Book Review of The P.U.R.E. by Claire Gillian

When I was offered a free advance copy of The P.U.R.E. from its publisher, I almost passed.  I am not a mystery fan.  I prefer something with lots of action and explosions.  But I figured, what the heck, it’s free.

So, I sat down one day and began reading what I expected to be a dull, boring drama.

Boy, was I in for a surprise.

Once again, I will use the Oreo Cookie Concept for reviewing:  Start with the crunchy goodness, dig into the squishy bad, and then end on a crunchy good note.

This one was a little tricky for me.


To start, were there any explosions?  No?  Sorry, but she loses a cookie there. (Yeah, I know that’s not fair, but it’s my rating system.  Get over it.)

What POV was it written in?  First Person “I”.  What?  UGH!  I hate first person!  Lose another cookie.

Okay, let’s not worry… She is still in “I liked it” range with three cookies.

Claire Gillian did an amazing job intertwining the overall mystery plot with the “Girl falling for the guy at the office” plot.  Not being a mystery fan, I actually gravitated more toward the romance aspect initially, but Ms. Gillian quickly sucked me in to her overall world of corporate Hell.

The best part about this book is the really defined main characters.  I totally believed them, and living in a cubicle myself for the last twenty years, I can totally relate to the inter-office politics.

Personally, I believe the realism of the characterization comes from the excellent POV writing.  I’m not a fan of first person because normally I find it confining.  Not so here.

So, Ms. Gillian, I am giving you your cookie back for POV.  This is probably the best First Person POV I have ever read.  You are back up to four out of five cookies.

The creamy filling… the bad stuff

This is going to sound uber-critical of me, but I just couldn’t leave this section blank.  After all, no one is perfect.  I have to admit, that I really needed to rack my brain over faults in The P.U.R.E.  So, after much more in-depth pondering than a normal person would do…here you have it:

There were a lot of characters in the office environment.  I got confused with who was who.  Even in the ending scenes, I wasn’t sure who was who.  This didn’t really bother me, though, because frankly, it just didn’t matter at that point.  (In a good way—I was so absorbed I didn’t even stop to think about it.) –not subtracting a cookie for this

This is something I feel like I need to mention, although it breaks my heart to do it.  I caught a few typos.  Ugh.  Okay… remember I am looking for something bad to say, because this novel was so dern good… so there!  I found three punctuation typos.

Since I had an advance copy, I let them know about the typos, hoping they could fix them.  I don’t know if they did.  The problem with a typo is that I stopped reading.  I flipped my Kindle in all different directions to read it different ways to see if it was really a typo.  This is a problem because I am no longer reading the story.  I lost the scene.  You never want your reader to stumble in the middle of a scene.

I need to subtract at least a bite out of a cookie for that.  I will happily remove the bite if the typos are fixed in the next revise.

Ending on a crunchy good note:

Once in a while, an author surprises me by breaking the rules.  I would like to give super-big kudos to Claire Gillian for not ignoring the subject of condoms.  They are always used, and when the romantic leads didn’t have one, they didn’t have sex.


The two characters even had a conversation about STDs and birth control.  For myself, having lost a cousin to a sexually transmitted disease, I have to nod in appreciation to the author.  This is the first time I have read anything that didn’t ignore that detail/concern like it didn’t exist.

For this, Ms. Gillian, I am giving you an extra cookie just because.  Thank you for being socially conscious, while keeping it romantic and real.  This totally makes up for the lack of explosions. (And I have to admit there was a high action scene that I thoroughly enjoyed that made up for it a little as well.)

Final cookie count?  Four and three-quarters of a cookie, and I will happily make it a five cookie review if the typos are fixed.

I was thinking this over, and wondering where I would place this novel on my “best of” scale.  I cringe to say it since this is a mystery novel, but the P.U.R.E. firmly has a place in the top five novels I have ever read.

I highly recommend all authors to read The P.U.R.E. and concentrate on Claire Jillian’s characterization, and her voice.  I have large chunks of text highlighted to go back and analyze to learn from how she presented it.  The writing is crisp, clean, and easy to read.  Not only will you be enjoying a great novel, but I think all authors could learn a lesson or two from her great writing style.

Am I now a mystery fan?  No, not at all.

Would I buy another Claire Gillian novel?  Yes, absolutely.  I wouldn’t hesitate for a single second.

Buy The P.U.R.E. at

Buy The P.U.R.E. at Barnes and noble

Note: Barnes and Noble has it on sale for $11.46 in paperback right now.  Digital is $4.99 on both sites.


25 responses to “Book Review of The P.U.R.E. by Claire Gillian

  1. Pingback: Score! Author Claire Gillian talks about “Voice” in The P.U.R.E. Yes! She agreed to the interview! | Jennifer M Eaton

  2. Great review! Thanks for the recommendation. And love the cookie rating system!

  3. Nice review. I like the oreo cookie system 🙂

  4. I love your “cookie” method, of doing crunchy goodness, squishy badness, then crunchy goodness. My husband is an administrator in a school system, so he does the same thing when dealing with teachers, providers and parents. Except he calls it a sh*t sandwich –start with good, end with good, put the sh*t int he middle. LOL

    How do you get on advanced reading lists!? That sounds so fun. Am currently soooo jealous of you. 🙂

    • You can go to publishers web sites and see if they offer it. You need to be established for most of them, and you need to agree to palce a review (good or bad) on several different sights. You also need to be able to read the book quickly. I had two weeks to read this, but I finished it early because I couldn’t put it down. I usually take longer to read.

      You can find my much stuffier and less fun reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, and Barnes and Noble

  5. Psst…I have a big explosion in a thriller I’ve been working on sporadically. A really big one that changes the heroine’s life forever. I like ’em too. 😉

    Loved your review approach, and, of course, your kind words. Thank you.

  6. Yeah, this one is on my to-read list. 🙂 Dang it, that list just keeps getting bigger and bigger, thanks to these kinds of reviews

  7. Love your cookie rating system. No. Wait. It’s 5:18 a.m. and I sit here with my coffee craving Oreos. The only thing wrong with that picture is that I have none in my pantry.

    This sounds like the character-driven type of plot I would love. Many books I’ve read in recent years reference condoms, and–no–the characters don’t get to have sex without them. Jennifer Crusie, Nora Roberts, Janet Evanovich all merit one of your cookies for the safe sex message.

    • That’s great. I love that. I guess reading mostly fantasy, condoms just don’t work in the genre.

      I’m sending some cyber-oreos right now. Double Stuff (it’s the only kind that’s worth the calories)

  8. I’m a new writer, working on two novel projects. One is fantasy, the other is a paranormal/alternative history. I know I need to deliberately read outside my preferred genre to broaden my exposure to the craft of writing in general, so based upon this review I’m really loking forward to checking out this mystery novel. Thanks for the review, Jennifer.

    • In general, I hate mysteries because I don’t care “who did it” I didn’t care in this novel either, but the writing had me so absorbed I wanted to know what happened.

  9. Wow! That’s a glowing review right there. 🙂 Must get the book then.I must admit, the title and the cover art did nothing for me, but your review means this book is at least a “must try”.