Tag Archives: Fiction

WWII Movie Nostalgia

WWII – Over the past two nights, I have watched a pair of movies set in WWII. The first is one of my favorite WWII movies, “The Longest Day” which premiered in 1962. I think I saw that one in the theater as a kid. It is full of stars from the early ’60s and tells the story of D-Day from both the Allied and German perspective. It is one of my favorite WWII era movies and I try to watch it once a year. IMDB rates it at 7.8/10.

The other is not as good but was interesting. The 1943 “Aerial Gunner”. The IMDB synopsis:

Old rivals are pitted against each other in basic training and fight for the same woman.

It is not nearly as good (rating only a 5.7/10 on IMDB).

Both of these films are shot in Black & White.


If you are interested in the World War II era of history, you may find my pages “World War II Sources” (a collection of museums, websites, Facebook pages, and Twitter feeds with information on the World War II era in history) and “World War II Timeline” of interest.

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Short World War II Film – “Prisoner of War”

Short FilmWWII – I came across the short (12:42) World War II film “Prisoner of War”. This film was uploaded to YouTube in September of 2011 by mbfilmsuk. The synopsis of the film from IMDB:

1941, a cold dawn, and two German soldiers, a Captain and a Private, are out hunting somewhere on the Eastern Front. The Captain lists all the possible animals that they might find in the deep forest lands around them. However today he is only interested in the spoor of the one sort of animal: man. Prisoners have escaped; they must be found, and dealt with. When it comes to the crunch will the private once more fail in his duty or will he be given a second chance, and who will be anointed with the blood of the first kill?

I thought that this was a very well done film, though all of the dialog is in German. English subtitles are provided so the film is easy to understand. The film is rated as 6.6 on IMDB.

 


 

If you are a student of the World War II era in history, you may find my pages “World War II Sources” (a collection of museums, websites, Facebook pages, and Twitter feeds with information on the World War II era in history) and “World War II Timeline” of interest.

Book Review: “A Baker Street Wedding”

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Book Reviews – “A Baker Street Wedding” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Michael Robertson (https://www.thebakerstreetletters.com). This is the sixth novel in the “The Baker Street Letters” series by Mr. Robertson.

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’. The story is set in the contemporary UK. The primary characters are lawyer Reggie Heath and the celebrated actress Laura Rankin.

Rankin and Heath have just gotten married and try to escape the publicity by disappearing to a small town where Rankin once attended school. They are soon drawn into a mystery. Rankin is asked to fill in for a woman in a community play. The woman has accidentally fallen off a cliff and died. Soon though Rankin and Heath begin to question the accidental nature of the death.

There is also an unusual character that shows up with Heath’s secretary in the rural town. Is he Sherlock Holmes?

I enjoyed the 5 hours I spent reading this 304-page mystery. This was an OK mystery and I liked the strange character that shows up, though there needs to be more explanation of the character (perhaps that is covered in one of the earlier novels in the series, though Rankin and Heath do not appear to know him). Even though there are five earlier novels in the series, this novel reads well on its own. The cover art is OK but doesn’t relate well 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: “Executive Force”

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Book Reviews – “Executive Force” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Gary Grossman (https://www.garygrossman.com). Mr. Grossman has published four novels. This is the fourth in his “Executive” 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 characters are Secret Service Agent Scott Roarke and his fiancée Katie Kessler, a lawyer and assistant to the US Supreme Court Chief Justice.

A series of assassinations of political leaders is driving the US into chaos. A growing secessionist movement is being fueled by this and threatens the US. Roarke must find the assassin and stop him before there are more deaths. Kessler is looking into the secessionist movement for the Chief Justice and goes undercover within the leading organization. Both find themselves in danger and on trails of evidence that lead to the same conclusion.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 10.5 hours I spent reading this 448-page thriller. While this is the fourth book in this series, it reads well on its own. I liked the characters and the plot created by the author. The cover art is kind of bland. Something related to the story would have been better in my opinion. 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: “St. Paul’s Labyrinth​”

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Book Reviews – “St. Paul’s Labyrinth” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Jeron Windmeijer (https://jeroenwindmeijer.nl/). Mr. Windmeijer has published three 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 some scenes of Violence. The story is set in contemporary Leiden, Netherlands. The primary character is university professor Peter de Haan.

Haan attends the installation of an underground waste container. He does so as an opportunity to do archaeological exploration. Few opportunities come to do excavation in the old city. Surprisingly, this excavation opens up an old and unknown tunnel. Haan and a colleague venture in. Inside the tunnel, they find a naked man covered in blood. Then Haan gets a mysterious text message ‘the hour has come‘.

When the colleague disappears in the tunnel, Haan becomes the target of a police investigation. Then when his close friend Judith Cherev disappears, he finds that he has been given only hours to solve a puzzle and save her. Along the way, he discovers hidden mysteries, a secret society, and a group that will do anything to keep their secrets hidden.

I enjoyed the 8.5 hours I spent reading this 329-page thriller. This has the feel of a Dan Brown thriller, but I did not find it nearly as good. There was quite a bit of detailed reference given to Leiden. That would probably make this book attractive to you if you lived there or knew the area well. Unfortunately, I found this novel a little slow and it felt disorganized to me. The cover art is OK, but I think something more closely tied to the story would have been better. 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: “Dark Winter”

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Book Reviews – “Dark Winter” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Anthony J. Tata (https://www.ajtata.com). Mr. Tata has published nine novels. This is the fifth in his “Jake Mahegan 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 mostly ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in the contemporary US, Russia, North Korea, and Iran.

Foreign-based hackers penetrate the US military and cause havoc with the various weapons systems. Nothing works as it should leaving the US defenseless. The US power grid is disrupted plunging many into darkness. Russians invade Europe. Iran invades Iraq. North Korea attacks the south and Japan. A new form of warfare, ComWar, is underway.

The only way to stop the ComWar is to destroy the control centers. But that won’t be easy with them located in Russia, Iran, and North Korea. Mahegan’s trained team must split up and take on all the control centers at the same time. If the control of ComWar cannot be disrupted, the world is headed for World War III.

I thought the 8+ hours spent reading this 464-page thriller was interesting. Interesting take on technology. While I have read the previous two novels in this series and liked them, I did not think this one was as good. This novel reads well on its own even with the prior novels in the series. 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: “Mr.​ Campion’s War”

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Book Reviews – “Mr. Campion’s War” eBook was published in 2018 (December) and was written by Mike Ripley (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Ripley). Mr. Ripley has published nearly twenty-five novels. The Campion stories were originally written by Margery Allingham, then her husband Philip Youngman Carter. Mr. Ripley was engaged to complete an unfinished manuscript. Since then he has written four more Campion 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 is mostly in World War II era France. The main character is Albert Campion.

Campion is celebrating his seventieth birthday in current time and has called together several people from his past. Close friends and family know little about some of Camion’s escapades when he was younger. In particular, they have no idea of his exploits in occupied France during World War II.

Campion is sent to Vichy France to make contact with Freiherr Robert von Ringer, a German intelligence officer. Ringer is no traitor but wants to stop substantial currency transfers being made to smuggle funds out of occupied Europe. Campion, though not a trained spy, must help free a Jewish banker and his family before he can get the information needed to stop the transfer of funds. Not only must he be cautious of the German secret police, but also of the French underworld gangs.

The past comes back to haunt Campion when one of his birthday party guests is attacked.  A plot initiated in the 1940s plays out today.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 8+ hours I spent reading this 280-page WWII thriller. I enjoyed this novel and, frankly, would like to read more in this series. While this novel has many prior books in the series, it reads well on its own. I like the 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).


If you are a student of the World War II era in history, you may find my pages “World War II Sources” (a collection of museums, websites, Facebook pages, and Twitter feeds with information on the World War II era in history) and “World War II Timeline” of interest.

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).

Short Story Review: “The Egg”

Short Stories – I like the author Andy Weir. I have read both his “The Martian” and “Artemis” and thoroughly enjoyed both. I came across this short story of his today on https://cafebookbean.org/ and enjoyed it too, though it isn’t exactly the science fiction that he normally writes.

It is a quick read of about 5 minutes. In the story, a man dies and . . . well, it is so short you just need to read it. You can read it here. I give it a 4.4 (rounded down to a 4) out of 5.

Book Review: “Sherlock Holmes and the Greyfriars School Mystery”

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Book Reviews – “Sherlock Holmes and the Greyfriars School Mystery” eBook was published in 2015 (original paper edition was published in 1996) and was written by Val Andrews. Mr. Andrews published more than 20 Sherlock Holmes mysteries. In total, he published over 1000 books and booklets, including Houdini novels and books on magic.

I ordered this novella from Amazon when it was being promoted by the publisher. I categorize this novella as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in 1912 England with the familiar characters of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.

Both men are retired now. Watson has been called on by his former schoolmaster for some assistance. One of the staff, Dr. Locke, has been working for years on a history of the Greyfriars School, but it has now gone missing. Watson is asked if he will convince Holmes to come out of retirement and help find the manuscript.

Holmes leaves retirement and his bees behind briefly as he and Watson visit Greyfriars School. Once they have arrived at Greyfriars, they are unexpectedly drawn into the search for the murderer of a local jeweler. They find themselves confronted with rebellious school boys, a not altogether forthcoming Dr. Locke, and a desperate killer.

I enjoyed the 2+ hours I spent reading this 109-page mystery. This mystery is written very much like the original Holmes stories. I think that the cover art is appropriate. I give this novella a 4 out of 5.

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