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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best thrillers I've read for a long time
Dagny Gray is an FBI Special Agent is just embarking on a new love affair when her anorexia, and drastic weight loss, causes her to be taken off active duty. Gray is sent to a course run by a maverick agent known as The Professor and the two form an unlikely alliance in the pursuit of a criminal who the newspapers are calling `The Bubble Gum Thief'. Whilst the BGT started...
Published on 22 Jan. 2013 by Sarah Durston

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't Go Chewing in Bed
For a great crime novel you need to have just the right mix of ingredients, get just one wrong and you could end up making your crime soufflé go flat. This is exactly what has happened with `The Bubble Gum Thief', a crime novel with one of the most intriguing central ideas I have read in a while. A criminal is committing a series of crimes each one slightly...
Published 22 months ago by Sam Tyler


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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best thrillers I've read for a long time, 22 Jan. 2013
By 
Sarah Durston (London) - See all my reviews
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Dagny Gray is an FBI Special Agent is just embarking on a new love affair when her anorexia, and drastic weight loss, causes her to be taken off active duty. Gray is sent to a course run by a maverick agent known as The Professor and the two form an unlikely alliance in the pursuit of a criminal who the newspapers are calling `The Bubble Gum Thief'. Whilst the BGT started with the relatively insignificant crime of stealing a pack of gum, his crimes begin to increase in severity and Gray and her team must catch him before he can achieve his ultimate aim.

It's a shame that this book has such an awful and off-putting title because it was an absorbing, well-planned, and executed, thriller which has very little to do with gum! The structure and narrative are logical without being formulaic and the writing is good. Dagny Gray is a likeable heroine, I don't know enough about anorexia to know if the portrayal is accurate but it did feel as if the author had done his research.

All the loose ends are tied up very neatly (which pleased me!) and the ending sets things up very nicely for another instalment. If you like thrillers, you'll probably find this is better quality and more thought provoking than the normal fare! Recommended.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars CRACKER JACK!, 26 Dec. 2012
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Mr. William Oxley "oxenblocks" (England) - See all my reviews
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This is a cracking read and definitely the best crime novel that I have read in 2012.

The Bubble Gum Thief is a well written FBI detective hunt for an evil man whose crimes just get bigger and bigger. Can Special Agent Dagny and the Professor find the man before he starts killing more and more? And just how many crimes has he planned to commit in his unstoppable escalation?

I love the fallible yet committed Dagny who is completely driven. I love the plot of hunting down an evil villain. And I love the twists and turns through out.

* I have not written about anything that gives away the plot...which would detract from a great read! *

Jeff Miller's first book. Brilliant!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth chewing on, 15 May 2013
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OEJ - See all my reviews
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The debut novel by Cincinnati-born lawyer Jeff Miller introduces FBI Special Agent Dagny Gray, who is in danger of losing her job on health grounds before she can solve the ongoing investigation into the so-called 'Bubble Gum Thief'. The label was given because the killer in this tale started his crime spree by stealing some gum and declaring it to be his first crime before more serious ones that take place at regular intervals. There's a method to his murderous madness, with Gray the most likely agent to catch him in time - provided she can stay with the FBI.

Although the investigation moves rather slowly, as does the escalation of the BGT's crimes to become the most widely covered by the US media, it's really more of a character-driven piece and in this regard it's a successful and entertaining debut outing in the form of Special Agent Gray. I will definitely consider buying any sequel to this.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't Go Chewing in Bed, 23 April 2013
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For a great crime novel you need to have just the right mix of ingredients, get just one wrong and you could end up making your crime soufflé go flat. This is exactly what has happened with `The Bubble Gum Thief', a crime novel with one of the most intriguing central ideas I have read in a while. A criminal is committing a series of crimes each one slightly bigger than the last. It all starts with the simple stealing of some bubble gum, but as the crimes progress they become more dangerous and deadly. Can damaged FBI Special Agent Dagny Gray save the day - and who cares?

It is a real shame that a book with such a great central premise should have one of the wettest, least interesting and insipid characters at its core. It is a well-worn crime genre trope that the hero will have some sort of addiction or failing, in the case of Gray this is her anorexia. This in itself is not that bad an idea, but writer Jeff Miller soon paints himself into a corner when Gray becomes too weak to work. Would the FBI really put her on active duty? To make matters worse, a crime occurs during the book that undermines Gray's legitimacy even further, to the extent that the book may as well be fantasy and not crime.

As well as having a dull hero. `Bubble Gum' is also a little slow on the uptake. This is a long book and Miller spends a little too much time on the minutia and not enough on progressing the story. Whilst the sections covering the mysterious villain are pacy, the sections following Gray are all internal strife and not solving the actual crimes. It is a real shame that Miller was not able to make use of the potential found at the start of `The Bubble Gum Thief'.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A refreshing breath of fresh air - an FBI novel that doesn't take itself seriously!, 20 Aug. 2013
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ratscat13 "ratscat13" (North East Scotland) - See all my reviews
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The Bubble Gum Thief starts with the theft of a packet of chewing gum in Bethel, New York. The crime scene is left with a card saying THIS IS MY FIRST CRIME, MY NEXT WILL BE BIGGER. Of course the crimes increase as the novel progresses, right up to multiple murders.

Special Agent Dagny Grey is investigating until the time her boyfriend becomes a victim of crime number six.

As the crimes progress the scenarios seem disconnected and the whole case peculiar, Dagny is drawn more and more into the killer's world. The result is a great tale.

This book is fun. It is totally unlikely; the FBI would never allow Dagny to continue working when her anorexia is as bad as it is, or to be even peripherally involved in the investigation of her boyfriend's murder. Then there is the FBI agent who can't fire a gun? The mad professor, discredited by the FBI but who teaches in the basement - he is a genius who can work out an individuals 212 enemies and name them correctly, oh yeah! This book doesn't set out to be believable, it sets out to be entertaining, and it succeeds brilliantly.

There are twists along the way which a reader can spot coming but that's fine this isn't here to follow an investigation it's here to put the tongue firmly in cheek and provide escapist, humorous enjoyment.

The book loses a star as some of the writing is repetitive. It's not repetitive enough to become a literary tool just enough to be an irritation. Some examples are "sweatshirt she wore only under the cover of darkness" and "grabbed her keys, her iPod, and her gun, and raced (him) down the stairs". Surely there are other ways of writing the same thing without repeating sentences word for word (sometimes within a few pages).

That aside I really enjoyed it and would recommend it as a read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Introducing Dagny Gray, 17 Mar. 2013
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Denise4891 (Cheshire) - See all my reviews
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Dagny Gray, lawyer turned FBI agent, is an exciting and quirky new addition to the detective fiction genre. This case sees her investigating a serial killer who starts off small - after his first misdemeanour (the theft of a packet of chewing gum from a convenience store), he leaves a calling card stating "This is my first crime. My next will be bigger", and this theme continues as he goes on to commit ever more shocking and horrific crimes. Despite (or more likely because of) her own close personal involvement with one of the victims, Dagny is determined to bring the thief turned killer to justice. Always a bit of a maverick as far as the Bureau is concerned, she teams up with a couple of fellow outsiders and becomes involved in a race with the Feds to see who can get to the killer first.

Another running theme throughout the book, and Dagny's USP as far as being a maverick detective is concerned, is her eating disorder. She's a functioning anorexic, obsessing about every calorie that enters her body and partaking in a punishing exercise regime to burn them off. All the men in her life (boyfriend, colleagues, boss etc) are similarly obsessed with feeding her up. At first, thanks to Dagny's wisecracks and her colleagues' foibles, it feels like quite a lighthearted and quirky read, but as the crimes committed by the BGT (as he comes to be known by the media and even the FBI, much to Dagny's annoyance) become more serious and darker in nature, the tone of the book follows suit.

There's a great twist at the end and the scene is set nicely for Dagny's next adventure. I was really impressed with Jeff Miller's debut novel and look forward to reading the next one.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Something to chew over, 13 Nov. 2012
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Quiverbow (Kent, England) - See all my reviews
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CONTAINS POSSIBLE SPOILERS.

So titled because nicking a pack of bubblegum is the first crime the perpetrator commits (his next law breaking activity follows soon after when he sells drugs to a man for $600), FBI agent Dagny Gray is tasked with investigating the so called `Bubble Gum Thief' when his crimes become serious, but only because a government professor she is meant to be assisting in writing a book suggests it might be helpful to her. The investigation becomes personal when her boyfriend is shot dead by the as yet unknown killer.

True to form in crime novels, the main character has her own demons that surface at inappropriate times (in Gray's instance, it's her anorexia) and get in the way of proceedings. In addition, other than Gray, the only character we learn anything about is the offender, and even he can garner some sympathy when you understand the `why'. Her `wet-behind-the-ears' partner keeps everything about himself to himself, save for mentioning he has a fiancée. In fact, we know more about the perpetrator than seems necessary, but it's only a mild irritation in a decent first novel by Miller.

With a good portion set in Arlington, Virginia and Cincinnati, Ohio, two places he knows well, this is split into three distinct sections - the what, the who, and the where, something that actually makes this more enjoyable, as there's no annoying flitting about - and it doesn't take long for the FBI to identify the villain but a lot longer to actually find him. That his crimes aren't the greatest premise you'll ever read, it's the way in which each is exponential to the previous felony.

The author lucidly conveys the scenes though some of what he mentions will be alien to anyone this side of the Atlantic and the only thing that really grates is Gray's insistence on quoting the calories and grams of fat in anything on a menu. Mercifully, once she realises that eating can be beneficial, she forgets the nutritional numbers.

Overall, a good debut novel involving plenty of what you would expect from the genre. I doubt this will be the only outing for Special Agent Dagny Gray.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Surprised at all the great reviews, 12 Jun. 2013
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K. Brewster (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Bubble Gum Thief (Dagny Gray) (Kindle Edition)
I found this a dull story which had me yawning often (extra star for getting me to sleep quickly every night). The plot was contrived and ridiculous, the bland heroine with her tacked-on disorder was both unbelievable and completely unengaging, the other characters were equally wafer thin. On paper the plot sounds intriguing. In reality it was just a bunch of words rattled together which failed to gel as a decent story. Not recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Plenty to chew on, 23 April 2013
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A. Chell "Avid reader" (Staffordshire, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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Jeff Miller's first novel is extraordinarily good. Jeffrey Deaver good. Michael Connelly good. That good.

FBI Agent Dagny Gray is, as is always the case in this genre of novel, bright, feisty, brave, beautiful and terrible at relationships. She is also fighting her own inner demons, as is the norm, but unusually it's not drink or drugs that are the problem, but anorexia. While this trait feels very much like "let's give the lead character a fault so the readers can identify better with her", the sub-plot fits into the arc of the overall story quite well - except for the one loose end it leaves.

The main plot covers the crimes of an ever-escalating madman, who progresses fairly rapidly from the theft of chewing-gum, to some extremely heinous and shocking crimes. Supported by a strong cast of ancillary characters, Dagny attempts to unravel the perpetrator's plans before he kills more people. In the process she encounters many unexpected twists and turns and - as you'd expect - is in significant personal danger.

It's rare that I can't wait to read the next bit of a book, but this is one such novel and I'm very much looking forward to the next work from this author.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The bubblesgum thief, 16 May 2013
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R. Gardner "Corriebob" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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When I started this book had no idea how it was going to work out as the author was new to me and occasionally you get a turkey. In this case it started out at a nice gentle pace as you get to know the main character Dagny Gray, Everything goes along smoothly until an unexpected twist in the story occurs, (this you will have to find out yourself). After that the pace picks up and gets faster, but, never to fast. The plod twists and turns around a serial killer who leaves a calling card at the scene of each crime, A time scales comes into force and this makes everything more urgent. I found this an intelligent and well thought out story right to the very end. I can honestly say I enjoyed this book and as long as you are not looking for a simple straight forward story line etc, you should enjoy it too.
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