Tag Archives: Book Review

Book Review: “Run and Hide”

51dOYWHse0L._SY346_

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).

Advertisements

Book Review: “Lakes of Mars”

40529400

Book Reviews – “Lakes of Mars” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Merritt Graves. Mr. Graves has published two 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 future. Mars and other locations in the Solar System have been colonized. The primary character is 17-year-old Aaron Sheridan.

Sheridan has joined the Fleet after a crash killed his family while he was piloting their shuttle. He had hoped to be assigned to the war out on the Rim and die. Unexpectedly he is assigned to Corinth Station, the premier Fleet academy run by the United Fleet of Mars.  The academy is nothing like he had expected. Life there is brutal and cutthroat. The young officers in training learn more through survival than from their instructors.

The cadets are broken into different groups and there is a battle going on between groups. Sheridan gets drawn into this and finds that it is not clear which side he should be on. Sheridan just tries to survive, then he meets the brilliant Eve. He dedicates most of his time to help her research a cure for her brother.

Before long though he and some of the other students begin to suspect that the United Fleet of Mars is hiding something at Corinth Station. The more they investigate, the stronger they feel that they have to do something.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 13.5 hours I spent reading this young adult science fiction novel. There is action and a touch of romance in the book. I liked the overall plot, but I am not a fan of the Sheridan character. I understand having a flawed hero, but to me, he has a few too many flaws. The cover art is OK, though I think something closer to the plot line 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 Forbidden Door”

5155TszS2BL

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”

51UMtfp-bcL

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 “Through Darkest Europe”

51u0riU3FJL

Book Reviews – “Through Darkest Europe” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Harry Turtledove (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Turtledove). Mr. Turtledove has published in excess of 100 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 is set in Europe, but not the Europe that we know. In this alternate history, Europe has fallen into a very dark age.

In this world, Saint Thomas Aquinas back in the 13th century had written the Summa Theologica, a book which concluded that studying science corrupted religion because it reduced man’s faith in God’s omnipotence and omniscience. The intellectual pursuits of Christiandom have languished since that time. Nearly a century and a half earlier, the Muslim philosopher al-Ghazali had looked into the same issue but had come up with an entirely different opinion. To him, the more that man learned, the better he can glorify God. This resulted in the Muslim world advancing in science and technology, while Europe fell farther and farther behind.

Now investigators Khalid al-Zarzisi and Dawud ibn Musa have been sent from Tunisia to Rome. Their mission is to do what they can to protect the Pope and the Grand Duke of Italy. The Maghrib, from whence al-Zarzisi and Musa come, does not want the Roman Grand Dutchy destabilized. There is a powerful underground Christian movement in Europe, The Aquinists. The Aquinists have ‘seminaries’ all over Europe for ‘educating’ the young men to strike out against the local governments as well as Muslim interests. Their goal is to turn the world back. To make the world over in their view of how people should live.

As foreigners, al-Zarzisi and Musa have no authority, they can only advise. They work closely with Italian police and find themselves more than once in the way of the Christian terrorists. Al-Zarzisi unexpectedly finds himself attracted to a Christian woman, Annarita Pezzola. As they continue their work, it becomes obvious that there is someone close to them that is working with the Aquinists. Is it Pezzola or someone within the Italian Ministry of Information.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 9.5+ hours I spent reading this 320-page alternate history. The world this novel is set in is a complete reversal of what we see. The Muslim nations are democratic and lead the world in education and scientific discovery. Europe has changed little in decades. The Europeans suffer from much unrest and poverty among the common people. The Aquinists take advantage of this and recruit young men and women as soldiers who are willing to die for their cause and achieve heaven. The story starts a little abruptly and is a little slow. I like the characters of al-Zarzisi and Musa. The fact that al-Zarzisi is Muslim and Musa a Jew puts another spin on things. I also like the whole ‘world-flipped-upside-down’ premise for the novel. I think that the cover art is 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).

Review of “Primordial Threat”

51Lt7Q7iSkL._SY346_

Book Reviews – “Primordial Threat” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by M. A. Rothman (http://www.michaelarothman.com/). Mr. Rothman has published two 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 ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence and Mature Language. The story is set on Earth in 2066. While there are several characters followed, the primary character is the brilliant scientist Dave Holmes.

Earth has advanced with commercial space efforts as well as scientific research throughout the Solar System. Burt Radcliffe has just been appointed as the new head of NASA’s Near Earth Object program when an Earth-shattering discovery is made – a black hole is headed towards Earth. Earth has DefenseNet, a ring of satellites to repel killer asteroids, but they will provide little protection from the black hole.

An urgent search is begun for options. Before he was ousted in disgrace as head of the International Science Foundation, Dave Holmes had instigated several programs, including DefenseNet. What was viewed as wasteful spending then, seems to the groundwork to save the Earth from a disaster like the approaching black hole. Can Holmes be found? Will he, can he, lead the way to save Earth?

While the scientific community around the world works on measures to save the Earth, there is a growing and powerful segment of the population that wants to stop them. Their view is that the black hole signals the foretold ‘End of Days’. They see any effort to evade the black hole as sacrilege.  Only if humanity lets the end come, will they be saved. The group is willing to go to any length to stop the efforts to save the planet.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 10 hours I spent reading this 461-page science fiction thriller. I like the overall plot. I also liked the characters created for the novel. However, both seemed a little weak. The cover art is OK, but I think a better image could have been 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 “Without Fear”

51O+cmCF+AL._SY346_

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 Blue Sky Wolves”

51NBtSNj+NL

Book Reviews – “The Blue Sky Wolves” eBook was published in 2018 (November) and was written by S. M. Stirling (https://smstirling.com). Mr. Stirling has published more than 55 novels. This is the fifth novel in his “Emberverse V Rudi’s Children” series of alternative history 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 nearly 50 years after ‘The Change’ with the second generation living on the altered Earth.

Crown Princess Órlaith and Japanese Empress Reiko first lead their forces in the freeing of the Hawaiian islands. Then they lead the armies of Montival and Japan respectively to Korea in a final confrontation with the occult power that was behind the Yellow Raja. Once they have landed in Korea, they meet unexpected allies there, the descendants of Genghis Khan now rising as a force to be reckoned with in Mongolia.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 11 hours I spent reading this 352-page alternative history fantasy. I have read most of the novels in the Emberverse series and have found them all enjoyable. I like the characters of Órlaith, Reiko, and their comrades. I think that Stirling has done a great job both with the plot for this series as well as with creating interesting leaders in a broken world. While this novel was filled with battles between the forces of Montival and her allies, the end seemed too easy and simple for the conclusion of this part of the series.  I do like the cover art selected for this novel. 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 Banished Craft”

51DJ3FWam8L

Book Reviews – “The Banished Craft” eBook was published in 2015 and was written by E. D. E. Bell (https://www.edebell.com). Ms. Bell has published four novels, with this being the first in her “Shkode” 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 ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence and Mature Situations. The story is set in a land of fantasy where humans and intelligent dragons exist. They each are having their separate adventures, but a common thread to them is the use of the drug ‘ha’.

There are several characters that the story follows, both human and dragon.

A world has been spit – now there are separate human and dragon worlds. The woman Cor lives in a world where women are not allowed to read or study or have a career. Yet she wants more and discovers when she tries ‘ha’ that she has powers. She is a witch.

Atesh is one of the most brilliant scientists in the dragon kingdom. His avocation is studying the plant that ‘ha’ comes from, but he is tasked by the emperor to create a deadly poison. His world is facing destruction and he is struggling to save it against all odds.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 9.5+ hours I spent reading this 346-page fantasy. I liked the human characters but I struggled with the dragon characters for some reason. The plot was a bit unique, but with it too I had a bit of a hard time. I also felt that the story ended rather abruptly. The cover art is well chosen. I give this novel 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 Razor”

51Pn7XFi8iL

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).