book reviews

Good Thrillers from NetGalley

NetGalley continues to deliver great reading material. Here are a few more I received from them that I loved:

  1. Target Acquired–the next in the Jack Ryan Jr. series
  2. The Investigator–a new series by the creator of Luke Davenport
  3. The Midnight Lock–Rhymes at his best, trying to stop the criminal who might be the #1 locksmith in the world
  4. The Island–Dewey Andreas again does the impossible with heart
–received free from NetGalley in return for an honest review
–a note about my reviews: I only review books I enjoyed. I need to be inspired to write. That’s why so many of my reviews are 4/5 or 5/5

Target Acquired

by Don Bentley for Tom Clancy

Target Acquired, Book 8 in Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan Jr. series, is one more of the burgeoning collection of series continued even after the original author’s death (for example, Ann Hillerman writing Tony Hillerman’s Navajo Mystery series and Sophie Hannah writing Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot). This is done by hiring good authors who agree to write in the style of the original author. With Tom Clancy, that is extremely difficult. He’s a master of international intrigue and known for including prodigious detail but making it interesting. There aren’t a lot of authors who can do that. Many have tried–Mark Greaney (famous for his Gray Man series), Grant Blackwood, Mike Maden–with mixed results. This particular series about the son of a president who works in dangerous fields is even more challenging.

In this story, Jack Ryan Jr (the President’s son) does a favor for a friend by helping a CIA team complete an easy job that gives him an opportunity for a vacation in the beautiful country of Israel. It might have been simple until Jack helps a woman and her special needs child to escape a kidnapper (or worse) and finds himself wrapped up in something much more dangerous than  originally planned.

Don Bentley does an excellent job of matching Clancy’s ability to create non-stop drama and characters you can’t get enough of. My only complaint is he includes a little more detail than needed and maybe to the point of being distracting (this is something Clancy did with strategic perfection). Many times, the action was interrupted by backstory and to flesh out details that were fascinating but to me distracting from the plot’s drama. By the time I was done with the diversion and returned to the life-and-death situation, I didn’t care nearly as much. Maybe that’s just me.

Overall, I give it a 4.5/5 (which is what Goodreads awards it) and I’ll round up to 5/5. If you enjoy this series, you’ll like this installment also.

The Investigator

by John Sandford


In this latest John Sandford thriller, The Investigator (G.P. Putnam’s Sons 2022), the star this time isn’t Minneapolis’ renowned crime fighter, Lucas Davenport but his brilliant and tenacious adopted daughter, Lettie. An old 24, graduated from Stanford and now working for a U.S. Senator, she is already bored of the government job she landed partly because of her famous father but just as much because of her own storied background. When the Senator offers her a change of venue, still investigating but in the field instead of an office, she wastes no time saying yes. With a mid-career former Marine as a partner, they are tasked with finding out why crude oil is being stolen from producers and what the huge amounts of money being generated by its sale is funding. Lettie proves she possesses her adoptive father’s 6th sense for connecting the dots and quickly links the money to a female-run anti-illegal-immigration militia. The question is, what are they planning that costs so much? With instinct honed of years at the side of one of the best crime fighters in the Midwest, Lettie proves herself capable, clever, and smart enough to figure out what is going on.

Why did I give it a 4/5 instead of the 5/5 it seemed headed for 80% of the story? A less than satisfying ending that didn’t seem to quite fit with the facts. But I will read the sequel that is hinted at, and with relish.

The Midnight Lock

by Jeffrey Deaver

In The Midnight Lock (G.P. Putnam’s Sons 2021), the fifteenth installment of Jeffrey Deaver’s Lincoln Rhyme series, the paraplegic forensic scientist is again at his best. He only takes cases that intrigue him and this one–where a criminal who calls himself the Locksmith breaks into homes with the safest locks in the industry and does nothing more than move things around–catches his attention. The impossibility of the act inspires most of victims–all females–to abandon their homes and move somewhere that is as far as possible from this madman. Just prior to being asked to assist with this case, Rhyme is outsmarted in court–something that has never before happened–and a nasty drug lord is set free. The NYPD bosses blame Rhyme and strip him of his consultancy status, decommission his home-based lab, and reassign his crack team. Which–no surprise–barely slows him down. When he’s cerebrally intrigued, he can’t be stopped. What starts as the typical Lincoln rhyme crime solving case becomes so much more. In fact I could barely put it down even when I had to.

Highly recommended for lovers of who-dunnits and detective crimes.

The Island

by Ben Coes

This ninth in the Dewey Andreas series, The Island (St. Martin’s 2021) is vintage Dewey Andreas. It’s as good as any in the series and better than many. The last few Dewey Andreas books, I enjoyed but didn’t love. Dewey seemed off his game, fallible when I needed him to be infallible. Which he always has been. Here, in The Island, Dewey is back to the miracle worker my country needs, the guy we call when there’s no one else.

That Dewey.

In this story, someone wants to assassinate the U.S. President but as a distraction from a more dastardly attack. I won’t tell you what that is but it’s big. The only hint I’ll give you is about the geography of an island, specifically the island of Manhattan New York. This piece of land floating in the Atlantic is connected to the mainland by four fragile tunnels. You figure out the rest.

Coes as usual lays out the How so well that I believe it can happen. It’s left to Dewey to once again do the impossible while surviving odds no one else can. The man has an enviable sixth sense but it doesn’t necessarily bring him satisfaction. He may excel at being a super hero but is unable to run his own personal life.

This book and the entire series is highly recommend foe those who like superheroes with heart.

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular prehistoric fiction saga, Man vs. Nature which explores seminal events in man’s evolution one trilogy at a time. She is also the author of the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers and Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. Her non-fiction includes over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, reviews as an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Natural Selection, Winter 2022.

52 thoughts on “Good Thrillers from NetGalley

  1. These sounds like books my mother will enjoy, Jacqui. I find your comments about Tom Clancy’s new authorship interesting. I don’t like the idea of a publishing house continuing to use my characters with another pen at the helm. It just doesn’t work for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks a lot, dear Jacqui 🙏 🙏
    This is literature we use not to read but interesting to hear about literature we usually don’t look at.
    Wishing you a wonderful weekend
    The Fab Four of Cley
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not surprised. These deal with saving the world rather than one person. I don’t read as many as I used to, eschewing them for Westerns where the “the men are strong, the women even more, and rules were made to be broken”.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Great, dear Jacqui, how you characterise Westerns 👍
        Now don’t laugh, you inspired us to look at the Wyatt Earp films and we are amazed about how they are made. It’s a bit like Brecht’s epic theatre, quite entertaining and funny.
        All the best
        The Fab Four of Cley
        🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂


        • oooh, I think I’ll check those out also. I’d completely forgotten them. I did re-watch all the Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns. Probably wouldn’t recommend them to you unless you love Eastwood.


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