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4.42  ·  Rating details ·  73 ratings  ·  47 reviews
My GRL is the story of John J. Cannon, successful San Francisco lawyer, who takes a well-deserved leave of absence from his firm. He travels to a small Texas fishing town and buys a boat, unaware that his new purchase, renamed My GRL, had already been targeted by a terrorist group. John’s first inkling of a problem is when he wakes up in the hospital. He learns he was foun ...more
Paperback, 226 pages
Published December 30th 2013 by Martin Sisters Publishing
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Average rating 4.42  · 
Rating details
 ·  73 ratings  ·  47 reviews

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Victoria Ray
May 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The thriller My GRL is well-layered, intelligent, and intense suspense, where the buying of the boat is only the beginning. From there, the story races through stunning twists & turns – all the way to its revelation. Emotional and deeply satisfying prose narrated from a first-person (very engaging!) + reads like a diary or as you see it from outside, still being inside at the same time. John W. Howell is a masterful storyteller who has perfected the art of suspense in his books. Don’t miss it!

Clare O'Beara
Oct 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: america-crime
This is a brisk read told in first person present tense. The lawyer we meet is taking a year out from life and buys a boat in a Texas harbour town. He just plans to mess around and maybe charter for fishing tourists when he gets competent. But the agent who helped him buy his boat, which he renamed My Grl, comes under pressure to resell it to others. She is shot dead one evening as the two of them leave a hostelry. This begins a crime investigation which continues to become a thriller.

I liked th
Robbie Cheadle
Oct 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I don’t often read thrillers. The reason is that I can often work out the plot before the end of the book which ruins the story for me. I decided to give this book a try as I had read so much about it and I certainly wasn’t disappointed. John Howell has a great style of writing and keeps the story moving along at an interesting and fast pace. The plot was unpredictable and I most certainly did not work it out before the end.

John Cannon has embarked on a new chapter in his life. He has made the d
Jul 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
John Howell's My GRL (Amazon Digital Services 2017) is the story of John Cannon, a man who retires from the rat race to live the life of no worries, no deadlines, and no one to answer to. He's wealthy enough to make that happen and decides a boat--the My GRL--would be perfect for his new lifestyle. What starts out as a stress-free new lease on life ends up a fight for his life as he tangles with terrorists who decide My GRL is the last piece of their America-defeating terrorist plot.  Cannon is ...more
Greg Spry
Feb 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Overall, I enjoyed MY GRL. The beginning pulled me in enough to convince me to read on, the author kept me mostly engaged throughout the story, and I couldn't put it down throughout the climax. This novel is a solid murder mystery/thriller that should appeal to most readers. I could even see it on the big screen. On a ten-point scale, I'd give it a seven, but out of five stars, it deserves the bump up to four.

The areas I noted for potential improvement were the dry prose, over-explaining, and co
May 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book introduces you to John J. Cannon, lawyer on leave, owner of an impressive boat. The woman who sold it to him is killed right beside him - the beginning of a series of troubling events.

With My GRL, John W. Howell has created a steady-paced thriller with a quite normal protagonist. I automatically fell in love with the boat and really liked her owner. The story comprises a variety of craftily elaborated characters with sufficient depth and interesting interactions until the final page. I
D.G. Kaye
Oct 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
John Cannon is taking a year off from his law practice for a little leisure time to a coastal town in Texas. He leases himself a cozy home, buys a reliable car and a dream boat, he names My GRL.

The story unfolds with John going for a celebration drink with his new friend Gerry who hooked him up with the people he bought his boat from, and the action begins. And soon, John's plans for rest and relaxation turn into nightmares on what becomes a cat and mouse chase that we experience through John's
Staci Troilo
Mar 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I often find work written in first person/present tense to be jarring. Overuse of “I” and “me” coupled with an awkward reveal of the POV character’s name and appearance usually work against an author’s intent and keep me from engaging in the story.

That’s not the case with John Howell’s MY GRL.

Mr. Howell penned a story that, while written in first person/present tense, actually sucked me into the story. I thought what main character John Cannon thought, I felt what he felt. Howell is to be commen
Jun 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was my first time reading a mystery/thriller and I expected there to be tons of action and intrigue. Instead, I found a lot of suspense and colorful characters that kept me wanting to read more. The pacing is fast at most points and there’s very little lingering on scenes. A plot point is hit, suspicions are raised, twists occur, and then off to the next leg of the adventure.

I know from that description it sounds like I’m saying this is rushed, but it’s the opposite. The speed of the story
D. Peach
Mar 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
John Cannon is on a sabbatical from his high-powered attorney job and decides to spend a year on Mustang Island off the coast of Texas working on his used 65’ boat. Then his friend ends up shot, and the sheriff suspects that he’s keeping secrets. Add to that, it turns out that terrorists want his boat.

This book moves along at a good clip as John deals with the sheriff and then gets embroiled in the terrorists’ plot. He’s a great character, and for me, he brought the book to life. He’s kind of an
Mae Clair
May 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
A story about an everyday sort of guy caught up in extraordinary circumstances, My GRL starts off with a bang and keeps the twists and suspense coming. The lead character, John Cannon finds himself the target of terrorists after purchasing a boat (My GRL) from a friend who is killed within the opening pages of the book. The story is told in first person POV present-tense, which gives the reader great insight into John’s character. A quick read and a page-turner, this is an engaging thriller with ...more
C.S. Boyack
Jul 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fabulous story

I read across a broad spectrum, and it's been a while since I grabbed a thriller. My Grl did not disappoint. I appreciate the use of an ordinary guy as the main character. There are plenty of twists and turns, and this held my attention all the way. So many of these stories wind up with a Chuck Norris type lead, that this was a refreshing approach.

I also appreciate that the author knows when to bring down the curtain. Too many stories expand into future happiness and success. I rec
Bette Stevens
MY GRL by John Howell is a well-written contemporary thriller that caught my interest on page one and kept my head spinning through to its climax. Protagonist John Cannon is a likable guy who is looking for a break from the humdrum of the legal world and takes time off from his career with the intention to relax and regenerate. From day one of his getaway, Cannon unintentionally enters a world plagued by mystery and murder. MY GRL brings international terrorism to new heights and John Cannon tak ...more
T. A. Peters
Jun 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
John Cannon is a thirty-eight-year-old partner in a law firm in California who decides to take a twelve month leave from the practice in order to decide if he is truly happy with the “comfort of the routine I had come to know and hate” or if he would prefer a different lifestyle now that he has the financial means to live as he pleases. At first, everything proceeds wonderfully with a relocation to Port Aransas on the Texas Gulf Coast. The quick acquisition of a twelve-month lease on a home and ...more
Ted Halstead
Feb 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Credible, Exciting Thriller

First, I'll note that I've written three thrillers myself that have sold thousands of copies. So, when it comes to books like this, I know what to look for in the writing.

First, does the writing hold my interest? Well, here's an example of the author's dry sense of humor:

"I appreciate your belief that you’re covered by the right religion, but think whoever survives this mission will have chosen the right religion in the end."

Next, are the characters and their dialogu
Balroop Singh
Jun 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My GRL by John Howell places the protagonist in a dangerous situation, thereby capturing the attention of the readers right in the beginning. The plot gets murkier when John Cannon falls into the trap of unknown persons who take advantage of his goodness. A thought that I dismissed while reading this book was how could a lawyer be that naïve to trust strangers! The story does spring some surprises but is predictable at many places.

Howell’s style of writing is engaging and keeps you guessing. His
Jun 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My GRL's main character, John Cannon made an impression; likable, funny, and obsessive at points, I could relate to him. I'm glad the author explained a lot of the technical aspects of the yacht because I'm unfamiliar with boats and sailing terms. In one of my favorites scenes, John drove his FJ across the beach fleeing from the terrorists and thought he'd succeeded, but things aren't always what they seem. Sometimes the pace slowed too much, for example, the many pages devoted to the cotter pin ...more
Brigid Gallagher
Jul 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
John Cannon has embarked on a well earned sabbatical from his career as a lawyer, and purchases a yacht called "My GRL". He visualises life in the slow lane with a yacht charter business. However, his friend Gerry is murdered and John wakes up in hospital with concussion. He soon learns that the murder weapon was found under his unconscious body.
John unwittingly becomes embroiled in a complex terrorist plot with many unexpected twists and turns. My GRL moves slowly at first but picks up pace an
Guy Portman
Dec 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: thriller
Successful lawyer John D. Cannon is taking a sabbatical on an idyllic island off Texas, in the Gulf of Mexico. Any hopes for a relaxed break from the grindstone are dashed when John is knocked unconscious and his female companion is shot dead. And this is just the start of his problems. He soon finds himself embroiled in a terrorist-related plot. What will be John’s fate?

My GRL is a maritime thriller whose themes are terrorism and patriotism. As for its agreeable, analytical and apologetic prota
Kim Cox
Jun 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Thrilling Mystery With an Unlikely Hero

The unlikely hero is a corporate lawyer looking for a comfortable life outside the world of business. The obstacles he faces will blow your socks off. There's a terrorist plot afoot and they involve John Cannon. John can't understand why they're interested in him but he soon finds out.

This is a well-written, edge-of-your-seat thriller that keeps you turning the pages. I look forward to reading Mr. Howell's next thriller.
Mar 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
John W. Howell's new novel, My GRL, is a pleasantly different kind of thriller. The hero, John D. Cannon, lacks a few of the standard hero qualities that you might expect in a thriller novel. He doesn't seek out danger. In fact, at one point, danger has to literally run him off the road and onto the beach to get his attention. Cannon is somewhat naive as well, especially when it comes to women. He takes them at face value, trusting them in spite of all the red flags they wave in his face. [Ahem, ...more
Mar 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A real page-turner

I was not sure I would like this book, but once I started it, I could hardly bear to put it down. Now I must find Books Two and Three in this series!
Mike Billington
Jul 28, 2015 rated it liked it
It's not easy to write a thriller about a terrorist plot.
A lot of people think it is, but it's not.
The reason it's so difficult: Very few of us are terrorists and so we do not know what truly motivates them, how they actually think, how they choose their targets, how they are financed and what - if anything - they hope to achieve beyond spreading death and destruction. We THINK we know, but we really don't because all of our knowledge about them comes second - or even third - hand.
Not knowing w
Jun 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
John W. Howell is a new author with a mission: Entertain his readers and give them a wild ride. Mission accomplished.

If you are looking for a book that will both keep you guessing and keep your heart rate booming, this would be a good one to choose. Mr. Howell's main character reminded me somewhat of a Jason Bourne/Macgyver combo in the regard that he can go anywhere and find trouble, but he is smart enough to get himself out of the situations he finds himself in, creatively.

If you have no abi
S.K. Nicholls
Jul 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
I am a serious boat person and love crime fiction so this book had me intrigued from the start. John J. Cannon is an average Joe, an attorney, trying to escape the stress of the Courtroom and office, when he heads to the Texas coast and buys a yacht from a broker who is not entirely on the up and up with him. She ends up dead. Poor John, absorbed with minutia and afflicted with OCD, gets sucked into the middle of a criminal catastrophe. There is one dilemma after another placed in front of him.

Katie Cross
Mar 20, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: white-knucklers
This is definitely more of 3.5 stars, first of all. I think the best way to summarize this book is that I haven't read anything quite like it before!

Howell's take on the perspective (first person present) was so interesting that I wasn't sure if I was more fascinated with the story or the stream-of-consciousness approach to writing. Truly, it's a one-of-a-kind find, and not necessarily in a bad way.

The character had personality and spunk: I liked him. He had my loyalty from the beginning. Howel
Harmony Kent
Dec 14, 2014 rated it liked it
My GRL is a thriller set primarily off the Texas coast. John Cannon, a successful San Francisco Lawyer, takes a leave of absence. He buys a yacht, My GRL, which is the start of his problems. The book opens with John being hit on the back of the head and knocked unconscious. When he awakes some hours later in the hospital, it is to find out that his friend Gerry has been shot and killed. The police are very interested in John, as he was the last person to see her alive.

The pacing starts slowly, a
Phillip McCollum
Jan 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Some people write books and that’s all there is to it. A dab of metaphors here. A semicolon there. Hmm, how about a sprinkle of suspense? Maybe an exclamation mark or two? Sure, why not.

But with My GRL, John Howell doesn’t just put down words and punctuation. He puts himself into the story. Not in a vessel so obvious as a character (though this may be true too…John, you captured by any terrorists lately?), but his personality lives in passing phrases and a colorful setting you can feel touching
Madi Preda
Feb 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Madi by: John W.Howelll
My GRLMy GRL BY John W. Howell, an adventure of a reluctant hero fighting unscrupulous terrorists and stop them with their evil plans.

The main character of this book is a successful lawyer, John Cannon, who instead of finding his peaceful leave of absence from his firm and enjoying his new acquisition, luxury fishing boat – My GRL, he is faced with other circumstances. He finds himself in incredible danger and being the suspect in the death of a young and attractive woman, Gerry who sold him the
Rosie Amber
Jun 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
When John Canon takes leave from his law firm, he heads to Mustang Island, Texas where he buys a boat and starts out to gain his Captain's license. He now lives a relaxing lifestyle and is leaving a bar with friend Gerry Starnes when he finds himself waking up in hospital after a blow to the head.

An investigation is under way led by Chief of Police Ned Tranes, when John finds out how lucky he was. Gerry was murdered in the attack. John is the only witness and feels threatened by Ned's questions.
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John W, Howell began his writing as a full-time occupation after an extensive business career. His specialty is thriller fiction novels, but John also writes poetry and short stories. His first book, My GRL, introduces the exciting adventures of the book's central character, John J. Cannon. The second Cannon novel, His Revenge, continues the adventure, while the final book in the trilogy, Our Just ...more

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