Tag Archives: Mystery

Book Review of “A Blind Goddess”

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Book ReviewsWWII – “A Blind Goddess” eBook was published in 2014 and was written by James R. Benn. Mr. Benn has published 10 novels all in the “Billy Boyle WWII Mystery” series, with this being the 8th in the series.

I purchased this novel and read it on my Nook reader. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in World War II England. The primary character is Captain Billy Boyle, a former Boston Detective. Now Boyle is on General Eisenhower’s staff, handling investigations and special projects that need careful processing.

Boyle is sent to investigate the death of British citizen found outside a small hotel. He is involved, ostensibly, because a US Army Sergeant is romantically involved with the daughter of the owners. Boyle finds though that there is much that has not been revealed to him about the situation.

Boyle also had a side investigation of his own when a former friend from Boston comes to him. One of his crew members has been arrested for a murder he says he didn’t commit. This is complicated because the friend is serving in an all black unit and there are racial issues to be considered. Then Boyle is drawn into the search for a local girl who has disappeared.

Are these three separate crimes or are they somehow connected?

I thoroughly enjoyed the 8+ hours I spent reading this 336 page Mystery set in World War II. While this one had little to actually connect it to the War other than the time period, the US military presence in England is a major factor in the story. I liked the plot and how Benn has woven into his story many facts from the period. The cover art is OK as it relates to one part of the story. 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).

Book Review of “Cry Spy”

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Book Reviews – “Cry Spy” eBook was published in 2016 (original paper edition was published in 1990) and was written by William Hood. Mr. Hood published five books, all in the espionage/spy genre.

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 duing the height of the cold war. The main character is retired American spy Alan Trosper.

The death of Trosper’s friend, Peter Gandy, starts Trosper on the path of finding out who killed him and why. Gandy was a retired spy who was poisoned using methods attributed to Russia.

Trosper follows one clue after another until he finally finds a connection to who he thinks was behind the assassination. This is a story of tactics and well thought out strategies, no high tech toys. This is a story of people and takes a more realistic look at the world of espionage and counter intelligence that is usually seen.

I enjoyed the 8 hours I spent reading this 303 page Mystery/Spy Thriller. It is more of an ‘old-school’ spy tale. It doesn’t have a lot of excitement, but it is a very engaging novel. I thought that the plot was well thought out and did not have many predictable twists. While it was written over 25 years ago, it still reads well. The cover art is OK. 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 “Death’s Door”

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Book Reviews – “Death’s Door” eBook was published in 2012 and was written by James R. Benn (http://www.jamesrbenn.com). Mr. Benn has published 10 novels in his “Billy Boyle World War II Mystery” series. This is the seventh book in the series.

I purchased this novel through Barnes & Nobles for the Nook reader. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in and around Vatican City during 1944. The primary character is Billy Boyle, an American Army Lieutenant.

Rome is occupied by the German army, but the Vatican City has not been invaded. An American monsignor living in the Vatican is murdered. Boyle, along with his sidekick, Polish Baron Lieutenant Piotr “Kaz” Kazimierz, are smuggled into the Vatican under orders to find the murderer. This is a windfall for Boyle, as his girlfriend, Diana Seaton, who had been undercover for the British as a nun at the Vatican, has been arrested. Boyle sees the assignment as an opportunity to rescue her, as well as solve the murder.

Boyle finds the Vatican to be far more complicated than his time as a Catholic alter boy prepared him for. There are many different factions within the Vatican. Not all support the liberation by the Allies. Boyle also finds himself confronted by German agents and old adversaries .

I thoroughly enjoyed the 10+ hours I spent reading this World War II Mystery. I have now read the first seven books in the series and have enjoyed them all. I like the characters of Boyle and Kaz, as well as the other continuing characters in the series. The cover art does give the impression of intrigue between the church and Germany. 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).

Preview of “The Alienist”

Trailers – The TNT channel has announced a new series called ‘The Alienist’ based upon the book of the same name written by Caleb Carr. This is a period mystery set at the end of the 19th century. The official synopsis is:

The psychological thriller drama is set in 1896, when a series of gruesome murders of boy prostitutes has gripped the city. Newly appointed top cop Teddy Roosevelt calls upon Dr. Laszlo Kreizler (Brühl), a criminal psychologist — aka alienist — and newspaper illustrator John Moore (Evans) to conduct the investigation in secret. Joining them in the probe is Sara Howard (Fanning), a headstrong secretary at Police Headquarters.

Based upon this preview, this may be a very good series. Unfortunately, there is no date set yet as to when we will be able to begin watching.

Review of “The Golden Gate”

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Book Reviews – “The Golden Gate” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Robert Buettner (http://www.robertbuettner.com). Mr. Buettner has published nine 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 scenes of Violence. The story is set in contemporary California. The main characters are retired Lieutenant Ben Sheppard who is now on the staff of a senior Senator just appointed as head of Homeland Security. The other primary character is veteran reporter Kate Boyle.

The two are brought together when Manuel Colibri, the world’s richest man is attacked while driving home across the Golden Gate Bridge. At first it is thought to be an act of terrorism, which is how Sheppard gets involved. Boyle gets involved when her father, a retired lawyer, is asked to investigate the incident. The more information that is gathered, the stranger the case becomes.

I enjoyed the just shy of 6 hours I spent reading this Science Fiction Mystery. It is mostly a Mystery with a touch of Romance. I liked the characters and the plot. The cover art is good and implies a ‘James Bond’ like character, which Sheppard turns out to be in a way. 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 “Lost Girls”

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Book Review – “Lost Girls” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Merrie Destefano (http://www.merriedestefano.com). Ms. Stefano has published seven 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 set in the US. High School Junior Rachel wakes up in a ditch. She soon learns that she has been missing for two weeks. The worst part is that she can’t remember anything that has happened to her over the past year. The last thing she remembers is falling asleep in her room listening to music during her Sophomore year.

She discovers that over the past year, before the kidnapping, she had changed. She is astonished to find that she is romantically involved with a guy she would have been too timid to talk to before. She slowly investigates her own life, surprised at what she learns about herself. Slowly too, she begins to remember bits and pieces of the past year. She finds out that she is not the only lost girl, but she is the only one that has turned up alive.

The more she uncovers, she realizes that there has been a very dark side to her life over the past year. She also realizes that she has been involved with some very scary people. Will she remember how she was kidnapped and be able to save some of the other missing girls, or will her kidnappers find her again.

This was an interesting 6.5 hour read of a Young Adult Mystery. While there was romance, there was also a lot of dark, dangerous events in Rachel’s life. The plot certainly headed in unexpected directions as the story unfolds. The cover art is OK, but doesn’t really relate to the story being told. 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 “Sherlock Holmes and the Eisendorf Enigma”

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Book Reviews – “Sherlock Holmes and the Eisendorf Enigma” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Larry Millett (https://www.larrymillett.com/). Mr. Millett has published more than a dozen books and including several “Holmes Mysteries”.

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 mostly in the small town of Eisendorf, Minnesota, but some is spent in Munich, Germany as well.

As expected Sherlock Holmes is the primary character. It is 1920 and the 66 year old Holmes has mostly retired. He travels to Minnesota to visit the Mayo clinic seeking treatment of his growing breathing problems. While there he receives a cryptic message from a former foe, the “Monster of Munich”. The message invites Holmes to the small, remote town of Eisendorf.

Holmes had been unable to catch the Monster back in Munich of 1892. Now he both sees an opportunity to conclude that case as well as solve some unusual deaths in Eisendorf. Eisendorf proves to be a challenge. The town is tight lipped and the town and its inhabitants seem to harbor many secrets.

Holmes faces challenges as well as threats. Will he be able to identify the killer? Will he survive the encounter and his failing health?

I enjoyed the 7 hours I spent reading this 240 page Mystery. This Holmes is very much like Doyle’s original, though much older,  I thought that the plot was well played out and the solution was not obvious. I would certainly consider reading other of Millett’s Holmes novels. The cover art is OK, giving the impression of the dark, forested location of Eisendorf. 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 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).