[Free pdf] The Bubble Gum Thief Author Jeff Miller – Gsagency.co

3.5 starsThis debut mystery from Jeff Miller is one of few mystery thriller that I read, where the story is very character driven Usually, when I read mystery thriller, the story either describes the crimes, or the killers, or the investigation process heavily but rarely touch the lives of the investigators This one is different The story gives portion to the lives of Dagny Gray the anorexic Special Agent We get her dating this art professor, we get her struggling to increase her weight, we get her calculating calories, etc Because of that, the crimes seem to stay in the background, like a noise from television In that sense, the story moves rather slow and lack of the intensity I usually get from my favorite thrillers Plus the crime itself starts with something small stealing bubble gum I think the first true dead body doesn t appear until around 30% of the story, where the victim is someone close to Dagny.HOWEVER, I m quite fascinated with Dagny It s not often I find a lead character who struggles with anorexia I love the relationship between her and her young inexperienced partner, Victor it s so funny, in the beginning, he didn t even know how to shoot a gun And Dagny keeps calling Victor her apprentice lol.There s a twist near the end, which adds nuance to the story There s a number of nods to Michael Connelly and Jeffery Deaver whom I think have influenced the author somehow All in all, it s quite an interesting debut I ll look forward to books in this series then. Where to start.This is one of the books I should have loved It had all the right elements FBI investigators, mental illness, history, murder And yet somehow all of these ingredients never came together in to a finished dish 1 Anorexia portrayalDagny, the main character and an FBI agent, has anorexia Good I d like to see novels that tackle these types of issues However I have several problems with how anorexia is portrayed in TBGT 1a she s awfully physically adept for a woman struggling with a moderate to severe eating disorder She regularly runs, jumps, and otherwise exerts herself The worse consequence she gets in return is falling down and spraining her leg 1b She has none of the less sexy symptoms like hair all over her body, and dealing with such doesn t get mentioned until at least 60% through Even then it s mentioned as something that happened in the past 1c I think it also stretches suspension of disbelief that she got in to the FBI in the first place Of course she could have hidden her disorder and aced the psych tests by knowing how to fool them, but in college she was actually committed due to the severity of her illness There is NO way that is not known to the FBI Their background checks are obsessively thorough 1d Her coworkers and supervisors seem to think they can fix her anorexia by simply forcing her to eat You can t handle an eating disorder that way Yes, not eating and being severely underweight are symptoms, but the true issue is a mental and emotional one If you don t handle the underlying reasons for the disease, forcing sandwiches down her throat is going to do far harm than good It angered me that the FBI is portrayed as handling such a serious issue in such a superficial way I find the lack of psych resources and understanding of psych issues difficult to buy in to 1e Michael, the love interest, starts to heal her with his love almost immediately He cooks her dinner at one point and she eats it without protest because his love is magical Now I am a sucker for that kind of thing in a way, but you have to draw it out , imo, to make it effective They ve been together for two months I don t understand why she trusts and loves him so much that he can influence a deeply entrenched issue of hers in this way 2 Lack of action Dagny does absolutely nothing of note for the first 30% She goes to art shows, she goes to class, she goes to the doctor, and she goes for runs That sreally it Of course in some ways this is a police procedural and they re going to go at a slower pace than a thriller or a mystery, but it takes too long for Dagny and the antagonist to meet up and interact Also what the heck view spoiler is with the bad guy kidnapping her and forcing her to eat hide spoiler Sometimes big things start small Not only is this the prophetic first line of Jeff Miller s FBI thriller, The Bubble Gum Thief, but it also is a likely description of the career Miller is launching with this debut novel.The novel is a smart, fast paced thriller in which a deeply flawed, yet utterly capable protagonist, Dagny Gray, takes on her own demons as well as those that make the title character tick The plot is complex with enough twists and turns along to the way to keep even the most well read or jaded thriller reader engaged without being implausible And it reads very quickly despite its 400 pages I highly recommend the novel and suggest you keep your eyes out for from Jeff Miller and Dagny Gray thrillers.Speaking of Dagny She is a refreshing, yet risky character I don t mean she takes risks, although she does I mean Miller took a risk in creating her Read the book and you ll understand no spoilers here But he clearly did his research, and he has given life to an imperfect female protagonist who is somehow simultaneously strong and skilled and yet reads true throughout the novel.The title character is also fascinating, and Miller likely spent as much time, if not , with the criminal Miller gives us a front row seat to the character s escalating crime spree, showing us delicious details and dropping multi layered clues along the way As other reviewers have said were it not cruel and unusual to wish mayhem on even fictional characters, I would have enjoyed for the crime spree to have gone on even longer because of Miller s smooth prose style that unfolds each crime neatly, with tension and stakes growing progressively higher.Miller introduced us, and Dagny, to a full cast of characters as her investigation hop scotched across the country, and he has a great ability to paint each one succinctly and memorably Miller has an obvious talent for creating characters whether he will revisit some or none of them in future installments is anybody s guess but he s certainly laid the ground work.Miller also has a gift for placing these characters in both real and imagined places that makes the reader believe that not only has Miller been there, but the reader has as well.I thoroughly enjoyed The Bubble Gum Thief, and recommend it to fans of fast paced, smart thrillers I look forward to from Jeff Miller, and with Dagny Gray, but after the dark and twisted mind of the actual Bubble Gum Thief, I m a little concerned at what Miller will come up with next. The Bubble Gum Thief is the stunning crime fiction debut from Jeff Miller and it was gooooooooood It was an incredibly enjoyable read that didn t follow the cookie cutter guidelines that most crime novels seems to do At the beginning I couldn t for the life of me see how the heroine was going to end up with the case, but when she did I was pleasantly surprised Special Agent Dagny Gray is smart, sexy and anorexic Wait, what Anorexic Yes That s not something you read everyday I loved how Miller handled Gray s illness It was incredibly true to real life and I applaud him for it Even with her mental illness, Dagny is an extraordinary woman and someone that I found myself looking up to I loved her interactions with her partner Victor whom she chose precisely because of his inexperience Victor himself was a very likeable character I adored his greenness and how, despite his inexperience, he was instrumental in helping Dagny solve the case view spoiler I thought it was utterly hilarious how he went around hugging everyone because Dagny told him to follow her lead hide spoiler I borrowed this book as part of my Prime perks, not expecting much but intrigued by the idea of an FBI agent afflicted with anorexia That s something that can easily be used as an exploitive gimmick or could be an interesting character flaw I wondered what way Dagny Grey would be portrayed I m happy and surprised to say that Dagny s character is full and three dimensional, and though her eating disorder is a larger aspect of her character, it s not the only aspect She s harsh, but caring Driven, but vulnerable I like her very much I am not much of a mystery thriller person, so the actual mystery is always of secondary importance to me when I read something from this genre I m interested in how the author builds his characters, how clever he is, if he plays fair with his readers in establishing clues and a path to the mystery s solution And the Bubble Gum Thief succeeds on most accounts, only really falling apart during the last minute twist But that s fine, debut novel and all I would definitely come back to read about Dagny s adventures. With The Bubble Gum Thief Thomas Mercer December 2012 , Jeff Miller has surely launched what will be a brilliant writing career In an era where taking on new unproven authors can be risky, where publishers only want the Blockbusters and Run Away Best Sellers, Miller s debut novel will surely prove to be the best decision Thomas Mercer has made in, oh I don t know months Or years Usually, new novelists take a few books to work out the plotting kinks, figure out how to develop characters as readers like to discover them Not Miller Bubble Gum Thief includes an intriguing plot, richly woven multilayered characters, and enough setting details to make the reader feel like they are smack in the middle of every chase, every kidnapping, every romantic date.The story starts as the typical FBI thriller young agent in this case, Dagney Gray runs askance of her FBI bosses and is sent to a dead end class There, she catches the eye of an eccentric over the hill agent sidelined far from the FBI action as the teacher of a class of last resort He recruits her to help with what turns out to be a serial killer at the beginning of his murderous career.Nothing else is typical about the story Dagney has a clever brain that connects the dots in ways we the reader don t expect And she has anorexia, a disease she struggles to control, sometimes just survive This subplot runs through the main plot so fluidly I found myself losing my appetite, challenging myself to be better, and wanting to take up running all characteristics of anorexics.Miller s writer voice is friendly, easy to follow, like the great storytellers that populate the libraries of his characters Michael Collins and Jeffrey Deaver His knowledge of FBI investigation techniques is fascinating and fresh, many new to me despite that I read boatloads of crime novels For example the unsubhad created an elaborate and impressive website for his fake security company The site was now gone, but Dagny and Victor found a cache of it at archive.org.For , see pages 245 and 364.One request The cover needs help I had to look at it way to long to figure out what was going on.Overall Miller is a bright new thriller writer who can people my imagination anytime I look forward to his next book. Originally posted on my blog Warning There be some spoilers below One day, I made a date with myself to explore the Berkeley Public Library, having gotten a library card a few weeks earlier So I took my lunch break and walked myself across the block to the library.None of the books I went for were there, even though the website suggested that they would be But that was just fine by me I m so instantly distracted by books, I easily found some other selections, books I never would have known to go looking for.This was one of them.At once a terrifying and intriguing premise, this book was so well and thoughtfully crafted I found it difficult to put the book down when I got off the train in the morning and entered the office Let alone for the walk the two blocks to the office I barely lifted my eyes to peruse the traffic conditions You know it s good writing and a good book when you want to read other books in the author s canon It led me to investigate what other books the author had written, and this is his first novel What Don t tease I hope that he s working on other things It seems like he may have something coming down the pipeline eventually, since the cover of this book proclaims it A Dagny Gray Thriller That insinuates that there will be than one, in my experience Essentially, the story is of a criminal whose crimes are escalating It starts with a pack of gum, and quickly gets violent and disturbing He seems to be playing a game with Dagny Gray, an FBI agent who is investigating the crimes.As she is investigating, Dagny Gray has her own personal struggles, particularly her struggle with anorexia When Miller first introduced her calorie counting, I was inclined to be offended Another stereotypical woman who counts her calories, and so precisely and obsessively too Gag me But it quickly becomes clear that Dagny s obsessive counting is related to her essentially lifelong struggle with anorexia.There were quite a few twists and turns throughout the book It was an interesting juxtaposition to be presented with these descriptive, lively characters, and then to have such clinical descriptions of the deaths very matter of fact and non emotional.An especially poignant moment, in light of the Sandy Hook shootings in December, was one of the crimes taking place at an elementary school At first, the shooting in the book seemed just as pointless and impossible to understand as those at Sandy Hook But later we see that the villain in the book did have a reason It s not a justifiable one, but it s reason than we will probably ever have for the tragic shooting in December.One of my favourite parts of the book was the Professor, an old FBI agent who initially pulls Dagny onto the case She is taking his class at Quantico when he offers her the opportunity to do some work for him At first, these Bubble Gum Thief cases seem like nothing Anyway, the Professor is right away one of the most eccentric and lovable curmudgeons that I ve encountered in a book if you love curmudgeons, as I do.I also thought this was some of the best male author heroine voice writing that I ve read More on point and realistic than some female authors writing for female characters, in my opinion.Miller presented an intriguing idea that of crowdscourcing crime solving I have a friend who works for a crowdsourcing company, so I was particularly drawn to this idea In the book, Dagny s partner Victor utilizes criminology students, law enforcement agencies, and Wiki editors in order to help track down some further information about their suspect Because of the nature of the work, and the need to be on the ground in those particular cities, it was much easier not to mention time and cost effective to use the civilians who were already in the area and ready and willing to help.I thought the story arc of the villain was so artfully presented From the beginning, he seemed like such a thoroughly irredeemable character he seems to have no emotions or hesitations when murdering these people, even the children that he s resolved to kill, and is completely un remorseful But towards the end, we are introduced to the man before he became the monster, and we see a part of his slow descent into madness and hatred We even learn the why of the crimes And although, of course, the why does not mitigate the crimes, although it still seems a rather drastic course of action, we come to understand how this man was pushed over the edge.I loved the ending About thirty pages from the end, something happened that was completely unexpected to me, and it seemed like a rather abrupt ending I momentarily forgot all of the things that can happen in thirty pages But then Miller went back and tied it all up for me with a nice bow, exactly how I like it He even made sure to pull back small pieces that had seemed inconsequential earlier in the book.One of the best, most engrossing books that I have read in a long time Looking forward impatiently to further Dagny Gray thrillers. Special Agent Dagny Gray Is Smart, Athletic, And Fearless She S Also Fragile, Depressed, And Anorexic If She Doesn T Get Healthy Soon, The FBI Will Drop Her And She Ll Never Have A Chance To End The Crime Spree Of The So Called Bubble Gum Thief It All Started With The Theft Of A Pack Of Gum, And The Ominous Note He Left Behind THIS IS MY FIRST CRIME MY NEXT WILL BE BIGGER Every Two Weeks, He Delivers On This Pledge, Committing A Bigger Crime, And Promising That The Next Will Be Even Worse When Petty Theft Gives Way To Bloody Murder, The Stakes Become Clear He May Have Begun With The Smallest Crime Possible, But He S Building Toward The Biggest Crime ImaginableThere S A Method To The Gum Thief S Madness, And Special Agent Dagny Gray Knows She Can Figure It Out If The Bureau Will Let Her But Will It Be In Time To Prevent The Cataclysmic Finale Of His Escalating Spree This is a wonderful book Anyone skimming these comments Read this book.A few places felt a little draggy to me but overall it is a wonderfully paced book that introduces some great new characters to the world of the FBI thriller I think the last time I found myself this engaged in a crime novel it was back when I first read silence of the lambs Or perhaps when I first saw that movie A LOT of thought and planning went into this novel and it shows The level of detail is perfect The tech and financial law aspects and bear in mind I m no lawyer or super techie were presented very well and in a manner that moved the plot forward instead of just being explanation fodder Yes That happens sometimes I think that every question I raised as I was reading the book, whether about character, tech I think my Mac seems a little less intimidating after reading this book or law aspects were all answered and when I archived it on my kindle I didn t think anything was left Dagny s a legitimate FBI badass with a great mind and it was fascinating seeing her struggle with herself and the day to day problems one faces with anorexia A new and well illustrated plot device that helped, I think, give her depth and realism I also loved that we all knew what was going on without having the a word mentioned for hundreds of pages Victor has made me laugh and almost cry, while I really just want to sit down and chat with the curmudgeonly professor one day I suppose the argument can be made that this team of characters feels overused but I think the personalities we see in each of the characters on the team outweighs that and again it feels like a real and cohesive group The only reason I didn t give this book five stars was because I could had a little problem with pacing in the middle and my stupid brain told me the answers before Dagny figured it out But that happens to me a lot so I can t fault Miller for his twistiness They re good and subtle and inserted remarkably well and I m going to stop now before I say something about the actual end of the book Read this book It s freaking good My cap is off to Jeff Miller for his debut and I am anxiously awaiting The Bubble Gum Thief is an exciting thriller that is not the run of the mill FBI deranged serial killer books It has a great central character, Dagny Gray, who is one of the FBI agents hot on the trail of The Bubble Gum Thief The book shows Dagny as a strong, smart woman, who also has a major personal issue that she is trying to deal with, and I like that It shows that she is a real person The Bubble Gum Thief spends than half the book on the crimes and trying to guess who it is The chapters are not too long, and the story is not drawn out, but at the same time, the story is not rushed Every sentence written helps enhance the plot.I hope this is the first in a series of Dagny Gray novelsCan t wait to see