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The Bubble Gum Thief (Dagny Gray #1)

3.89  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,101 Ratings  ·  149 Reviews
It is barely a crime — just the theft of a single pack of gum. But each crime that follows is bigger, and each accompanying note promises the next crime will be even worse.

When FBI Special Agent Dagny Gray is asked to investigate the gum thief’s fifth crime, a bank robbery, it seems like an intriguing case. However there is nothing funny about the double murder that follow
Paperback, 428 pages
Published December 4th 2012 by Thomas & Mercer
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Community Reviews

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Nov 20, 2012 Cheryl rated it liked it
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
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
Michael Klein
Dec 02, 2012 Michael Klein rated it it was amazing
Shelves: faves
“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
Rebecca T
Jan 20, 2013 Rebecca T rated it really liked it
Shelves: 100-in-2013, reviewed
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
Feb 17, 2013 Bryce rated it really liked it
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
Nov 25, 2012 Jacqui rated it it was amazing
Shelves: thriller-mystery
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 c ...more
Tiger Gray
Jul 26, 2014 Tiger Gray rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
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
Dec 13, 2012 Jen rated it really liked it
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
Feb 03, 2015 Jordan rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 20, 2013 Cheryl rated it it was amazing
"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
Jan 13, 2013 Monti marked it as to-read
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!
Erika Yacobucci
Jan 19, 2013 Erika Yacobucci rated it it was amazing
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.
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 ...more
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
Feb 14, 2013 Carol rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Mar 24, 2013 Vickie rated it it was amazing
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
Ilya Gerner
Jan 01, 2013 Ilya Gerner rated it it was amazing
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
Matt Dalton
Mar 09, 2013 Matt Dalton rated it liked it
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
Feb 14, 2013 Ally rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Christine Blachford
Jan 08, 2014 Christine Blachford rated it liked it
An interesting read, this one. It managed to steer clear of some of the more predictable cop thriller tropes, for example, our protagonist was taken off the case before it even got going, rather than halfway through. Dagny Gray was a difficult character to get to like, and I was a bit disappointed that the anorexia storyline didn’t go anywhere. It had been pretty well handled up to the point it just disappeared.

The case was an interesting one, and I quite enjoyed the chase, but the twist at the
Kirby Mccauley
Jan 20, 2016 Kirby Mccauley added it
Recommends it for: Everyone

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
Jul 18, 2013 Ann rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Dec 08, 2012 Dan rated it really liked it
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
Feb 27, 2015 Deborah rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 07, 2013 Sharon rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-suspense
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
Simon Kitt
May 03, 2013 Simon Kitt rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 04, 2015 Sarah rated it really liked it
The only thing keeping me from giving this book 5/5 stars is the main character. I absolutely hated Dagny Gray, I'm not going to lie. I didn't care about her or her issues at all... While reading the book, I felt very little for her whenever terrible things would happen to her or the investigation wouldn't go her way. I'm not sure why, because at the surface level she seems like a very rounded main character. Intelligent, skilled at her work, attractive, but also struggling with her mental and p ...more
Aug 27, 2014 Maerhys rated it really liked it
One of the best books I've read yet this year and I will definitely be buying more of Miller's novels because FINALLY someone is doing something different with the mystery/suspense genre. \o/

My only complaint is that I could not suspend my disbelief that someone who has been battling anorexia since she was 18 and who was in the middle of a particularly bad patch of her disease would (view spoiler)
Aug 26, 2014 Christina rated it liked it
An escalating criminal and a struggling investigator but still a good book

The lead character in this novel is Special Agent Dagny Gray. She is anorexic who is struggling with to manage her disorder. She has a funny endearing relationship with Victor. She often refers to him as her apprentice. Although she is a strange choice for a lead character, I found her to be be very likable.

The initial crime starts with a small crime of stealing bubble gum. The criminal leaves a card at each crime saying t
David Mortman
Oct 04, 2012 David Mortman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I finished reading my copy last night. Jeff has put together a great read. If I didn't know better, I would never have guessed it was his first book. His characters are fantastic and the story line compelling. I had trouble putting it down and stayed up way too late two nights running reading it. I was really sad when the book was done because I just didn't want to stop reading it yet again. The really hard part is going to be waiting for his next book to come out.
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Ask Jeff Miller: Travelogue 2 14 Jan 21, 2013 05:04PM  
  • The Death and Life of Sherlock Holmes
  • The Wanderers of the Water Realm
  • Mightier than the Sword (The Henry Bride Thrillers, #1)
  • Sunset: A John Bekker Mystery (John Bekker, #1)
  • The Valentine's Day Clue (Nayak Brothers, #1)
  • Sherlock Holmes and Young Winston: The Jubilee Plot
  • Defending the Duchess (Protecting the Crown, #2)
  • Chameleon (City of London, #2)
  • Flicker (The Flicker Effect Book 1)
  • Bloodland
  • Sadie Walker is Stranded (Zombie, #2)
  • Alive! (Valentino, #3)
  • Mrs Jones (Tommy Connell Mystery #1)
  • Old Gold
  • Big Maria
  • Zombie Invasion (Zora Baker, #2)
  • Gray
  • Disappeared
Jeff Miller grew up in the suburbs of Cincinnati, Ohio, where Jerry Springer attended his temple and Pete Rose broke his heart. He’s rafted down the Rio Grande with folksinger Butch Hancock, co-created an award-winning mockumentary about table tennis, and performed and written for a public access sketch comedy series. Like many lawyers, the only thing he ever really wanted to do was write. The Bub ...more
More about Jeff Miller...

Other Books in the Series

Dagny Gray (2 books)
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