Tag Archives: Fiction

Book Review: “Tidal Rage”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author David Evans published the novel “Tidal Rage” in 2021. This is Mr. Evan’s first publication. 

I obtained this novel through promotion by the publisher. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of violence, mature situations, and mature language. The story is predominantly set on cruise ships. The primary character is Max Cutler an experienced Secret Service agent. 

Sebastian McKenzie is a very odd man. He is also a brilliant musician so his eccentricities are overlooked. He is part Asian and has an unusual look. He has spent years at sea being the star performer on one cruise ship after another. He doesn’t stay too long on any one ship. He isn’t very social but that isolation suits him well. He is an accomplished serial killer that no one knows exists. His first murder was of a neighbor girl as a child. Now his victim tally is in double digits. He has discovered that deaths at sea fall into a gray area. The next port of call handles the investigations. Missing passengers are often attributed to suicide or just wanting to disappear. The cruise lines just want any bad publicity to go away.  

Cutler has been working in Europe with Interpol. The case he is completing has put ex-Stasi agent Josef Werner behind bars. Werner has been making millions counterfeiting US currency. Cutler’s work on the case is disrupted when his 18-year-old sister Elisa disappears. She has been on a cruise with their parents. Cutler takes a leave of absence and flies to Alaska to meet his parents. The gray area on crimes at sea emerges as he begins his investigation. He resigns from the Secret Service and forms his own investigation agency to focus on crimes at sea.

Werner uses his organization and wealth to arrange an escape from custody. Cutler’s attention is fixed on the tragedies his family has suffered. Even with the disappearance of his sister he has not forgotten about Werner. He has a new employee looking for Werner. Cutler and his team must face challenges from many fronts. He wants to bring both Werner and those behind his sister’s disappearance to justice. He has no idea when he begins his quests that these two vastly separate investigations will come together.

I enjoyed the 8.5+ hours I spent reading this 297-page thriller. There were a few ‘technical errors’ in the story and the writing is not the best. That said the story is a very enjoyable thriller and a quick read. The selected cover art is appropriate to the story. 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).

Book Review: “Deadly Driver”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author J.K. Kelly (https://jkkelly.com) published the novel “Deadly Driver” in 2021. The author has thus far published six books. I was able to interview Mr. Kelly in September of 2019. You can read that interview here

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 at locations all around the world. 

The primary character is Bryce Winters a world-class Formula One driver. He has a darker side as a CIA operative. He didn’t want to be a spy, but they had evidence against him. He had little choice but to comply. 

His celebrity status from F1 racing gets him near many powerful people. This lets him make hits for the CIA without drawing too much attention to himself. He is willing to serve his country, but not while under the CIA’s thumb. He struggles to find a way to leave them behind. He travels around the world from one Formula One race to another. Beyond his work for the CIA, he faces danger from racing and those associated with it.  

I enjoyed the 7+ hours I spent reading this 265-page thriller. The book reminds me a lot of Flemings’s ‘James Bond’ thrillers. The main character is repeatedly ending up in trouble. He also falls into bed with beautiful women and dispatches his foes. The Winters character is far from a hero wearing the white hat. While he repeatedly comes to the aid of damsels in distress, he is ruthless. Author Kelly mixes his interest in racing with writing thrillers in this novel. This is the fifth book by Kelly that I have read. They are consistently enjoyable, though a little rough around the edges. They are an entertaining and fun read! The selected cover art is engaging and has the feel of the story. 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).

Book Review: “Children of the Resistance – Volume 1 – Opening Moves”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author Vincent Dugomier published the graphic novel “Children of the Resistance – Volume 1 – Opening Moves” in 2019. This is the first of six in his Children of the Resistance series. He has produced several graphic novels. Vincent

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 publisher suggests this publication for a 9+ audience. The story is set in 1940 France. The main characters are the two young French boys François and Eusèbe. 

François lives in the village of Pontain-L’Écluse. François cannot believe how the adults have accepted the German occupation. He enlists his friend Eusèbe to unite their families and neighbors against the Germans. 

I enjoyed the hour I spent reading this 60-page graphic novel of the French Resistance. I don’t read many graphic novels. This is only the third that I have reviewed. True stories from WWII inspire the story. The two barely teen resistance fighters do not accomplish great acts of sabotage. Their resistance is mischief targeted at the Germans. Though if caught they would have been severely reprimanded, even shot. They do succeed in changing village opinions about the occupation. I like the chosen cover art. I give this graphic novel a 4 out of 5.

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


If you have an interest 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 550 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 Hollywood Spy”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author Susan Elia MacNeal published the novel “The Hollywood Spy” in 2021. Ms. MacNeal has published 10 novels and two non-fiction books. This is the 10th novel in her ‘Maggie Hope Mystery’ series. The novel went on sale on July 6. I had the opportunity to interview Ms. MacNeal earlier this year. You can read the interview here

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 a few scenes of violence and mature language. The story is set in 1943 Los Angeles, CA. The primary character is Maggie Hope. 

Ms. Hope has already enjoyed quite an unusual career. She has dropped behind German lines as an SOE agent. She has also helped both MI5 and Scotland Yard with investigations. She has now traveled to California to aid her friend and former fiancé, RAF officer John Sterling. The body of a young woman, Gloria Hutton, was found floating in the swimming pool of the Garden of Allah Hotel. Stirling had been engaged to her. He asked for Hope’s help because of concerns that the death was not an accident. 

Hope arrives on the scene with her friend Sarah Sanderson. Sanderson has gone to Hollywood to dance in a movie. She, Hope, and Stirling are friends from London. Hope does not waste any time and begins asking questions and digging into Hutton’s death. She had hoped for assistance from the local police, but they are not proving helpful. Not only is there the mystery to solve, but Hollywood, like much of the country during the summer of 1943 is tense. The concern for the war is only part of it. 

Racial tension and confrontations have appeared across the country. Groups like the Ku Klux Klan continue to stir up trouble in the LA area. Compounding the situation are strong Nazi sympathies even after months at war. Ms. Hope must determine on her own if the death of Hutton was an accident. Only then can she begin to investigate who killed her and why. 

I enjoyed the 8+ hours I spent reading this 368-page WWII era mystery. I have read three of the Maggie Hope mysteries and I enjoyed them all. Ms. MacNeal has done a wonderful job of mixing historical facts into her fiction [Follow Ms. Hope on Twitter for daily posts about the war]. She has also been able to find a way for Maggie Hope to run into several celebrities of the age. These mystery/thriller novels are enjoyable, though not books to keep you on the edge of your seat. I do like the chosen cover art. It is eye-catching and portrays the glitz of 40s Hollywood. I give this novel a 4.2 (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).


If you have an interest 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 550 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: “Hellhound, Take Me Home”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author Stu Lane published the novel “Hellhound, Take Me Home” in 2019. This is 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. Much of the story is set in Australia, but some of it takes place elsewhere in Asia. The story spans from 1942 to the end of the war. There are three primary characters. Ken Hazel of the Australian Army, his wife Ann, and Japanese soldier Hito Egami.

Early in 1942, Hazel travels with the Australian Army to Singapore. They are there to help defend the island. Shortly after he arrives the Japanese take the island and he becomes a POW. He is held there for months before being shipped to Japan to work as a slave laborer.

The Australian Army captured Egami and he was held in a POW camp in Australia. He escapes from the camp and wanders the desolate bush. Ann Hazel and her son come upon Egami and they hide him in their home for a while. She begins to fear their efforts are starting to unravel. At about the same time she comes up with a crazy and dangerous scheme to both get Egami home and her husband back.  

Egami had received letters from home while a POW. Ann had received letters from her husband. From those Ann learns that Egami’s brother is a guard at the camp where her husband is being held. A nurse shortage in Guam is the final catalyst for her plan. She volunteers and heads for Guam with Egami in tow disguised as a burn patient. The first leg of the trip is dangerous enough. They must make their way by ship to Guam. Once there she has to find a way for Egami to stow away on a plane headed to Japan. The journey is filled with one peril after another. She is not sure if they will survive the trip let alone be able to maintain the charade.

If this all isn’t enough, after so many months living close to Ann, Egami has begun to develop feelings for her. While she still loves her husband, she has become fond of Egami as well. With the outrageous course they are pursuing, she may lose both of them.

I thought that the 6+ hours I spent reading this 306-page thriller were interesting. While the plot was a bit outlandish, that is not that unusual for a thriller. Some details included in the story though are simply wrong. For instance, in Chapter 25 the POWs in Japan make a ‘tiny transistor radio’ to listen to war news. While POWs were sometimes able to make a radio, it couldn’t have been a transistor radio. The first working transistor was not made until 1947. I find the cover art a little odd. The plane looks vaguely like a B-29, which does factor into the plot. I have no idea though what the image waving his arms means. 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).


If you have an interest 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 540 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 Export’s Revenge”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author J. K. Kelly (https://jkkelly.com) published the novel The Export’s Revenge in 2021. Mr. Kelly has published six novels. This is the second novel in his ‘The Export’ series. I had the chance to interview the author in September of 2019. You can read that interview here

I received a copy of this novel from the author in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of violence. The story takes place at various locations around the world. The primary character is FBI agent Matt Christopher. 

This novel picks up shortly after the first novel in the series, The Export, concludes. Christopher has taken a job protecting a wealthy yacht owner. Christopher barely survives an attack on the vessel. Soon after, he learns that his sister has been brutally attacked and may not survive. He flies immediately to Rome to check on her. He believes that the attack resulted from some of his prior actions. 

Forced to leave the FBI Christopher forms his own company. One of his first hires is Francesca. She is a former Italian policewoman and Special Forces operative. Christopher’s relationship with his ex-wife Claire seems to be growing closer. He has been warned though that he shouldn’t trust her. He is not sure what to believe. The US President offers Christopher a position within his administration. He tells Christopher that he wants him to seek out those who are abusing their positions. This was what Christopher had been trying to do when forced to leave the US years before. He is tempted, but he is wary of the offer. 

Things are happening that seem to have a link to Brit Thomas Sinclair. Christopher had helped an MI5 friend bring down the powerful Sinclair (see book #1). What has happened to Christopher and his family seems tied to the Sinclair family.

I enjoyed the 6 hours I spent reading this 362-page thriller. While this novel can be read stand-alone, it would be best to read The Export first. This is a much better-written novel than the first in the series. It is very exciting and packed with action. The cover art is a little dull, but it 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).

Book Review: “The Export”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author J. K. Kelly (https://jkkelly.com/) published the novel “The Export” in 2021. This is the first novel in his “The Export” series. He has published six novels. I had the chance to interview the author in September of 2019. You can read that interview here

I received a copy of this novel from the author in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains mature situations, mature language, and violence. The story spans the world. The primary character is FBI agent Matt Christopher. 

Christopher is a good agent. One who seeks the truth. That cost him earlier in his career when he doggedly pursued the wrong people. People with deep government connections. As a result, he is now limited to operations outside the US. He has become an export. Christopher has assisted various US government agencies as well as those of allies. In short, he has become a ‘fixer’. 

The story bounces around the world. Christopher gets involved in one deadly situation after another in his travels. He enters these challenges well prepared. He has training as an FBI agent. He had almost completed SEAL training before he was forced to transfer to the Army Rangers. He is ready for almost anything. At least that is what he thinks until his aunt, the US Director of National Intelligence, dies. 

I enjoyed the 5.5+ hours I spent reading this 383-page thriller. The book reminds me of the original James Bond novels by Ian Fleming – thrillers with lots of action.. The book is more of a collection of related short stories than a novel. The Christopher character moves from one thrilling and lethal situation to another. He is no stranger to violence and deals out at least as good as he receives. When pressed he is not above doling out justice himself. I like the chosen 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).

Book Review: SAS: Red Notice

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author Andy McNab (the pen name of Steven Billy Mitchell) published the novel “SAS: Red Notice” in 2021 (originally published in 2012). Mr. McNab has published nearly 4 dozen novels. This is the first of his “SAS (Tom Buckingham)” 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 mature language and violence. The story is set in the contemporary UK. The primary character is SAS operative, Tom Buckingham. 

The SAS and British Intelligence have been after Lazlo for war crimes. They thought they had him cornered in England but he escaped. SAS Sergeant Tom Buckingham was part of the effort to capture Lazlo. His commitment to duty and his country is weighing upon him. It is causing him to struggle in his relationship with the young French woman Delphine. 

When Delphine gets fed up with Tom, she heads back home to France. Tom goes after her and finds himself on the Eurostar train. By coincidence, Lazlo is also on the Eurostar. Once they are under the Channel Lazlo and his team takes the train. Only Tom is in a position to thwart their plans and save the 400 passengers.

Tom uses every bit of his skill and training to confront the terrorists. Will it be enough to save the passengers? To save the Chunnel? To save Delphine?  

I enjoyed the 8+ hours I spent reading this 344-page thriller. This was an excellent thriller. The main character Tom Buckingham is at the center of one conflict after another. Alone he confronts and outthinks the terrorists again and again. His valiant efforts do not leave him or Delphine unscathed. This novel is an action-packed start to a thriller series. I am looking forward to reading more! I like the chosen cover art. 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: “Hellbound”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Authors Eric Giacometti & Jacques Ravenne (http://www.giacometti-ravenne-polar.com) published the novel “Hellbound” in 2021. This is the third book in their “Black Sun” series and their fifth 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 1942. There are three primary characters. Frenchman Tristan Marcas, German Erika von Essling, and French SOE agent Laure d’Estillac 

The Germans are looking for the last of the alleged sacred Swastikas. They believe Germany will easily complete the conquest of Russia once they have it. Of course, not all within the German hierarchy believes in the paranormal solution. Enough in power do to aggressively continue the search. The British for the most part, think the Swastika’s magical ability is rubbish. However, they want to pursue any available options to disrupt German war efforts. 

Marcas is still operating deep undercover as a double agent. His romantic interest in von Essling continues to grow. He continues to pursue the last of the Swastikas. There is a connection between the last Swastika and the Romanov Royal family. The trail to the Swastika leads Marcas back to London. 

I enjoyed the 8.5+ hours I spent reading this 308-page WWII era thriller. This is very much an ‘Indiana Jones’ type of tale. It is pure entertainment. I like the selected 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).


If you have an interest 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 540 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: “Doll”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author Peter Leggatt (https://www.peterleggatt.com) published the novel “Doll” in 2021. This is Mr. Leggatt’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 ‘R. It contains mature situations and mature language. The story is set in the near future. A future with near-human-looking robots. 

The official synopsis of this book:

The first part of this story is told from the perspective of a sex doll.  

The second from the perspective of the man who owns her. 

This sounded like it might be an interesting science fiction novel. I was very disappointed with the 80 minutes I invested in it. I only read the first 30% of this 151-page novel, but that was enough. I had to stop there with a Rule of 50 call. I could not take any more of the robot’s philosophizing. It seemed that the author used 10 words when only one would have served the purpose. The chosen cover art is eye-catching. I give this novel a 2 out of 5.

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