Tag Archives: Mystery

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).

Book Review – The Guilty Girl

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Patricia Gibney https://patriciagibney.com is the author of almost a dozen novels. The Guilty Girl was published in 2022 and is the 11th novel in her Detective Lottie Parker 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 Irish Garda Detective Lottie Parker.

Parker is called to the murder scene of a teenage girl. With her parents out of town, the 17-year-old Lucy McAllister throws a party. Her body is discovered the next morning. The initial evidence points towards another teen, Hannah Byrne.

Three factors complicate the investigation. The suspect, Hannah, was apparently drugged and has only limited memory of the party. The body of another teen is discovered. The 15-year-old boy had been at the party and is thought to have been selling drugs. Then Parker finds that her own son had been at the party as well.

Can Parker discover who is behind the murders before more teens fall victim? How deeply is her son involved? Is he a witness? Will he be targeted by the killer?

I enjoyed the 10.5 hours I spent reading this 507-page mystery. This is the second novel that I have read that was written by Ms. Gibney. The first was The Stolen Girls. I have enjoyed both of these mysteries and will be looking toward reading more of them in the future. I like the chosen cover art, but it doesn’t strike a chord in relation to the story. 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 – Glass Dolls

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Daisy E. White https://daisywhiteauthor.co.uk/ is the author of nearly a dozen novels. Glass Dolls was published in 2020 and is the first in her Detective Dove Milson 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, I categorize this novel as R. The primary character is 36-year-old Detective Constable Dove Milson. She has just been reassigned to a Major Crimes Team.

The naked body of a teenage girl has been found near the Devon coast. The corpse has been encased in glass, replicating the methods of convicted serial killer Peter Hayworth. But he is long dead. Milson bears a personal connection to the serial killer. Four years earlier, her niece was one of Hayworth’s victims. Milson herself was seriously injured while pursuing Hayworth.

As she and her new partner, Detective Sargent Steve Parker, begin their investigation, Milson’s other niece, Delta, goes missing. By then, the body of a second naked girl enclosed in glass has been found. The fear is that Delta will become the next Glass Doll. Not only must they find the killer, but they have to find Delta before it is too late.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 8 hours I spent reading this 298-page mystery. It was a very smooth read with a few good plot twists. This is the second novel my Ms. White I have read. The other being Remember Me. She is a consistently good writer. I will be looking for more novels by Ms. White. I do like the chosen 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 – Death in Delft

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Graham Brack https://grahambrackauthor.com is the author of more than a dozen novels. Death in Delft was published in 2020. It is the first book of six in his Master Mercurius Mysteries novel series.

I received an ARC of this book through https://www.netgalley.com with the expectation of delivering a fair and honest review. I categorize this book/novel as G. The main character is Master Mercurius, a cleric from a University in Leiden.

The mystery is set in the Netherlands of 1671, where three young girls have disappeared. The Mayor of Delft has reached out for assistance in the investigation. Mercurius is sent to offer what learned assistance he can. Only one body has been found, so there is still an active hunt for the two other girls.

Mercurius must hunt for clues and try to locate the girls. It is feared that their bodies might soon be found as well.

While this is not a hard-core mystery, I enjoyed the 7+ hours I spent reading this 245-page novel of historical fiction. The author does paint a good description of medieval Europe. This novel reminds me of the Cadfael mysteries by Ellis Peters, though those are a bit grittier. The cover art is plain, but appropriate for the novel. I give this novel a rating of 4 out of 5.

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

Book Review: The stolen Girls

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Patricia Gibney https://patriciagibney.com is the author of seven novels. The novel The Stolen Girls was published in 2017. It is the second book in the Detective Lottie Parker 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, mature situations, and mature language, I categorize this novel as ‘R’. The primary character is Irish Garda Detective Lottie Parker.

Parker is facing many issues in her personal life. She became a widow only four years before. Involvement in an earlier investigation has traumatized her three children.

One day a foreign woman appears at Parker’s door asking for help but then disappears. Later, the body of a young woman is found. More bodies and missing women follow. A close friend of Parker’s teenage daughter has gone missing. Could there be a connection?

One suspect implies that Parker’s deceased husband is somehow linked. The Garda has a suspect, but Parker doesn’t think he is responsible. Can she find the killer before there are more bodies?

I enjoyed the 9.5 hours I spent reading this 465-page mystery. While this novel reads OK on its own, it would be better to start reading with the first novel in the series. The cover art is a bit drab, but the story is also a little dark. It seems to fit. I give this novel a rating of 4 out of 5.

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

Book Review: “The Agency”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author Monica McGurk https://monicamcgurk.com published the novel The Agency earlier this month. This is the first book in her Norwood Nanny Chronicles series and her fourth novel.

I received an ARC of this book through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this book as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of violence. The primary character is Briana B. ‘Bree’ Parrish.

Parrish has just arrived at Norwood College in the UK. She is an orphan from Alabama and is there on a full scholarship. Norwood is an elite school in the UK for young women to train as nannies. She is the first and only American to be admitted to Norwood. She and her assigned study group struggle to successfully complete their first half-year and be included in the exclusive certificate program.

They all knew that Norwood trained world-class nannies. To their surprise, they discover that it also trains spies for MI6. As they undertake their first training mission, it becomes apparent they may be a traitor in their midst. Parris is a suspect in the failure of their mission. She can trust no one and wants to uncover the traitor to clear her name. She also wants to find out more about her own past. Both of those goals lead to her being in life-threatening situations.

I enjoyed the 9.5 hours I spent reading this 362-page young adult thriller. I was surprised that the book was labeled a Middle-Grade Mystery / Thriller. It contains violence and drinking, as well as implied mature situations. The plot was not very complex, but it is a young adult novel. I did enjoy it and will be looking for sequels to the series. I like the chosen cover art. I give this novel a rating of 4 out of 5.

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

Book Review: “Our Trespasses”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author Michael Cordell https://michaeljcordell.com published the novel “Our Trespasses” in October of 2021. This is his second novel. Read my interview with the author.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this book as ‘R’ as it contains scenes of violence and mature language. The main character of the novel is Matthew Davis.

Davis is flipping burgers in a New York diner when he has a psychic flash. He had always had a close connection to his twin brother, Jake. This time he knows his brother has died a violent death. Surprisingly, death does not break the psychic link to his brother. He continues to receive messages from Jake in the afterlife.

Davis travels to his hometown of Hatchett in remote Nebraska for the funeral. He also hopes to find out what happened to his brother. He is mistaken for Jake more than once, and Jake had enemies. Jake had developed into an evil man after Davis left. Davis also encounters an old flame he had left behind 10 years earlier when he moved on.

Now Davis has more to deal with than what and who he left behind. He must find a way to sever the connection with Jake. The torments of Hell are using the psychic connection to break through to our world.

I enjoyed the 6+ hours I spent reading this 247-page mystery and thriller. With the paranormal angle, the novel reminds me of one of Dean Koontz’s works. The cover art is a bit dismal, but relates to the novel. I rate this book as 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).

Book Review: “Closing Time”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author Brenda Chapman https://brendachapman.ca published the novel “Closing Time” in 2020. She has published more than 20 novels. This is the seventh and final novel in her Stonechild and Rouleau Mystery series.

I received an ARC of this book through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this book as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of violence. The primary character is police officer Kala Stonechild.

Stonechild has taken her niece on a canoe trip in the wilderness north of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada. They are staying in a cabin at Pine Hollow Lodge. They had only been there a short time before Rachel Eglan disappeared. Rachel was a 16-year-old who worked at the Lodge as a waitress. After her body is found, her death is determined to be from foul play. Because of her expertise, an official request is made for Stonechild to assist in the investigation. Stonechild is an officer on the Kingston Major Crimes team.

Part of the reason for Stonechild taking the trip is to reevaluate her career and her relationship with fellow Kingston officer Paul Gundersund. She is surprised at the Lodge by a prior romantic interest and local police officer, Clark Harrison.

At first, there seem to be no motives for Rachel’s death. The more questions the investigators ask, the more it appears that everyone seems to be hiding something. The deaths do not stop with young Rachel. Stonechild forges ahead with the investigation while dealing with her own issues.

I enjoyed the 7.5 hours I spent reading this 392-page mystery. I enjoyed this mystery, but I feel that the killer’s identity was revealed too early. I had not read any of the other books in the series, but this one stood up well on its own. The cover is a bit dark and dismal but relates to the story. I rate this book as a 4 out of 5.

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

Book Review: “Enola Holmes”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author Nancy Springer https://www.nancyspringer.com published the book “Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche” in 2021. This is the seventh book in her Enola Holmes series. This book was released today, August 31, 2021. She has published more than 50 works.

I received an ARC of this book through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this book as ‘G’. The primary character in the book is teen Enola Holmes. The much younger sister of the famous Sherlock and Mycroft.

As young as she is, Enola is a very independent woman and every bit as smart as her older brothers. She has also inherited her brothers’ intelligence and powers of deduction. A young woman, Letitia Glover, shows up asking for Holme’s help. Glover received a letter from her brother-in-law that her twin sister had died. She has been unable to learn anything from the widowed Earl of Dunhench. Glover wants to know what happened.

While Holmes does not seem overly interested, Enola jumps into the investigation. She is soon undercover in the Earl’s household. She discovers that the Earl’s first wife also died under unusual circumstances. Enola is sure that there is something amiss.

I enjoyed the 3.5+ hours I spent reading this 259-page period mystery. The book is short. The book is more of a novella than a novel. The book does read much like the original Sherlock Holmes stories. But this mystery is not too difficult. Ms. Springer mostly targets young adults so that can be somewhat expected. If you have access to Netflix you will find their production of an Enola Holmes mystery movie. I do like the chosen cover art. 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).

Book Review: “Tidal Rage”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author David Evans published the novel “Tidal Rage” in 2021. This is Mr. Evan’s first publication. 

I obtained this novel through promotion by the publisher. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of violence, mature situations, and mature language. The story is predominantly set on cruise ships. The primary character is Max Cutler an experienced Secret Service agent. 

Sebastian McKenzie is a very odd man. He is also a brilliant musician so his eccentricities are overlooked. He is part Asian and has an unusual look. He has spent years at sea being the star performer on one cruise ship after another. He doesn’t stay too long on any one ship. He isn’t very social but that isolation suits him well. He is an accomplished serial killer that no one knows exists. His first murder was of a neighbor girl as a child. Now his victim tally is in double digits. He has discovered that deaths at sea fall into a gray area. The next port of call handles the investigations. Missing passengers are often attributed to suicide or just wanting to disappear. The cruise lines just want any bad publicity to go away.  

Cutler has been working in Europe with Interpol. The case he is completing has put ex-Stasi agent Josef Werner behind bars. Werner has been making millions counterfeiting US currency. Cutler’s work on the case is disrupted when his 18-year-old sister Elisa disappears. She has been on a cruise with their parents. Cutler takes a leave of absence and flies to Alaska to meet his parents. The gray area on crimes at sea emerges as he begins his investigation. He resigns from the Secret Service and forms his own investigation agency to focus on crimes at sea.

Werner uses his organization and wealth to arrange an escape from custody. Cutler’s attention is fixed on the tragedies his family has suffered. Even with the disappearance of his sister he has not forgotten about Werner. He has a new employee looking for Werner. Cutler and his team must face challenges from many fronts. He wants to bring both Werner and those behind his sister’s disappearance to justice. He has no idea when he begins his quests that these two vastly separate investigations will come together.

I enjoyed the 8.5+ hours I spent reading this 297-page thriller. There were a few ‘technical errors’ in the story and the writing is not the best. That said the story is a very enjoyable thriller and a quick read. The selected cover art is appropriate 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).