies’ are a Marine Lt. Colonel fresh from a desk in the Pentagon, a French Special Forces Captain, a young Polish reservist, an American A-10 pilot, an American armor maintenance officer who is thrust into command of a combat unit, and the commander of a submarine.

The action flows back and forth between Allies and Russian forces. A strike is made from deep in Russia into Western Europe, following a well prepared plan. Simultaneously another force is secretly deployed to Africa to capture and hold the mine.

With the bulk of US forces already deployed to Asia, the Russians meet little resistance at first in their surprise attack. Slowly though, the Allies begin to pull together and resist the Russian onslaught.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 19 hours I spent reading this 652-page thriller.  I thought that this novel had a very enjoyable and elaborate plot. Not all of the characters that are touched upon survive the many confrontations. I do 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: “The Devil and the Deep Blue Spy”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “The Devil and the Deep Blue Spy” eBook was published in 2019 and was written by Tom Savage (http://tomsavagebooks.com). Mr. Savage has published 12 novels. This is the fourth in his “Nora Baron thriller” 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. This continues the story of Nora Baron who has joined her husband at the CIA.

This story is about their first mission together. A person of interest, Frenchman Claude Lamont, is taking a Caribbean cruise with his second wife. Nora and her husband are asked to join the cruise and keep an eye on Lamont. Lamont is thought to be funneling large sums of money to terrorists. The CIA thinks he will be making contact with someone on the cruise and the Barons are there to find out who.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 5.5 hours I spent reading this 203-page mystery/thriller. This is not an action-filled thriller, but more of a mystery. The plot takes a few twists and turns to end up in a different place than you first might expect. I have now read three of the four (“The Woman Who Knew Too Much” & “The Spy Who Never Was” earlier) Nora Baron novels and have enjoyed them all. If you like a good mystery/thriller without a lot of violence, then you will enjoy these novels. 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: “The Devil and the Deep Blue Spy”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “The Devil and the Deep Blue Spy” eBook was published in 2019 and was written by Tom Savage (http://tomsavagebooks.com). Mr. Savage has published 12 novels. This is the fourth in his “Nora Baron thriller” 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. This continues the story of Nora Baron who has joined her husband at the CIA. 

This story is about their first mission together. A person of interest, Frenchman Claude Lamont, is taking a Caribbean cruise with his second wife. Nora and her husband are asked to join the cruise and keep an eye on Lamont. Lamont is thought to be funneling large sums of money to terrorists. The CIA thinks he will be making contact with someone on the cruise and the Barons are there to find out who. 

I thoroughly enjoyed the 5.5 hours I spent reading this 203-page mystery/thriller. This is not an action-filled thriller, but more of a mystery. The plot takes a few twists and turns to end up in a different place than you first might expect. I have now read three of the four (“The Woman Who Knew Too Much” & “The Spy Who Never Was” earlier) Nora Baron novels and have enjoyed them all. If you like a good mystery/thriller without a lot of violence, then you will enjoy these novels. 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: “Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Sting of the Wasp”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Sting of the Wasp” eBook was published in 2019 and was written by Jeff Rovin, Steve Pieczenik (contributor), and Tom Clancy (listed as contributor though Mr. Clancy died in 2013). Mr. Rovin has published more than 100 novels. This is the 18th Op-Center 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 ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in contemporary times. The primary character is former Op-Center director Chase Williams. 

A terrorist attack has taken place in New York City abort the Museum Ship Intrepid. The attack has been carried out by Iranian Captain Ahmed Salehi. Williams is relieved of command of Op-Center and it is dismantled. 

Known to only a few, Williams is put in charge of an ultra-secret group known as BLACK WASP. The WASPs are an odd collection – US Navy martial arts expert Lieutenant Grace Lee, marksman extraordinaire Lance Corporal Jaz Rivette, and JAG attorney and criminologist Major Hamilton Breen. This very unorthodox team is loosely led by Williams on the trail of Salehi. 

I enjoyed the 8.5+ hours I spent reading this 348-page action thriller. I have read many of Clancy’s novels as well as several of the Op-Center novels. While this was not the best, it was an enjoyable read. It was very clearly not written by Clancy. The action was pretty constant in the book. As with so many thrillers, the sequence of events, luck and opportunity fell in line so that the ‘heroes’ prevailed. I like the selected cover art. 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).

Book Review: “Rules of Engagement”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “Rules of Engagement” eBook was published in 2019 and was written by David Bruns (https://davidbruns.com) and J. R. Olson. Together they have published more than 15 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 contemporary times. While the main character is Don Riley who is head of the US Cyber Command, there are many characters in the story. 

Wanted terrorist Rafiq Roshed has fled to North Korea. From there he has unleashed an attack against the US power grid. Not long after that, he puts in motion events to raise would tension to prompt the sales of Russian arms. But he has his own agenda and he not only wants to raise tension in the Pacific, but he was the world on fire. 

Riley leads the effort to find Roshed and stop him before he causes World War III. This is made more difficult by Roshed hiding in North Korea. Roshed has schemed to infiltrate the military communications networks of China, Japan, and the US, Using that access he is causing one incident after another. Making the wrong decision will more the enflamed situation into a shooting war. 

I thoroughly enjoyed the 6+ hours I spent reading this 329-page thriller. There were many characters to keep up with in the novel. I did find the depiction of cyber warfare more accurate than most novels. I lick forward to the next novel in this series. 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: “War of Shadows”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “War of Shadows” eBook was published in 2019 and was written by Leo J. Maloney (http://leojmaloney.com). Mr. Maloney has published more than ten novels. This is the 7th of his “Dan Morgan Thriller” 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 Special Ops veteran and Zeta agent Dan Morgan.

Morgan is approaching his home when it suddenly explodes. He fears that his wife might have been caught in the blast. That begins a cross country journey evading agents that are out to kill him. Unsure of whether there are any other Zeta agents surviving the wide ranging attacks he struggles to survive with his daughter, the only other surviving Zeta agent he is aware of. Making his survival even tougher are the advanced weapons that are being used against him and his daughter. He only sees survival and vengeance on those who took his wife. 

I enjoyed the 6.5 hours I spent reading this 269-page thriller. This is a very action packed novel. Morgan and his daughter seem to slip from one life threatening situation to another. Is some respects it reminds be of the ‘James Bond’ movies with Roger More.  This is the third Maloney novel I have read and I have found all of them enjoyable. While this novel would be better if you had read the previous books in the series, it is a good stand alone read. I like the selected 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).