Tag Archives: Book Review

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.


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: “SAS and Special Forces in World War II”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author Michael E Haskew published the novel “SAS and Special Forces in World War II” in 2021. It may also appear as “Special Forces in WWII”. Mr. Haskew has published nearly 30 books on military history.


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 ‘G’. The book tells the story of the various special military forces deployed in WWII. This includes both Allied and Axis powers. Each chapter focuses on those forces from a particular country. The coverage is a high-level overview of each unit’s activities.


I enjoyed the 6 hours I spent reading this 192-page WWII history. Most of the units I had read about before. A few were new to me. Some units included did not, in my mind, qualify as a ‘special force’. The book does have many photos and some good maps. 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).



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: “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.


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: “Codebreaker Girls: A Secret Life at Bletchley Park”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author Jan Slimming published the book “Codebreaker Girls: A Secret Life at Bletchley Park” in 2021 (March). This is Ms. Slimming’s first publication and focuses on her mother.


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 ‘G’. This is the story of Daisy Lawrence and her experiences at Bletchley Park during WWII.


The story begins before the war and gives background information on Lawrence. The focus then shifts to her wartime experiences. It finishes up with the troubles Lawrence had after the war. She had to sign the Official Secrets Act to work at Bletchley. The restrictions placed upon her proved to be detrimental to her mental health.


Lawrence had become engaged early in the war. Some of the book follows the plight of her fiancee after he became a POW after the fall of Singapore. The later part of the book tells of her life in the years after the war.


While I enjoyed the 9.5+ hours I spent reading this 352-page WWII history. I have read and listened to podcasts about Bletchley Park. This book gave more everyday details than the other sources. I like the selected cover art. I give this book 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 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: “The Promise”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author Maxx Powr published the novel “The Promise” in 2019. This is the first novel in the “Piecer Chronicles” series and 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. The story is set in 2173. The primary character is twenty-two-year-old Chase 523.


The alien species, the Klix, had tried to conquer Earth years before but they had been beaten off. Suddenly when most everyone thinks it is safe they are back. Chase 523 has just graduated from Piecer Academy. He would be in the last graduating class. The Piecer Corp was being disbanded. When the Klix first attacked Earth the only way Earth could respond was with genetically engineered soldiers. Chase was in batch 523.


The graduation ceremony hadn’t even ended when the Klix attack came. It was devastating. The Klix targeted Piecer facilities, families, and homes. Many died in the attack and the survivors took what refuge they could.


Chase joined with a few other Piecer Cadet survivors. They steal space vessels that had been placed in museums. They agree to meet at a remote location in the Solar System. The Piecers gather new allies and eventually bring the fight back to the Klix.


Along the way, Chase encounters Sheen, an android Courtesan, and becomes her Commander. He also encounters Max 325. Max has been genetically engineered to be a ‘fixer’. He is a master of all things mechanical and electronic. Chase also encounters Eve again. She had been the love of his life while he was at the Academy.


All does not go well for the Piecers and their allies. They find that a human traitor has been behind the Klix attack. Their struggle against the Klix puts them all at risk more than once.


I enjoyed the 8+ hours I spent reading this 280-page science fiction novel. There were a lot of ‘details’ that were ignored in this novel. That said, I enjoyed it. It was a fun read. It reminded me of the kind of science fiction written in the 50s and 60s. The plot wasn’t complex and the action kept the story moving along. The cover art isn’t the greatest, but it 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).

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 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: “Covert Radio Agents, 1939–1945: Signals From Behind Enemy Lines”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author David Hebditch published the book “Covert Radio Agents, 1939–1945: Signals From Behind Enemy Lines” in 2021 (April). Mr. Hebditch has published three books.


I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this book as ‘G’. The book tells the stories of several covert radio agents acting behind enemy lines in WWII. Most served in the European Theater of Operations, but a few are from the Pacific.


Included is a chapter that provides many details on the equipment used. Details of the procedures are also included. Allied agents followed strict rules to send and encrypt their messages. The German radio direction finding units had their own rules to follow.


I enjoyed the 8.5 hours I spent reading this 320-page WWII history. I had read about some of the activities before, but this book certainly contained a lot of new material. I found the technical details towards the end of the book to be particularly interesting. You will find this book of special interest if you are researching SOE & OSS activities during the war. I do like the chosen cover art. I give this book 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.

Book Review: “The Saints of Salvation”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author Peter F. Hamilton published the novel “The Saints of Salvation” in 2020. He has published more than 20 novels. This is the third novel in his “The Salvation Sequence” 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 far future. The Olyix have attacked Earth and several other worlds. They have a religious mission. They want to bring all sentient life to its God at the End of Time.


There are several characters that play an important role in this novel. The time span covers many years. A very secret spy mission takes some of the characters deep into the Olyix domain. They are part of the key to defeating the Olyix, providing a signal for humanity to follow.


Humanity has gathered a fleet like no other. They are about to attack the Olyix. If they fail, humanity, if it survives, will be relegated to the dark spaces between the stars.


I enjoyed the 16+ hours I spent reading this 516-page science fiction novel. The novel seemed to have a slow start. it did get much better after the first 25%. I found it a little hard to read as it jumped around in time. It definitely makes far more sense if you have read the prior books. I, fortunately, have read book 2 “Salvation Lost”. I like the cover art, though it doesn’t relate 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).

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.