Tag Archives: Mystery

Review of “The Candidate”

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Book Reviews – “The Candidate” eBook was published in 2016 and was written by Lisa Wiehl (http://liswiehlbooks.com). Ms. Wiehl has published 14 novels. This is the second in her “Newsmakers” 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 ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set across the contemporary US. The primary character is journalist Erica Sparks, a top-rated cable news host.

Time is approaching for the parties to choose their presidential candidates. Sparks is on location where two potential candidates are to have a debate before their party’s convention. A bomber strikes and a candidate, along with many others, are killed. The remaining candidate, Mike Ortiz, is now guaranteed his party’s nomination.

Sparks begins to have questions about Ortiz. On the surface he is a strong candidate, but the more she digs into his background the more questions she has. As she seeks assistance from others to investigate Ortiz, many die under questionable circumstances.

Can Sparks confirm her fears before the election and will she be able to bring the truth to the American people?

I enjoyed the 6+ hours I spent reading this 348 page Mystery Thriller. I liked the character of Sparks and those regulars around her. I thought that the plot concept of a presidential candidate who is possibly under someone’s control was interesting. There were twists and turns in the plot keeping me very involved with the story. While I think that the ending could have been stronger, I liked the novel. The cover art is OK, implying Washington intrigue. 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).

Review of “And Then She Was Gone”

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Book Reviews – “And Then She Was Gone” eBook was published in 2016 and was written by Christopher Greyson (https://www.christophergreyson.com). Mr. Greyson has published 7 novels. This is the first in his “Detective Jack Stratton” 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 ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in the contemporary US. The primary character is 18 year old Jack Stratton.

Stratton has recently graduated from High School and is enjoying his summer. He, and his best friend Chandler, have enlisted in the Army and are just waiting to report to boot camp. His goal is to serve his enlistment then return and attend college. Ultimately, he wants to be a police officer.

A woman disappears and before long a neighbor of Stratton is arrested for her murder. Stratton’s foster mother asks him to look into the case to prove the neighbor’s innocence. Stratton and Chandler dig into the case and run up against police that see them as interfering at the best and involved somehow at the worst.

It becomes a question of whether they will be able to find the real killer without getting themselves in so deep that their military service will be in jeopardy.

I enjoyed the 7+ hours I spent reading this 262 page Mystery. While it was not identified as such, it had the feel of a Young Adult novel. I liked the characters in the story and the plot was well developed, with several viable suspects until near the end of the story. The cover art is appropriate, showing the victim being confronted by her murderer. 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).

Review of “Dragon Twins”

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Book Review – “Dragon Twins” eBook was published in 2013 and was written by Allison Cosgrove (https://stanbrookshire.com). Ms Cosgrove has published five novels. This is the second in her ‘Stan Brookshire’ 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 ‘PG’ because it contains a little Mature Language and some Violence. The story is set in contemporary times but in a fictitious city. The primary characters are Detectives Stan Brookshire and Jane Trinity.

The Detectives get called in on a case where a housekeeper has been murdered and an young girl has been kidnapped. They are unable to turn any leads in the Chinese family’s friends or business contacts. Soon there is another similar case of murder and attempted abduction.

The Detectives believe that they cases are related in some way, but at first find little evidence. Ultimately one of them takes a big risk to themselves in an attempt to rescue the girl.

I wasn’t sorry that I spent 4.5 hours reading this 304 page Mystery, but it was not one of the better ones that I have read. It was a watered down Mystery with little action. It also has some major flaws in the story: international travel without passports, taking a gun into China and having total free movement within China. The cover art is OK, but really doesn’t give you much of an insight to what the book is about. I’m not sure I would read another book in this series. I give this novel a 2.8 (rounded up to a 3) out of 5.

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

Review of “Translucid”

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Book Review – “Translucid” eBook was published in 2016 and was written by Zen DiPietro. Ms. DiPietro has published 9 novels. This is the first in her “Dragonfire Station” 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 ‘PG’ because it contains mild scenes of Violence and Mature Situations. The story is set in the far future. The main characters is Emé Fallon, the security chief of Dragonfire Station.

She wakes up from an accident without any memory of who she is, though strangely she remembers all of her skills. As the looks into her accident, she begins to feel that it was more likely the result of tampering with her shuttle.

She has many suspects, as she remembers no one. Her wife, the Captain of the station, her second in command – the list is endless. She does begin to discover things, and she gradually finds some people that she thinks she can trust. The more she digs, the more signs she sees that her injury was not from an accident, and that it is likely part of some much larger plot.

I really liked this 275 page Science Fiction novel. There is a bit of Mystery and Intrigue, as well as a little action. There is a bit of romance between Fallon and her wife. I liked the plot line of the story and the characters that populated it. It looks to be a good start to a series. The cover art is reasonable, as most of the story takes place on the depicted Dragonfire Station. I give this novel a 4.7 (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 “A Curious Beginning”

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Book Review – “A Curious Beginning” eBook was published in 2015 and was written by Deanna Raybourn (http://www.deannaraybourn.com). Ms. Raybourn has published nearly 20 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 minor scenes of Violence. The story is set in 1887 London. The primary character is orphan Veronica Speedwell, a young woman who has just been left on her own with the death of her aunt. She is an accomplished lepidopterist (she hunts butterflies) and a naturalist.

She returns home from the funeral to catch a strange man searching her aunt’s home. Avoiding him, she soon encounters a German Barron with whom she sets off for London. While she seems oblivious to any real threat to herself, the Barron convinces her to stay with his friend Stoker for her own safety.

This begins and adventure for Stoker and Speedwell. There is murder, mystery and revelations of Speedwell’s past. Stoker and Speedwell verbally clash again and again, yet there is a chemistry between them.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 9+ hours I spent reading this Historical Mystery. I liked the characters of both Speedwell and Stoker, though for being so smart, Speedwell took far too long to be convinced of her own predicament. I liked that the story was set in late 19th century London. While the cover art does nothing to indicate a mystery, it does give a feel for the period. This is a series that I want to read more of. 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 “The Jekyll Revelation”

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Book Review – “The Jekyll Revelation” eBook was published in 2016 and was written by Robert Masello (http://www.robertmasello.com). Mr. Masello has published 17 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 and Mature Situations. The story is set in the 1880s and present day. The primary character in the 1880’s portion is the well known author Robert Louis Stevenson. The modern portion of the story centers on environmental scientist Rafael Salazar.

For Stevenson, the story begins with his journey to a Swiss clinic for treatment of his tuberculosis. The doctor is a bit odd and the treatment strange, though effective. Stevenson discovers that the medication he is being given comes from an astonishing and sickening source. He also finds himself altered when he takes the medication.

Salazar is studying coyotes in California. His efforts at both his research and love life are hampered by a local gang and their followers. While trying to track his coyotes, he discovers an old trunk that had been submerged in a pond until the drought hit. Inside the trunk he discovers an old journal. The journal proves to be Sevenson’s.

Stevenson is able to publish several works after his hospital stay, including ’The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’. As a play based on the book opens in London, Jack the Ripper begins his terror. The similarity to Stevenson’s Hyde draws the attention of Scotland Yard. Stevenson must evade several dangerous situations and eventually discovers the identity of The Ripper.

Salazar must evade one dangerous situation after another. Though his work is under scrutiny and his grant may be cancelled at any moment, he continues to follow his coyotes. He also reads, and is astonished by, the tale Stevenson has recorded.

I thought that the 10.5 hours I spent with this 493 page novel were interesting. There was some action, but for the most part this was a book on the slow side. I guess that Mystery categorizes this better than any other tag, with a bit of Horror and Science Fiction thrown in. I liked the way Stevenson and Salazar were presented, though I think more could have been done with the Salazar character. The cover art is OK, but doesn’t really give any insight to the story. I give this novel 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 “Gone Girl”

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Book Review – “Gone Girl” eBook was published in 2012 and was written by Gillian Flynn (http://gillian-flynn.com). Ms. Flynn has published four novels.

We purchased this novel as it was such a hit and eventually became a movie. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Mature Situations and Mature Language. The story is set in North Carthage, Missouri. The main characters are Nick and Amy Dunne.

The Dunne’s are about to celebrate their 5th wedding anniversary when Amy simply disappears. Searches turn up no trace of where she is. Then evidence begins to trickle in that points the police at Nick and the likely murder of Amy. Soon though you learn what really is happening. Little more can be said about the plot without giving spoilers.

I wasn’t certain about this novel. I invested just shy of 10 hours reading this 578 page Mystery. I did not find the beginning very engaging, but I persisted and found the story evolving in ways I had not expected. I liked how the chapters altered between the perspectives of Nick and Amy. The plot did take some very unexpected turns, which was the only reason I kept reading the novel. I was not very satisfied with the ending. The story stopped more than came to a conclusion. Nor did I come to really like either of the primary characters. The cover art is plain and does not give much insight 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).

Review of “Night School”

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Book Review – “Night School” eBook was published in 2016 and was written by Lee Child (http://www.leechild.com). Mr. Child has published 21 novels. All “Jack Reacher” thrillers. This is the latest in that 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 1996 and located mostly in Germany, though some is in the US. The primary character, as might be expected, is US Army Major Jack Reacher.

Reacher is a member of the US Army Military Police. At the beginning of the story he is assigned to a until that is very quietly being assembled to thwart the sale of something to Muslim extremists for $100 million. They don’t know who is selling it or what it is. Their only lead is an apartment in Germany with four young Muslim men.

Reacher and the small assembled team pursue many paths in their investigation before they finally believe they have found the who and the what. Their efforts are somewhat disrupted by radical right wing elements within Germany. Along the way in the story Reacher finds a brief time to enjoy the company of an attractive woman that is part of the team.

I have not read any of the other Jack Reacher novels, but thoroughly enjoyed the 8 hours I spent reading this 385 page Mystery Thriller. The Reacher character is not necessarily a violent man, but he is more than willing to do what is needed to accomplish what he sees as his mission. Nor does he take threats from others lightly. Those that oppose his investigations are obstacles to be removed. I liked the Reacher character. The cover art is not very interesting. 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 “Beautiful Maids All in a Row”

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Book Review – “Beautiful Maids All in a Row” eBook was published 2016 and was written by Jennifer Harlow (http://www.jenniferharlowbooks.com). Ms. Harlow has published more than a dozen novels. This is the first in her “Iris Ballard” 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 the greater New York area of the US. The primary character is former FBI profiler Dr. Iris Ballard.

Ballard has been out of the FBI for a while. She had a very successful career until one of the serial killers she had helped track down attacked her, stabbing her in the stomach. He used her husband’s arrival to force her out of a locked bathroom. The killer murdered her husband, but before he could turn his gun on her, she overpowered and the killed him.
With the attack and death of her husband hanging over her, she resigned from the FBI and is teaching at a small college. She is barely making it though each day, relying heavily on alcohol and drugs.

Out of the blue her old FBI partner, and the one man she ever cheated on her husband with, shows up to ask for her help with the stalled investigation of a new serial killer. She doesn’t want to do it as it brings up too many old memories, but she has had a falling out with her department head at the university. She will need the money and is promised that her participation will be low key.

It takes her a few days to get back into the routine, but soon she is turning up new leads. They are still without suspects, when she convinces herself that the murderer they are after is a successful, high profile well respected man. It soon becomes a battle of wills between Ballard and the suspect. Still with little evidence, it becomes a question of if he will escape justice.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 7+ hours I spent reading this 305 page Mystery Thriller. The Ballard character is a little rough around the edges, but she is a great profiler. I enjoyed reading about her. I thought that the plot was both fast paced and engaging. The cover art is a little odd, but a reasonable choice. This is a series I will look forward to reading more of. 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 “Little Boy Blue”

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Book Review – “Little Boy Blue” eBook was published in 2016 and was written by M. J. Arlidge (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M._J._Arlidge). Mr. Arlidge has published six novels, this being the fifth in his “DI Helen Grace” 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 Southampton, UK with the primary character being Detective Inspector Helen Grace.

When a man is found dead under very strange circumstances, Grace and her team are called in to investigate. She is shocked when she discovers that the victim was her old S&M dominator. Fearing what will happen if the darker side of her life is discovered, she keeps her relationship quiet. Then a second man who she had also hired as a dominator is found dead.

The killer seems to be familiar with the S&M world. The clues are leading the police nowhere. Grace’s colleagues can sense strange behavior in Grace, but don’t know why. Emilia Garanita, a reported who has crossed paths with Grace before sees this case as an opportunity to both take revenge on Grace and write a sensational story. As the investigation evolves, Grace’s world gets turned upside down.

I thoroughly enjoyed the near 7 hours I spent with this 393 page Mystery. I have read four of the “Grace” novels and have enjoyed them all. Grace is a brilliant detective, but has a hidden dark side. I think that this is the best novel yet with twists of plot I had not expected. The cover art is OK, relating to a chase sequence towards the end of the novel. 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).