‘My GRL’ by John W. Howell (Review)

I recently finished reading My GRL by John W. Howell.  CLICK ON THE COVER FOR THE AMAZON PAGE!

My Grl by John W. Howell

MY GRL by John W. Howell

This was my first time reading a mystery/thriller and I expected there to be tons of action and intrigue.  Instead, I found a lot of suspense and colorful characters that kept me wanting to read more.  The pacing is fast at most points and there’s very little lingering on scenes.  A plot point is hit, suspicions are raised, twists occur, and then off to the next leg of the adventure.

I know from that description it sounds like I’m saying this is rushed, but it’s the opposite.  The speed of the story is one that tickles your nerves because you’re always wondering what something means.  A few times you even wonder if there’s a hidden significance to an event, so your mind keeps going back to it for reference.  Thankfully, My GRL is written in a way that you tend to remember everything.

One thing that took a little getting used to is the author’s habit of going into extreme descriptive detail.  His knowledge of boats, cars, and several other things is extensive and he lets you know that.  There are also points where it is a play-by-play of events.  It is a little jarring at first, but the first person narrative helped me adapt.  I figured the main character is a nervous talker and he sure has a lot to be nervous about in this story.  A few chapters in, I barely noticed because I got the feeling that every word could hold a clue as to what would happen.  It also managed to extend the suspense because I never knew when the description would lead to an ‘ah-ha!’ moment.

One of the only issue I had with the book was that the main character was overshadowed by most of the several characters.  I can’t really go into detail without spoilers, but John Cannon seems like a fish out of water for most of the book.  He is routinely overwhelmed even though he shows signs that he could probably talk or smile his way out of trouble.  It’s just that he never really pushes this ability to an effective level, so the more capable and skilled characters appear to be doing most of the legwork.  I really enjoyed Police Chief Ned and a later character that helps John.  In fact, I’d love to see them get their own books because I found them more interesting.  Maybe a sequel will occur since there is a good set up for the characters that make it to the end.

The other issue I had is more of a personal pet peeve.  One of the main villains had a really bizarre reason for getting John involved.  I kind of understand the rationale (or insanity), but I really couldn’t connect with it after having characters with such depth.  The other main villains came off as more dangerous and cunning.  This guy was intimidating and gave off a sense of being powerful, but his reasoning for hating John made him oddly petty and out of place among the terrorist villains.  Then again, he did set up a few impressive scenarios, so maybe it’s simply a case of the man behind the curtain should have stayed there.

Overall, I loved this story and hope the author has another planned.  This is his debut novel and it’s very impressive with high levels of suspense, which is what I think a thriller should have.  I highly recommend this book.  Also, I ask the author if we could get a Ned book.  I really liked Ned.

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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21 Responses to ‘My GRL’ by John W. Howell (Review)

  1. 1WriteWay says:

    Excellent review, Charles! You hit on many of the same things I liked about My GRL, as well as some of my issues. I am looking forward to the sequel. I think John Cannon will be a stronger character in the next book. I’ve read a few mystery/thrillers and I liked that Cannon was not the average tough, ex-cop type that usually leads those stories. I hadn’t thought to suggest that John give Chief Ned his own book … that’s an excellent idea 🙂


  2. L. Marie says:

    I keep hearing good things about this book!


  3. Thank you Charles for a very insightful review. I really had not thought of a book for Ned, but it is a great idea. I have to admit John’s character is one of those guys caught up in events and I really liked your observation regarding the other characters appearing stronger. This is was how I wanted John’s character to appear. Not necessarily the lead, but an active participant in events that may or may not be under his control. The sequel does deal with the motivation of the man behind the curtain in more detail as you appropriately pointed out. I just couldn’t fit it all in the one book. I really respect your opinions and want to thank you again for taking the time to write this excellent review.


  4. Reblogged this on Fiction Favorites and commented:
    An excellent review by the talented author Charles Yallowitz. Thank you Charles.


  5. Great review Charles. Sounds like an interesting book. 🙂


  6. tpolen says:

    This has been in my TBR pile for a while – looking forward to reading it for Rosie’s Review Challenge. Nice review!


  7. Jack Flacco says:

    Thanks for this review, Charles. I was thinking of getting it, but hadn’t made up my mind until reading your thoughts about it. Now I’m sure I want to read it. Good job!


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