Tag Archives: Intrigue

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).

Review of “Final Target”

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Book Reviews – “Final Target” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by E. V. Seymour (http://www.evseymour.co.uk). Mr. Seymour has published 11 novels. This is the second of his “Josh Thane Thrillers”.

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 primary character of the story is former Assassin for hire Josh Thane.

Thane has ‘retired’ from his role as an assassin and the violent world he was part of. He is surprised when a person from his past, MI5 agent Inger McCallen, shows up. Thane has a romantic interest in McCallen but has never wanted to complicate his life further. Now McCallen is recruiting him to investigate a threat against her life.

As Thane pursues the investigation, he finds himself the target of more than one attack. Then McCallen disappears and MI5 seems to think Thane is involved. Thane must avoid MI5 while he desperately tries to find McCallen. Crime figures that he formerly worked for begin to die, and that is another complication with connections back to him.

I enjoyed the 7.5 hours I spent reading this 272 page mystery and thriller. I liked the character of Thane who is definitely a guy with a sketchy background, but who is trying to live a normal life. 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 “The Gemini Agenda”

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Book Reviews – “The Gemini Agenda” eBook was published in 2018 (original paper edition was published in 2012) and was written by Michael McMenamin and Patrick McMenamin (http://www.winstonchurchillthrillers.com). Mr. McMenamin Sr. has authored or co-authored 12 books. Mr. McMenamin Jr. has authored or co-authored 6 books. This is the third in their “Winston Churchill 1930s 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 ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence and Mature Situations. The story is set in 1932. The primary characters are Mattie McGary, Churchill’s goddaughter and a reporter for the Hearst newspapers, and Bourke Cockran a law professor, former US Army MID agent, and the son of one of Churchill’s former mentors. Also playing a significant role in the story is the German Kurt von Sturm.

By this point, McGary and Cockran are an intimate pair, though not yet engaged. McGary is drawn into a mystery of grisly murders across the US by Hearst. She encounters ruthless thugs who try to discourage her investigations. Meanwhile, Cockran is engaged as the divorce attorney for Ingrid, the wife of Wesley Waterman. Waterman and Cockran have already crossed paths earlier in the book series. Waterman uses his wealth and power to block the divorce including violence and murder.

When Ingrid’s siblings disappear while traveling in Europe, she and Cockran set out to find them. McGary’s investigation of the murders also leads her to Europe where there is evidence that some Americans that have been abducted are being held. Both paths lead to a secret medical facility where studies are being conducted under the direction of the Nazis.

Von Sturm has had affairs with both McGary and Waterman and still carries deep feelings for both women. When he finds Waterman under threat, he steps in to rescue the young woman. In doing so he risks the deadly retribution of both colleagues and his employers if they find out. He feels honor bound to do what he can to save Waterman’s siblings.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 11+ hours I spent reading this 400 page historical thriller. I have enjoyed the three major characters in the novels, as well as the other real people of the era that are woven into the story. While this isn’t a true WWII story, it deals with real factors that lead up to the war. The cover art is OK, but an image of one of the Pitcairn autogiro craft that Cockran and McGrady repeatedly use would have been better in my opinion. 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 Berlin Affair”

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Book ReviewsWWIIWWII Timeline – “The Berlin affair” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by David Boyle. Mr. Boyle has 12 publications. This is the first in his “Xanthe Schneider Enigma 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 ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence, Mature Language, and Mature Situations. The story is set in England and Germany during 1940. The primary character is the young American woman Xanthe Schneider.

Schneider is recruited by British intelligence to travel to German in the guise of an American reporter. She is to determine if Ralph Lancing-Price, a former British government minister, is still a patriot to England or a traitor.

She finds more in Germany than she bargains for: Information about the secret German ‘Enigma’ coding device is revealed to her; She develops a romantic relationship with Lancing-Price; and Germany begins to mobilize its armies.

I thought the 3+ hours I spent reading this 121 page World War II spy thriller was interesting. This wasn’t a very compelling read. The story seemed to just amble along. I think it would have been better if it had been expanded into a full novel. The cover art is OK, but not very closely related to the story. I give this novella a 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).

Review of “The DeValera Deception

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Book Reviews – “The DeValera Deception” eBook was published in 2018 (the original paper edition was published in 2010) and was written by Michael McMenamin and Patrick McMenamin (http://www.winstonchurchillthrillers.com). Mr. McMenamin has published seven novels and this is the first in their “Winston Churchill 1930s 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 ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence and Mature Situations. The story is set across North America in 1929.

Winston Churchill is traveling across Canada and the US. The Prime Minister, Ramsay MacDonald, asks him to discretely approach President Herbert Hoover to get assistance in stopping the sale of arms to the IRA. While a team of SIS agents is dispatched to investigate, Churchill decides to rely on his own resources. He recruits his goddaughter, Mattie McGary, who is a reporter for the Hearst newspapers and Bourke Cockran a lawyer and son of one of Churchill’s former mentors.

While Cockran develops a strong love interest in McGary, he also mistrusts her and Hearst. The two are able to discover quite a bit about the IRA plot, but they find themselves in dangerous situations time and again. Cockran is distracted by the presence in the US of the IRA agent responsible for the death of his first wife. He struggles to keep his focus on the arms deal instead of seeking revenge.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 9.5 hours I spent reading this 415 page period thriller. I liked the characters of Cockran and McGary, as well as the real historical figures that the authors have woven into the story. I like the cover art selected for the novel. 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 “Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: For Honor”

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Book Reviews – “Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: For Honor” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Jeff Rovin (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeff_Rovin). Mr. Rovin has published nearly 50 novels as well as several non-fiction and biographies.

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. At the height of the cold war Russian nuclear weapons were quietly put into place in a remote East Russian fishing village.

Now decades later the Russian military is making a deal to sell the warheads to the Iranians. Op Center steps in to stop the sale. Their efforts are challenged by opposition within the White House and the FBI.

This was an interesting read of 8+ hours for this 352 page thriller. The cover art is OK, but something closer to the story plot would have been better in my opinion. 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 “Jian”

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Book Reviews – “Jian” eBook was published in 2017 (original paper edition was published in 1985) and was written by Eric Van Lustbader (https://www.ericvanlustbader.com). Mr. Lustbader has published nearly 50 novels. This is the first of his two “China Maroc” books.

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 Hong Kong.

Jake Maroc is a top agent for a US agency. Nichiren is an assassin as well as Maroc’s adversary. She Zilin is a Communist minister. All three are struggling to become the Jian – the ultimate master of strength and wisdom. Who will survive the scheme that has set them against one another? Who will control Hong Kong?

This was a good thriller. I have read many of Van Lustbader’s novels and I have liked them all. 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 “Prisoner in the Castle”

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Book ReviewsWorld War IIWorld War II Timeline – “Prisoner in the Castle” eBook was published in 2018 (August) and was written by Susan Elia MacNeal (http://www.susaneliamacneal.com). Ms. MacNeal has published eight novels in her ‘Maggie Hope Mystery’ series. This is the eighth 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 and Mature Language. The story is set in Scotland during World War II. The primary character is Maggie Hope, a former British spy.

Hope has been sent to a castle on a remote Scottish island because she has become aware of the plans for D-Day. She and a hand full of others from the intelligence community are there to set out the war where they cannot reveal sensitive information that they have come across.

Soon after a new resident arrives, members of their small community begin to die. At first, the deaths seem like accidents, but before long it is obvious that there is a killer amongst them. Not only are they living with a killer, but the evidence indicates that there is a German spy on the island after Allied secrets.

I really enjoyed the 8 hours I spent reading this 320 page World War II-era mystery/thriller. While this is one of a series, it reads well as a stand-alone novel. I liked the characters in the novel. I would like to go back and read earlier novels in the series, and I will certainly be looking for future additions. 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).

Review of “Dark Territory”

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Book Reviews – “Dark Territory” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Leo J. Maloney (http://leojmaloney.com). Mr. Maloney has published eight novels.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novella as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set mostly aboard the Trans-Siberian Railway. The primary character is young Alex Morgan.

Morgan may be a very young woman, but she is also a very experienced and competent operative, for a very secret US organization. She is on her way home from a mission when she is inadvertently sucked into a plot to blackmail the US and Russian governments for millions. Will she be able to stop the plot before aircraft target her train?

I thought that this was a pretty good 2.5 hour read for this thriller novella. While it is part of the “Dan Morgan” thriller series, it really focusses on his daughter, Alex. The cover art is OK, but I think something with the train would have been more appropriate. 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).