Tag Archives: Intrigue

Book Review – The Pandora Deception

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – David Bruns https://davidbruns.com/ and J.R. Olson are the authors of more than 20 novels. The Pandora Deception was published in 2020 and is the 4th novel in the WMD Files series. This was the 96th book I completed in 2022.

I received an ARC of this book through https://www.netgalley.com with the expectation of delivering a fair and honest review. Opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own! Due to scenes of violence, I categorize this book/novel as R.

Don Riley takes charge of the Emerging Threats team at the CIA. Their mission is to stop foreign efforts before they can become a significant threat. His first recruits are Janet Everett, Michael Goodwin, and Andrea Ramirez. All are recently commissioned US Navy officers.

The first group discovered is a Middle Eastern group calling itself Mahdi. Mahdi is an Islamic mythological messiah, and the group is building a following through their actions. Their long-term goal is to use modern bioweapons instead of terrorist bombings to disrupt the region. So far, they have been targeting efforts by the West to bring development and jobs to the region.

I enjoyed the 8 hours I spent reading this 363-page thriller. I had the opportunity to read one of their earlier novels, Rules of Engagement. Both novels were enjoyable reads. The authors have a strong US Navy and Intelligence background, which is evident in their writing. This novel delves into the politics of the Middle East and is full of action and intrigue. The cover art is plain, but it is eye-catching. I give this novel a rating of 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 – The Morgan Files

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Leo J. Maloney http://leojmaloney.com is the author of more than a dozen novels. The Morgan Files was published in 2020 and is the 12th novel in the Dan Morgan series. This was the 95th book I completed in 2022.

I received an ARC of this book through https://www.netgalley.com with the expectation of delivering a fair and honest review. Opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own! Due to scenes of violence, I categorize this book as R. The primary characters are agent Dan Morgan and his daughter Alex Morgan.

So this book is unusual in that it contains two separate and stand-alone novellas. I’ll review each of these separately.

Twelve Hours

I enjoyed the 3 hours I spent reading this thrilling novella. Terrorist activities are running rampant across New York City. Under this distraction, the President of Iran is kidnapped. While Dan is desperately working to thwart the terrorists, his actions are complicated by his daughter Alex being among the hostages. I give this novella a rating of 4.4 (rounded down to a 4) out of 5.

For Duty and Honor

I enjoyed the 3+ hours I spent reading this thrilling novella. Dan is wasting away in a Russian Gulag. His agency seems to have given up on him. His daughter, Alex, will not give up. She leaves the training program to travel to Russia. The agency does not seem to be doing anything, so she will.

The outlook for those in the Gulag is bleak. Dan makes friends with two others, and together they plot to escape. Meanwhile, Alex is in Moscow trying to infiltrate the household of the General who imprisoned her father. Both father and daughter are putting their lives on the line once again. I give this novella a rating of 4 out of 5.

I enjoyed the time I spent reading this 239-page thriller. I have read five books by Leo J. Maloney. I think that this is among the best. The others were Rogue CommanderDark TerritoryWar of Shadows, and Deep Cover. They have consistently been very enjoyable. I like the chosen cover art.

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

Book Review – Hunter Killer

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Brad Taylor https://bradtaylorbooks.com is the author of more than 25 novels. Hunter Killerwas published in 2020 and is the 14th novel in his Pike Logan Thriller series. This was the 92nd book I completed in 2022.

I received an ARC of this book through https://www.netgalley.com with the expectation of delivering a fair and honest review. Opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own! Due to scenes of violence and mature language, I categorize this novel as R. The primary character is Pike Logan.

Pike Logan and Jennifer Cahill are on the verge of embarking on a mission to South America when a car explosion kills the Taskforce’s Director. While the authorities rule that the explosion and resulting death was an accident, Logan feels sure that it was an assassination and that he was the intended target.

With the Director dead, the Taskforce is languishing without leadership. Logan fears that the Taskforce may finally be retired. As he begins to investigate, a Russian conspiracy begins to emerge. The Russians want to manipulate the upcoming election in Brazil. The Taskforce has been targeted because the Russians feared that they had been closing in.

After contact is lost with part of the Taskforce team already in Brazil, Pike and Cahill head south. In spite of the order to stand down, Pike and Cahill feel obligated to go to the aid of their brothers in arms.

I enjoyed the 9.5 hours I spent reading this 474-page thriller. I have had the opportunity to read and review four other books by Taylor. They have all been consistently enjoyable. The others are The Insider ThreatGhosts of WarRing of Fire, and End of Days. Taylor always seems able to bring the action alive on the pages of his novels. While reading the novels of a series in order is always best, these do well as stand-alone reads. I do like the cover art. I give this novel a rating of 5 out of 5.

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

Book Review – Black Flag

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – David Ricciardi https://www.facebook.com/RicciardiBooks/ is the author of four novels. Black Flag was published in 2020 and is the third of his Jake Keller thrillers. This was the 91st book I completed in 2022.

I received an ARC of this book through https://www.netgalley.com with the expectation of delivering a fair and honest review. Opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own! Due to scenes of violence, I categorize this novel as R. The primary character is CIA officer Jake Keller.

Piracy is still plaguing the high seas. Gone are the days of AK-47-wielding thugs in a motor boat. They are more sophisticated now, striking like a well-trained Spec Ops team. No longer looking for mere gold, these pirates are after oil.

These new merciless pirates have taken several tankers. No trace of the crew or the ships has been found. Keller’s investigation leads him to a Greek shipping family. Things become complicated when he begins a romance with the owner’s daughter.

A pattern to the attacks seems to emerge, and one of the Greek tankers appears likely to be the next victim. A plan is set in motion to stop the pirates. The pirates know he is on their trail, and they do not go down easily.

Finding and stopping the pirates is not Keller’s only concern. The Somali warlord behind the pirates has an atrocity planned against his opposition. Keller must try to do his best in spite of his politically conniving boss, Ted Graves.

I enjoyed the 9+ hours I spent reading this 376-page thriller. I have read the first book in the series, Warning Light, and enjoyed it. While the cover art is eye-catching, it does not resonate well with the story. I give this novel a rating of 4.3 (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 – Angel from Hell

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Christopher Nicole is the author of more than 200 books & novels. Angel from Hell was published in 2018 and is the first book of his Anna Fehrbach series. This was the 90th book I completed in 2022.

I purchased this book from Amazon for my Kindle. Opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own! Due to scenes of violence, mature language, and mature situations, I categorize this novel as R.

The story opens in 1938 as the Nazis take Austria. Arrests are made of all those opposed to the Third Reich. Johann Fehrbach and his family are among those rounded up. He had been the publisher of a liberal newspaper that spoke out against the Nazis.

His eldest daughter, seventeen-year-old Annaliese, is separated from the rest of the family. A German officer recognizes that her intelligence and beauty can be used to the Reich’s advantage. The rest of her family is held hostage to force Annaliese to obey the Gestapo.

She is trained in the arts of seduction, assassination, and intelligence tradecraft. Upon completing her training, she is put to work for the SD. She is told to flirt, socialize, and seduce targets of the SD.

Eventually, she is told to focus on Ballantine Bordman of the British Foreign Office. The much older Bordman is soon smitten with Annaliese. They are married, and she returns to England with him. She has orders to make copies of her husband’s documents and send them to Germany.

Clive Bartley had traveled to Berlin with Bordman. He meets Annaliese there when she is introduced to the British diplomat. Bartley is suspicious of her and her quick romance with Bordman. As a member of MI6, he is constantly on alert for German operatives.

Bartley confronts Annaliese, and she willingly agrees to become a double agent. She also finds herself romantically entangled with him. Annaliese is forced to walk a fine line to maintain credibility with her German handlers while doing what she can for MI6.

I enjoyed the 6.5+ hours I spent reading this 275-page WWII-era thriller. The novel is filled with action. I have also had the opportunity to read another Nicole novel, Battleground. It is another enjoyable WWII-era thriller. I like the chosen cover art. I give this novel a rating of 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 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 590 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. Included are links to many fiction and non-fiction books on WWII that I have read and reviewed. There are also links to WWII oriented podcasts.

Book Review – The Right Guard

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – This is author Alexandra Hamlet’s first novel. The Right Guard was published in 2020 and is the first book in her Allegiance series. This was the 88th book I completed in 2022.

I received an ARC of this book through https://www.netgalley.com with the expectation of delivering a fair and honest review. Opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own! Due to scenes of violence and mature situations, I categorize this novel as R. The primary character is CIA agent Eric Brent.

The novel is set in the 1970s. Weapons and military supplies have been discovered missing. Mostly from National Guard units across the country. As Brent investigates, he discovers that a conspiracy is behind the thefts.

Project Warrior wants to return the U.S. to a more conservative position. A position that is closer to the Constitution, and what America’s founding fathers had in mind. The leaders feel that the nation has become too liberal and the economy has gotten out of hand. Nor are they happy with the political and foreign policies of the administration.

Brent finds plenty of evidence of material theft. As he worms his way into the Right Guard Organization, he encounters leaders he can relate to. He is attracted to their ideals for a better America. His professional experience forces him to continue with his mission.

Unexpectedly, the young political activist Jill Warren is coincidentally thrust back into Brent’s life. The two had been close before. But the secrecy of his job and the time away from home had taken their toll on the relationship. He may now have a second chance with her.

I enjoyed the 10 hours I spent reading this 347-page thriller. Unlike the heroes of most novels, I had a hard time liking the Brent character. The author called on her experience with International Business and U.S. Defense. The basis for the novel, the missing weapons, and supplies, is factual and makes for a good foundation. The chosen cover art is eye-catching. I give this novel a rating of 3.5 (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 – The Double Agent

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – William Christie https://williamchristieauthor.com is the author of ten novels. The Double Agent was published in 2022. This was the 86th book I completed in 2022.

I received an ARC of this book through https://www.netgalley.com with the expectation of delivering a fair and honest review. Opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own! Due to scenes of violence, mature situations, and mature language, I categorize this novel as R. The primary character in the novel is Russian Alexsi Smirnoff.

Smirnoff grew up as an orphan. As a young man, the Russian NKVD recognized his abilities and recruited him. After training, he was sent to Nazi Germany. He was able to penetrate the German Intelligence services and rose in rank.

As the tide of the war becomes clear, and not wanting to return to Russia, Smirnoff attempts to disappear. To his misfortune, he is captured by British troops. Sensing his abilities, the SIS recruits him. After further training, he is dropped into Italy with credentials as a member of the Wehrmacht. The NKVD had learned that he still lived and was in Britain. A hit squad had been sent to find and execute him. War-torn Italy sounded like a good place to hide.

His new identity was as a German Sergeant. With the papers of a communications expert, he is able to take a post within the headquarters of Field Marshall Kesselring. There he has access to information critical to the Allies.

His past has led Smirnoff to bend and flex with the conditions he is faced with. Will he change his allegiance again?

I enjoyed the 8 hours I spent reading this 344-page WWII-era thriller. I like the chosen cover art. I give this novel a rating of 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 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 590 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. Included are links to many fiction and non-fiction books on WWII that I have read and reviewed. There are also links to WWII oriented podcasts.

Book Review – Agent in Peril

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Alex Gerlis https://alexgerlis.co.uk is the author of more than 10 novels. Agent in Peril was published in 2022 and is the second novel in the Wolf Pack Spies series. This is the 80th book I completed in 2022.

I received an ARC of this book through https://www.netgalley.com with the expectation of delivering a fair and honest review. Opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own! Due to scenes of violence and mature situations, I categorize this novel as R.

It is 1943, and the war in Europe is raging. Before the war had started, Polish scientist Roman Loszynski had worked on a device to make bombing much more accurate. Now he is slowly starving along with his family in the Warsaw Ghetto. Loszynski has given much thought to the device. He thinks he has perfected it. He hopes it will be the bargaining chip needed for his family to escape to Britain.

British agent Jack Miller is working in Switzerland after escaping Germany just ahead of the Gestapo. Sophia von Naundorf is still in Germany. After falling in love with Miller while working together, she wants out of Germany. She plans her escape, making her way to Switzerland.

Loszynski is smuggled out of the Ghetto but must travel separately from his family. He is desperate to get to the Allies. The device he has invented must be tested. Miller and von Naundorf agree to slip back into Germany.

The three find themselves in one desperate situation after another.

I enjoyed the 8.5 hours I spent reading this 384-page WWII-era spy thriller. This novel picks up shortly after the first one ends. While this novel could be read stand-alone, it would be best to read them in order. I have had the opportunity now to read four of Mr. Gerlis’ novels. I enjoyed them all. I read the first novel in this series Agent in Berlin last December. I also had the opportunity to read Prince of Spies and Ring of Spies. I like the selected cover art. I give this novel a rating of 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).


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 590 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. Included are links to many fiction and non-fiction books on WWII that I have read and reviewed. There are also links to WWII oriented podcasts.

Book Review – Alias Emma

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Ava Glass is the author of Alias Emma which was published in 2022. This is her first publication.

I received an ARC of this book through https://www.netgalley.com with the expectation of delivering a fair and honest review. Due to scenes of violence and mature language, I categorize this novel as R.

Emma Makepeace has just completed her training as a British secret agent, but that name is only her working alias. Her first assignment seems easy enough. She simply has to escort the son of a Russian dissident across London. And she has 12 hours to do it.

But that is before the Russians hack into London’s extensive CCTV surveillance system. Buses, subways, cars, and trains, the normal means of transportation, are all being watched. Nor can they use a cell phone or a credit card without signaling their location. Emma and her charge must find their way across London without disclosing themselves to the Russian assassins pursuing them.

I enjoyed the 7+ hours I spent reading this 273-page thriller. The novel has action, intrigue, and romance woven into the plot. While I understand the chosen cover artwork, a London city map, I do not think it is very engaging. I give this novel a rating of 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 – Ten Seconds to Dead

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – L.A. Clayton https://www.authorlaclayton.com is the author of four novels. Ten Seconds to Dead was published in 2020 and is the first book of her Ten Second series.

I received an ARC of this book through https://www.netgalley.com with the expectation of delivering a fair and honest review. Due to scenes of violence and mature situations, I categorize this novel as R. The primary character is Katherine ‘Kate’ Edison.

Edison has just finished law school and passed the bar on her first try. Her father would have been proud of her, but he is gone. He died in front of her. Now she is ready to follow in his footsteps. He was a CIA man.

Since her father’s death, she has been preparing to be a CIA agent. She secures an interview, and it is going well. As she leaves, she is covertly contacted by the AGI, the Alternate Government Initiative. AGI is an ultra-secret US government agency. They want her as an agent, just like her father was before her.

Edison accepts the AGI offer and undergoes rigorous training. Even before she has finished her training, she is catapulted into the field. She faces danger in both the training and missions. She begins to sense that something is wrong. She soon begins to fear that she has been deceived. That she is not really working for a government agency. Can she discover the truth and survive?

I enjoyed the 10+ hours I spent reading this 389-page thriller and mystery. The story is filled with action, suspense, and intrigue. I like the chosen cover art, and I give this novel a rating of 5 out of 5.

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