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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 B 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 imaginable. There’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?


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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 B 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 imaginable. There’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?

30 review for The Bubble Gum Thief

  1. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    A kid is maintaining his parents shop when a man comes in. The kid goes into the back store room for more supplies and when he comes out the man is gone. All that is left is a call with a piece of gum stuck on the back. The card reads “This is my first crime. My next will be bigger”. All the guy stole was a pack of gum. Only as time pass the crimes do get bigger and with each crime, the same card is left counting down the crime number. “This is my XXX crime. My next will be bigger”. Special Agen A kid is maintaining his parents shop when a man comes in. The kid goes into the back store room for more supplies and when he comes out the man is gone. All that is left is a call with a piece of gum stuck on the back. The card reads “This is my first crime. My next will be bigger”. All the guy stole was a pack of gum. Only as time pass the crimes do get bigger and with each crime, the same card is left counting down the crime number. “This is my XXX crime. My next will be bigger”. Special Agent Dagny Gray is on the case. However when things take a turn for the worse, things get personal for Dagny. So when I first read the premise of the premise of this book, I was very intrigued to read this book. Unfortunately for me this book did not hit the spot. Not to say that I did not like it. I just wanted the story line to move faster. In addition, I expected as the crimes got bigger that more focus would be on the killer and the crimes but the crimes were described as more of a passing thought. Which is probably why when the killer first started out by committing his crimes, he victims did not really speak up. What did stand out for me in regards to this book are the characters. This book is more character driven then about the crimes. Which I did feel for Dagny. She was a good female lead and I did feel the need to cheer her on to solving the crimes but I just wished that the balance was there. Between the characters and the rest of the story. However, the Bubble Gum Thief is a nice introduction to a new author. Because just like the thief states on his calling cards, “My next will be bigger”. I expect Mr. Miller’s next book to be bigger.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ami

    3.5 stars This 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 3.5 stars This 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 more books in this series then.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Michael Klein

    “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 mos “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 more from Jeff Miller and more 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 more, 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 more from Jeff Miller, and more 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.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    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 M 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)] Then there is the dear old Professor. What a curious character he is. I can't help but be intrigued by him and would really like to learn more about him. Like I said before, this sensational debut novel doesn't follow your conventional crime fiction formula and is all the better for it. All the twists and turns and unexpected goings on. Although I have to mention that I have some mixed feelings about the end(view spoiler)[ even though I probably should've seen that last twist coming. And it feels like Mike's death wasn't really explained. I mean, he didn't really die because of Dagny. Draker was excited that he happened to be the one with, as if he had some sort of resentment toward Mike. I don't know... (hide spoiler)] . Overall, this book is most definitely a must read.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Tiger Gray

    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 portrayal Dagny, the main character and an FBI agent, has anorexia. Good. I'd like to see more 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 stru 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 portrayal Dagny, the main character and an FBI agent, has anorexia. Good. I'd like to see more 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 more 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 more, 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's...really 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)] 3. Transphobia If your only portrayal of a black trans woman (Regina) is a person in prison, well, that's questionable. Not to mention, said trans woman isn't really a trans woman. No, see she had the sex change so she could transfer to the women's prison, which is nicer. I don't even know what to say. I mean, really? Thanks for perpetuating about a thousand different stereotypes about trans people, all crammed in to one character. NOW, I think you can do ANYTHING you want as an author. BUT, it might behoove you to portray these things a tad differently if you don't want to come across as a callous ass. Like, you can totally have the character who had a trans surgery for mercenary reasons, but that better not be your ONLY trans portrayal. At the very least Dagny could have reacted to this news by thinking about how Regina is NOT representative of the vast VAST majority of trans people. But no. The portrayal of rape is pretty tacky too. 4. Lack of care As in I don't. About any of the people in this book. When Michael (view spoiler)[gets murdered (hide spoiler)] I don't care. And I am a crier. I am pretty easy to manipulate emotionally. (I am STILL pissed about CSI and that was years ago) But he and Dagny haven't been together long enough for me to give a crap. Plus, Dagny doesn't even go to his funeral. I do not sympathize. It just makes her look like a jerk. The author seems to care more about history lesson info dumps than making Dagny a person I want to spend my time on. 5. Straw sexists I hate this. It comes up in Anita Blake too. In order to portray sexism the author feels that the main character needs to be beset on all sides by woman hating caricatures. Sexism is often more subtle than that, and more hurtful. It's easy to dismiss some asshole who is in your face telling you that you don't amount to anything because you're a woman. It's a lot harder when someone you like and respect comes out of left field with a bunch of misogyny. Also street harassment definitely happens, a lot, but she literally gets cat called or otherwise denigrated three times in a single day. It's too much. Fabee (a coworker) is inexplicably hostile, calling Dagny a bitch at the slightest provocation. Also there's the message that you can't have a good male lover and a career. Everyone told Candice (the ex) to stick with Michael and her publicist actually feels bad for helping Candice get fame. Candice has botox and is a sad lady. It also goes so far as to do a disservice to men, who are portrayed in this book as A) kindly quirky professor B) rich tycoon with a far too young for him trophy wife C) a rapist/murderer D) and he of the healing penis. Who also gets murdered. In short, the men in this book are all striving, impotent, balding idiots except Michael, who is bland and perfect and then dead. 6. Dagny is an incompetent investigator She tampers with crime scenes. At one point she goes in to a dead guy's house and sees a pornographic picture on his computer. She closes it out in order to give the guy some privacy. NO. A thousand times no. She has NO IDEA what the context of that image is. The whole case could hinge on it. What if that's his mistress? What if he's involved in a sex trafficking ring and that is his latest victim? Come ON. She also dumps fingerprint powder all over a book, without going through the chain of custody regarding evidence, without checking herself in and out of the crime scene, anything. but the biggest problem of all is that Dagny's emotions are just...not there. I never feel her pain. She doesn't react to things when she should. She's even remarkably unemotional, relatively speaking, about (view spoiler)[getting kidnapped. (hide spoiler)] I am giving this two stars because the writing is pretty good. Otherwise, not for me. Obviously.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jacqui

    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 character 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 unsub...had 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 more, 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.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Bryce

    I borrowed this book as part of my Amazon 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 c I borrowed this book as part of my Amazon 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 more 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 more about Dagny's adventures.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jordan

    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 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 more 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 more 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 more 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 more 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.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kimba Tichenor

    A solid debut mystery that is character driven but still with plenty of action. First book that I have read by this author, but will not be my last.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    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 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 more 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 more!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    "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 more than half the book on the crimes and trying to guess who it is. T "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 more 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 novels...Can't wait to see more!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Monti

    One of the best books I've read in a long time. The characters were well developed and the plot moved along without getting bogged down with unnecessary asides. Don't be surprised to see Dagny Gray in a theater near you! One of the best books I've read in a long time. The characters were well developed and the plot moved along without getting bogged down with unnecessary asides. Don't be surprised to see Dagny Gray in a theater near you!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Erika Yacobucci

    I really was intrigued not only by the title of this book but the cover as well. It drew me in and I was hooked. Action packed, romance, and the characters were likeable. Overall I enjoyed this book.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Matt Dalton

    With so many crime fiction books out there, it must be difficult for authors to come up with ideas on how to put their own spin on the genre. This is one of the things that frustrates me with the genre from time to time and I am happy when I find new authors, as this seems to be the only time I see any new kind of spin. The more established authors within the genre, especially those with more than ten books, tend to follow the same formula and this can become too samey, too quickly for me. As the With so many crime fiction books out there, it must be difficult for authors to come up with ideas on how to put their own spin on the genre. This is one of the things that frustrates me with the genre from time to time and I am happy when I find new authors, as this seems to be the only time I see any new kind of spin. The more established authors within the genre, especially those with more than ten books, tend to follow the same formula and this can become too samey, too quickly for me. As the blurb above tells you, the main focal point of the story is almost stereo-typical. In the world of fiction, it seems all to often that for a hero (or heroine in this case) to be truly identifiable they must be both brilliant and flawed. It’s almost like we, as readers, have to either see some of our own imperfections in the main character or, at least, be able to identify with the feeling of not quite measuring up. I’m not sure whether Miller has gone overboard here – it’s not like the presence of such defects annoyed me at all. To pick a disorder like anorexia was quite brave. It’s something that you either have to know a lot about or something you have to be prepared to research. A lot. From what I could make out, it would appear that Miller’s experience is second-hand. He seemed to understand the mechanics, but there were some things that just didn’t quite seem right. I may be wrong, but my impression of such disorders is that they are extremely difficult to control. Despite giving an insight in to some of the behavioural habits, I felt that he made some things a bit too simplistic. Dagny Gray was very quick to descend into the anorexic world but, and this is the part that I really struggled to see the truth in, she also seemed to ascend back out of it just as quickly. I felt that, if one is to include a disorder like anorexia, it should be important to show the struggle on the way back out. It was almost like the detail was loaded up to the descent, with very little left over for the recovery. But let’s not get carried away, these are purely observations. They don’t detract from the story in any way and, if taken at face value, add a vulnerability to Dagny that generally helps the reader to warm to, and identify with, her. I was generally impressed with Miller’s character development. They behaved consistently and they felt like real people. The idea that Miller had – to begin with the smallest crime imaginable and build up bigger each time – was something that immediately caught my attention with this book. Now, I have to admit something here. Once upon a time, many moons ago, I too stole a pack of gum, although mine was chewing gum rather than bubble gum, hence the lack of a criminal development into murder. I found that I was looking forward to reading the next chapters in this book to see what the next crime would be. It was obvious too that the victims of the crimes were, in some way, linked. Much of the book was set in Cincinnati – the city in which Jeff Miller grew up – but there were crimes outside of the area too. I enjoyed the way in which the victims’ stories were presented prior to the actual crimes and I was impressed with the network that Miller had built up to tie them all together. About a quarter of the way through the book, I made a guess to myself of how things were going to turn out. I was wrong in my assumptions and found this out quite soon after. Around halfway through the book I figured out whodunnit, but it wasn’t until the very end that everything was revealed in all its glory. You will figure a lot of it out before the end and I think that this is something that is deliberate. There aren’t really any curveballs thrown in, but there are a few stories that you simply won’t be able to tie up without the results of Dagny’s investigations. It’s not a great book, but it’s not a bad book either. It’ll keep you interested for long enough to read it and may even give you a surprise or two at the end.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ally

    When an author debuts his or her first book, it’s not expected to be very successful. In fact, when taking a look back to their first novels, many famous writers might actually cringe. It appears that this will not be the case with Jeff Miller. The writing of a thriller is monotonous, as the same plot lines are continually recycled to a point where all books seem the same. Most thrillers focus on the lives of the criminals; who they were, and why they became evil. What made this book so special When an author debuts his or her first book, it’s not expected to be very successful. In fact, when taking a look back to their first novels, many famous writers might actually cringe. It appears that this will not be the case with Jeff Miller. The writing of a thriller is monotonous, as the same plot lines are continually recycled to a point where all books seem the same. Most thrillers focus on the lives of the criminals; who they were, and why they became evil. What made this book so special is that this was not the case at all. Instead, Miller chose a unique direction, focusing on the life of Dagny Gray who is investigating the crime. Dagny, an anorexic FBI agent is not the typical cold hearted detective, her battles are real and relatable. She finds herself buried much further into the case than she could ever imagine, taking readers along with her on a journey to find justice not just with the crime, but within herself. Miller takes readers on a roller coaster ride that doesn't let up; the suspense is unending. From the first page to the last, the search for answers continues. Without giving anything away, I can confirm that the ending was very satisfying. Miller separates his book into sections such as “The Why” and “The Who” that give insight into the crime in little snippets, piecing them together little by little. Usually, when reading a story, a reader finds themselves wondering about the author themselves. What I found to be one of the greatest aspects of reading this book is that the author is available to answer them, if only asked. Jeff Miller has a profile on the website, “Goodreads” which subsequently links to an “Ask Jeff” page, blog, and tumblr account. All are available for curious readers to ask Miller about whatever they please. While reading this book, it was a pleasure to have personal contact Miller and receive information that I would not have been privy to otherwise. Miller proves a promising start in his writing career, and I can only hope that this is his first book, and his next will be bigger.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    Here's a fact for you, Mr. Jeff Miller: You have a new fan. I've already been urging everyone who will listen to me to read this book, and I will probably continue to do so until Book #2 comes along. Why, you ask? Because I love the way you told the story, leading me along through all of the side trips and dead ends that weren't really dead ends but culs-de-sac instead. (Thank you, Rory Gilmore.) I love your heroine, Dagny Gray. I love that she is smart and clever, as well as vulnerable and huma Here's a fact for you, Mr. Jeff Miller: You have a new fan. I've already been urging everyone who will listen to me to read this book, and I will probably continue to do so until Book #2 comes along. Why, you ask? Because I love the way you told the story, leading me along through all of the side trips and dead ends that weren't really dead ends but culs-de-sac instead. (Thank you, Rory Gilmore.) I love your heroine, Dagny Gray. I love that she is smart and clever, as well as vulnerable and human. (In my head I kept picturing her as Olivia Dunham from Fringe, who was another special agent with those qualities, even though Olivia is blonde. Dagny's influence is so strong that now I'm picturing Olivia with black hair.) I love the fact that almost every guess I made during the story was wrong. I love the way you perfectly described normal, everyday things, such as the sidewalks in the neighborhood being big enough "for a Big Wheel to be able to pass a stroller." There are dozens of other things I loved as well, but even if there weren't, your mention of "WKRP in Cincinnati" would have gotten you on my good side. Instead, it proved to be just be an extra perk, along with the detail of Victor ordering a 4-way. (Um, should maybe inform those not familiar with Cincinnati chili that that's nothing dirty.) Please, can you work in a visit to Graeter's in the next book? To sum up: READ THIS BOOK.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kristen Jett

    I originally read this because I needed something drastically different from what I had been reading before I returned to blog reads. The fact that I finished this in two days says everything. Dagny Gray is the perfectionist FBI Agent - with one small flaw. She doesn't eat. Not that she forgets to eat, or eats like a woman on a diet - she calculates every calorie in her head, trying to gauge what the minimum she can eat to still function is. She's nearly perfect at this task too - except it may c I originally read this because I needed something drastically different from what I had been reading before I returned to blog reads. The fact that I finished this in two days says everything. Dagny Gray is the perfectionist FBI Agent - with one small flaw. She doesn't eat. Not that she forgets to eat, or eats like a woman on a diet - she calculates every calorie in her head, trying to gauge what the minimum she can eat to still function is. She's nearly perfect at this task too - except it may cost her career. Shipped away from headquarters to gain weight under the guise of taking a class, she falls into a crime spree that has been going unnoticed. And it all started with one pack of gum and one note: THIS IS MY FIRST CRIME. MY NEXT WILL BE BIGGER. The amount of detail behind this plot is impressive. While I figured out some of the mystery, it often unraveled in a way leaving my jaw dropped, and causing me to flip frantically backwards wondering what other small details were really BIG details. After all, "Sometimes big things start small." I am really hoping more Dagny Gray books will be coming soon.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ilya Gerner

    Maybe I've been making a mistake by ignoring thrillers, because TBGT held my attention from the first crime to the last. What stands out? -- A world that's broadly believable. If you've read studies about the unreliability of eyewitnesses or marveled at the kind of demagoguery the Nancy Graces of the world get away with or been witness to the morass of bureaucratic organizations, you'll find yourself nodding in agreement with the plot even as it takes its twists and turns. -- A living main characte Maybe I've been making a mistake by ignoring thrillers, because TBGT held my attention from the first crime to the last. What stands out? -- A world that's broadly believable. If you've read studies about the unreliability of eyewitnesses or marveled at the kind of demagoguery the Nancy Graces of the world get away with or been witness to the morass of bureaucratic organizations, you'll find yourself nodding in agreement with the plot even as it takes its twists and turns. -- A living main character. I'm a non-anorexic dude, but for what it's worth, Special Agent Dagny Gray seemed like a real human being. -- A worldview embedded in the work. This works better at some points (there's a moral passion on display when one character describes life in a federal prison) than it does at others (did you know that most contemporary art is drivel? There's a pair of characters ready to offer a hearty f-you to the Jackson Pollacks of world and the critics who love them). Either way, these lend the novel some of its personality. I'm glad I gave TBGT a chance. You should as well.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Vickie

    If you are in two minds about reading this book don't hesitate. You won't be disappointed. The book follows Dagny Gray, an FBI agent that falls in love with an artist. Dagny is then forced to attend a course presented by professor that the FBI would rather see tucked away in some distant place. The professor takes a liking to Dagny and draws here into an unofficial investigation looking at the Buggle Gum Thief whose crimes escalate with each crime. Dagny's character has the added complexity as an If you are in two minds about reading this book don't hesitate. You won't be disappointed. The book follows Dagny Gray, an FBI agent that falls in love with an artist. Dagny is then forced to attend a course presented by professor that the FBI would rather see tucked away in some distant place. The professor takes a liking to Dagny and draws here into an unofficial investigation looking at the Buggle Gum Thief whose crimes escalate with each crime. Dagny's character has the added complexity as an anorexia sufferer and it seems quite believable how its portrayed in the book. Jeff Miller creates believable characters including that of the Bubble Gum Thief. As the reader you can almost feel the evilness of the person. However. However, all is not what it seems to be. The reader's perception of villains and heroes constantly change and there are many unexpected surprises as the story progresses. All loose ends are neatly tied up in the end. This is a very satisfying and thrilling read and don't forget to watch out for any new books by this author.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kirby Mccauley

    Spectacular! I cannot possibly say enough good things about The Bubble Gum Thief. Had I not known, I never would have guessed that this was Miller's first novel. Less than 20 pages in I was undeniably hooked. The settings are rich and textured. Heroine Dagny Gray is intelligent, witty, and strong even in her weakest moments. The "Professor" is one of those amusing old codgers you can't help but adore. In fact, all of Miller's characters are well rounded and thoughtfully written. I laughed out lou Spectacular! I cannot possibly say enough good things about The Bubble Gum Thief. Had I not known, I never would have guessed that this was Miller's first novel. Less than 20 pages in I was undeniably hooked. The settings are rich and textured. Heroine Dagny Gray is intelligent, witty, and strong even in her weakest moments. The "Professor" is one of those amusing old codgers you can't help but adore. In fact, all of Miller's characters are well rounded and thoughtfully written. I laughed out loud and may have exclaimed in surprise more than once while reading this book, and *only* once did I proclaim, "I KNEW IT!" I genuinely can not wait for more works from Miller, and I very much hope to see more from Dagny and her team in the future. The Bubble Gum Thief is a MUST read!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ann

    This was a great book! A killer is reeking havoc across the country. The crimes start with the theft of a pack of chewing gum. The next is a rape, then a bank robbery. At the scene of each crime the perpetrator leaves his calling card. "This is my # crime. The next will be bigger." Dagny Gray is an FBI agent who is very flawed. She is depressed and anorexic. She is made to gain weight in order to stay on the force and, as part of that, she is assigned to take a class with "the professor," a reno This was a great book! A killer is reeking havoc across the country. The crimes start with the theft of a pack of chewing gum. The next is a rape, then a bank robbery. At the scene of each crime the perpetrator leaves his calling card. "This is my # crime. The next will be bigger." Dagny Gray is an FBI agent who is very flawed. She is depressed and anorexic. She is made to gain weight in order to stay on the force and, as part of that, she is assigned to take a class with "the professor," a renowned agent. She begins to look for the killer in this case when it becomes very personal. This book was excellent. It had the suspense you look for with the touch of romance, pathos and wit. Dagny is a great character and I hope that there are more.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    It begins with the theft of a pack of gum and a card left behind stating “This is My First Crime, the Next Will Be Bigger”. As the crimes become bigger and include murder, the FBI becomes involved and Agent Dagny Gray wants to solve it and kill him before his crimes grow to an intensifying catastrophe. This is a large novel, and I was intrigued by why the theft of the gum would snowball into such as it did. It took a while to pick up speed and although it becomes a little wordy at times, I found It begins with the theft of a pack of gum and a card left behind stating “This is My First Crime, the Next Will Be Bigger”. As the crimes become bigger and include murder, the FBI becomes involved and Agent Dagny Gray wants to solve it and kill him before his crimes grow to an intensifying catastrophe. This is a large novel, and I was intrigued by why the theft of the gum would snowball into such as it did. It took a while to pick up speed and although it becomes a little wordy at times, I found that the action and mystery made it that much more exciting. It held my attention to the very end, which to me makes it a good story.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Polly Clarke

    This is the first narrated book I've experienced and if it weren't for that, I don't think I would have got half way through. There are sections that feel too long and I expected would have seemed longer if read rather than listened. It's only on hindsight that you realise that everything Miller writes within this thriller (as every good writer must) has a purpose. The voice was a little robotic at times but was generally ok. I enjoyed the subtle humour and the conclusions right at the end. Jeff This is the first narrated book I've experienced and if it weren't for that, I don't think I would have got half way through. There are sections that feel too long and I expected would have seemed longer if read rather than listened. It's only on hindsight that you realise that everything Miller writes within this thriller (as every good writer must) has a purpose. The voice was a little robotic at times but was generally ok. I enjoyed the subtle humour and the conclusions right at the end. Jeff Miller has set the stage for a series and I would be intrigued enough to read it. An excellent and sometimes complicated plot shows how much work Miller has carefully put into his first novel.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Layburn

    Although I did have a few quibbles (I stumbled over some seriously over-detailed scenes in the beginning, one of the crime scenes unfortunately bears too much similarity to a recent horrific tragedy, and I found the ending the slightest bit convoluted) I am still a devoted fan of this book. Two things sold me right away- the intriguing premise (regarding the villain) and the wonderfully drawn main character (I didn't expect to like Dagny as much as I did). Miller had his hooks in me from the fir Although I did have a few quibbles (I stumbled over some seriously over-detailed scenes in the beginning, one of the crime scenes unfortunately bears too much similarity to a recent horrific tragedy, and I found the ending the slightest bit convoluted) I am still a devoted fan of this book. Two things sold me right away- the intriguing premise (regarding the villain) and the wonderfully drawn main character (I didn't expect to like Dagny as much as I did). Miller had his hooks in me from the first, and never really let go.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Debumere

    I loved I loved I loved I loved I loved. It was just what I consider to be a brilliant book. Excellent debut from Jeff Millar and it was so good I cried tears because I was at the stage where I felt I would never read a 5* book again. Gripping thriller featuring Special Agent Dagny Grey, with issues, who races against time to find some psycho and it was brilliant. I won't reveal anything. You have to read it. Big fan. Had I been capable of writing something like this I would have died a very hap I loved I loved I loved I loved I loved. It was just what I consider to be a brilliant book. Excellent debut from Jeff Millar and it was so good I cried tears because I was at the stage where I felt I would never read a 5* book again. Gripping thriller featuring Special Agent Dagny Grey, with issues, who races against time to find some psycho and it was brilliant. I won't reveal anything. You have to read it. Big fan. Had I been capable of writing something like this I would have died a very happy person. I like to think it would be akin reaching the state of Nirvana.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Simon Kitt

    I got this book as a free download on amazon and I must admit I would quite happily pay for it. Admittedly I scoffed at the title and thought that I would probably be giving up after the first few chapters. Before I knew it I was a third of the way through the book and hungry for more. With more twists and turns than a roller coaster this book keeps you wanting more without going over the top. I could imagine this as a successful movie and pray for more to be written. A new favourite author in t I got this book as a free download on amazon and I must admit I would quite happily pay for it. Admittedly I scoffed at the title and thought that I would probably be giving up after the first few chapters. Before I knew it I was a third of the way through the book and hungry for more. With more twists and turns than a roller coaster this book keeps you wanting more without going over the top. I could imagine this as a successful movie and pray for more to be written. A new favourite author in the crime thriller genre

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lidia

    I have read this book like if I was seeing one thriller movie. I liked the complex plot and how has been written , the character di Sag with her problem of anorexia and that of murderer . Action,suspance,adrenaline, emotion all in a book that I have read in only one afternoon. Though , poor Mike...

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    This was a crazy book with a very real take on an eating disorder. That being said the person with the eating disorder has to find an insane killer. This was a fascinating book & I can't wait for the next one to come out. Very well written & the author clearly knows the thought process of a person with an eating disorder. This was a crazy book with a very real take on an eating disorder. That being said the person with the eating disorder has to find an insane killer. This was a fascinating book & I can't wait for the next one to come out. Very well written & the author clearly knows the thought process of a person with an eating disorder.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Marvin

    This book was a fun ride! To set the stage, a strange man steals a pack of gum and in its place leaves a note that reads, "This is my first crime. The next one will be bigger." From there, he is pursued by Special Agent Dagny Gray and the escalation begins. Each crime gets bigger and bigger and it leaves you wondering, "what will he do next?" ....and where will it end? This book was a fun ride! To set the stage, a strange man steals a pack of gum and in its place leaves a note that reads, "This is my first crime. The next one will be bigger." From there, he is pursued by Special Agent Dagny Gray and the escalation begins. Each crime gets bigger and bigger and it leaves you wondering, "what will he do next?" ....and where will it end?

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lynn

    The Bubble Gum Thief is a well written engaging book by a new author. I was hooked from the very first chapter. It is well written and the details make this mystery very believable. I am hoping that there will be more Dagny Gray thrillers in the future.

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