Tag Archives: Suspense

Book Review – The Secret She Kept

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – J.S. Ellis https://joannewritesbooks.com is the author of eight novels. The Secret She Keptwas published in 2020. This was the 98th 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 twenty-five-year-old Anthony Hughes.

Lottie Gibson had been Anthony’s close friend, only now she is dead. A few days before her death, she had loaned him her laptop. As he looks over her machine, he discovers more than 20 videos recorded by Lottie. They go back nearly a year, and in them, Anthony discovers secrets his friend had been hiding. Anthony realizes that he had not known the real Lottie.

Anthony thinks Lottie had lent him the laptop as insurance. She knew that she was in danger. Anthony cannot decide what to do. He should turn the computer in to the police. Instead, he slowly watches the videos and begins to follow the clues Lottie has left.

I enjoyed the 4.5 hours I spent reading this 238-page mystery. It has a slow pace, and the plot is weak. The story is told in the first person by the Anthony character. The cover art is not very eye-catching, but it is consistent with the plot. I give this novel a rating of 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 – The Blitz Detective

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Mike Hollow https://blitzdetective.com is the author of seven novels. The Blitz Detective: The intricate wartime murder mystery was published in 2020 and is the first book of his Blitz Detective series. The novel was first published under the name Direct Hit. This was the 97th 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 minor violence, I categorize this novel as PG. The primary character is Detective Inspector John Jago.

Jago is a veteran of the Great War and has been with the police since 1919. It is early September 1940 with Jago now 42. Britain has been at war for over a year. The Luftwaffe has begun bombing London, the Blitz has begun.

A body is discovered in an unmarked van. Jago is called to the scene and recognizes the body. It is a local Justice of the Peace, Charles Villiers.

Before evidence can be gathered, the air raid sirens blare out the warning of approaching German aircraft. A random git by a German bomb obliterates the van and what evidence it might have held.

The death looked suspicious to Jago. He begins to investigate. His focus is disrupted by the assignment to provide assistance to a journalist. This is not one of the regular London crowd, but an American woman, Dorothy Appleton. At first, he considers her a nuisance, but he becomes attracted to her as time passes.

Villiers held a position of power and had his share of enemies. The investigation uncovers secrets held by Villiers. It also divulges criminal attempts to profit from the war. Jago and his partner, DC Peter Cradock, must face danger from more than the German Blitz.

I enjoyed the 7+ hours I spent reading this 328-page WWII-era mystery. I found myself reminded of the BBC TV series Foyle’s War. The novel paints a vivid picture of war-torn London. It is a little slow, but still an enjoyable read. I give this novel a rating of 3.9 (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).


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 600 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 – 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 – Enola Holmes and the Elegant Escapade

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Nancy Springer https://www.nancyspringer.com is the author of more than 50 novels. Enola Holmes and the Elegant Escapade was published in 2022 and is the second book in this series. This was the 89th 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! I categorize this novel as G.

As the title implies, Sherlock’s younger teen sister, Enola Holmes, is the primary character. She is now living on her own in London and has established herself as a scientific perditorian. She is the one to engage if you want persons or things found.

When she finds her good friend Lady Cecily Alastair is again in trouble, Enola acts to assist her. The poor young woman is dominated by her father. Even her mother is strictly kept under his control. While Cecily’s rescue is successful, the young woman soon leaves the safety of Enola’s office and disappears.

Being a young and relatively naive aristocrat, London is dangerous. Enola realizes the situation is more dire when she discovers that Cecily suffers from a split personality. Sometimes Cecily is confident and independent. At other times she is timid and naive.

Can Enola find her friend before she falls prey to the darker side of London?

I enjoyed the 4 hours I spent reading this 155-page young adult mystery. The book is short. More of a novella than a novel. I have read the first novel in the series, Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche. I actually thought that book was a little better than this one. Both books have a weak plot, most likely because they are targeted at young adults. The cover art is well chosen for this novel. I give this novel a rating of 3.3 (rounded down to a 3) out of 5.

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

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).