Tag Archives: Intrigue

Book Review: “Cyber Countdown”

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Book Reviews – “Cyber Countdown” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Terence Flynn. This is Mr. Flynn’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 and Mature Situations. The story is set in the near-contemporary US. The primary character is James Jordan, the current Federal Chief Information Officer of the US.

Jordan had been the CEO of the Cyber Security firm VSI but had stepped down when asked to be the Chief Information Officer. Now his former partner at VSI Philip Wu is dead. The resulting investigation reveals that Wu had been doing classified work for the US government.

The US is plagued with cyber attacks coming from China. Among the students behind the attack is a North Korean naval officer Kim Kwon-Mu. Kwon soon realizes that their effort is more than a simple prank to steal US corporate data.

Before long events are pushing the US and China towards war. Will Jordan be able to get to the bottom of things and find a way to avoid the looming conflict?

I thoroughly enjoyed the 10.5 hours I spent reading this 450-page thriller. I liked the level of detail included in the story as well as the plot. I hope to read more “James Jordan” adventures in the future. The chosen cover art is OK. 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).

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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: “Assassin’s Run”

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Book Reviews – “Assassin’s Run” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Ward Larsen (https://www.wardlarsen.com). Mr. Larsen has published ten novels. This is the fifth in his “David Slaton” 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 contemporary Europe and North Africa. The primary character is former Israeli assassin, David Slaton.

Slaton, his wife, and young son have disappeared, or at least they thought that they had. While sailing along the coast of Italy, they are surprised when Anna Sorensen, a pretty young CIA agent seeks them out. A Russian Oligarch has been assassinated by a sniper nearby. Slaton was a sniper for Israel and now word is that the Russians are looking for him as the shooter.

Sorensen convinces Slaton and his wife that their safest action is for Slaton to help identify who the assassin actually is. Reluctantly Slaton agrees and before long he is deep into the investigation. It soon becomes clear that the Russian Oligarch was somehow plotting with two others. Together they are behind some kind of smuggling operation connected to Saudi Arabia. There is more there than a simple smuggling operation though. Slaton and Sorensen must stay alive, discover the plan and try to stop it.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 9.5 hours I spent reading this 358-page thriller. I liked the characters in this novel. Slaton is a strong lead that is easy to like. The plot is good and not obvious. The novel reads well as a stand-alone read even though it is the fourth in the series. The cover art is OK, though I think it could have been better. 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: “Run and Hide”

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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).

Review of “Without Fear”

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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 “Duty and Betrayal”

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Book Reviews – “Duty and Betrayal” eBook was published in 2016 and was written by Toby Oliver. Mr. Oliver 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. The story begins at the end of World War II and continues through the height of the cold war.

It is well known that one of NASA’s top scientists, Bernard Zimmerman, was a leader in the Nazi rocket program. What is not known is that he is still active with modern Nazi sympathizers. Both the CIA and MI5 want to capture another former Nazi who is traveling in Europe before he can escape to South America. They have evidence that Zimmerman is involved in the escape attempt. Complicating this is the fact that the Russians are after him too.

A beautiful woman, Joyce Leader, who was a German spy during World War II, but who also secretly was a double agent acting for the British, is used to get close to the Nazi sympathizers. Will the intelligence agents be able to stop the Nazi from escaping? Will they and Leader come out of the operation unharmed?

I thoroughly enjoyed the 5.5 hours I spent reading this 210 page espionage thriller. This has the feel of a novel written in the 50s or 60s, though it is much more recent. It is a little slow but still was a good read. 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).

Review of “Hired to Kill”

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Book Reviews – “Hired to Kill” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Andrew Peterson (https://www.andrewpeterson.com). Mr. Peterson has published seven novels with this being the seventh in his “Nathan McBride” 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 former US Marine sniper Nathan McBride. McBride has also served with as a CIA operative and is currently a private contractor.

Deadly, but widely separated attacks against family and others close to McBride draw him into investigating the threat of a new terrorist attack against the US. ISIS operatives have obtained bioweapons developed in North Korea and are now plotting to release them in major US cities. It becomes a race to see if McBride and US forces can intercept the terrorists before the deadly weapon can be released.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 8+ hours I spent reading this 377 page thriller. While I have not read any of the prior novels in the series, this one read well as a stand-alone book. I liked the character of McBride and the plot stayed within the realm of believability that so many thrillers exceed. The cover art is OK, but I think better art could have been chosen. 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 “The Relic Hunters”

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Book Reviews – “The Relic Hunters” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by David Leadbeater (https://www.davidleadbeater.com). Mr. Leadbeater has published more than 25 novels. This is the first in his “The Relic Hunters” 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 primary character is Guy Bodie, the leader of an elite group of thieves that specialize in stealing relics.

Bodie has been betrayed by a friend and is in a Mexican prison. He is broken out by the CIA on the condition that he, and his team, work for them. A secret group holds the Statue of Zeus, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It had long been thought destroyed. Now at the behest of the CIA Bodie and his team follow a dangerous set of clues to find the statue.

I enjoyed the 3.5 hours I spent reading this 280 page thriller. The team is made of an odd collection of criminals each with a unique skill. While the concept of an elite team going head-to-head with a clandestine organization is not new, I did enjoy this author’s twist on the plot. I will be looking for future novels in this series. The cover art chosen 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).

Review of “Black Chamber”

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Book Reviews – “Black Chamber” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by S. M. Stirling (https://smstirling.com). Mr. Stirling has published more than 50 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 some Mature Situations. The story is set during the World War I years, though in an alternate timeline. In this world, President Taft dies in office and Teddy Roosevelt becomes president again instead of Wilson. The result is a much more conservative US. A US that is primed to enter World War I against Germany.

The primary character of the story is Luz O’Malley Aróstegui, a young woman who is a spy for the Black Chamber, an American intelligence organization. She is sent on a secret mission to Europe posing as a Mexican revolutionary who is seeking Germany’s assistance. She discovers that the Germans plan a secret attack against American cities to delay them from entering the war.

Aróstegui must use both her feminine wiles as well as her considerable skill to fool the Germans, obtain the information she has been sent for, and report her findings.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 13.5 hours I spent reading this 400 page alternate history thriller. The altered timeline is interesting and gives a foundation for some creative stories. I have read many of Mr. Stirling’s novels and have found them all very entertaining. The chosen 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).

Review of “Now She’s Gone”

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Book Reviews – “Now She’s Gone” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Alison James. Ms. James has published two novels, both in her “Detective Rachel Prince” series. This is the second book in the 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 is set in contemporary England and Scotland. The primary character is Detective Inspector Rachel Prince.

A 16-year-old girl is found dead at the bottom of a cliff in Scotland. Her death is ruled an accident, but her wealthy parents think there is more to her death that the local police are finding. DI Prince is asked to look into the matter more for diplomatic reasons than because there are any real questions about the girl’s death.

Her initial investigation uncovers at least one other similar death and before long Prince is on the trail of organized crime dealing in child pornography and perhaps a serial killer. Prince’s personal life – her current boyfriend and a potential new romantic interest within the police force – distracts her from her investigation.

I thoroughly enjoyed the nearly 8 hours I spent reading this 300 page mystery. I liked the characters created for this novel and the plot. I will be looking for the next installment in this is a series. The cover art is OK.  I would 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).