Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Knight

This is the third installment in what I call “The Chess Pieces Mysteries”. First there was
The Rook, then The Pawn, this book, The Knight, and the next one will be “The Bishop”.
Steven James just gets better with each book that he writes, and this is definitely his best.

The series is actually called “The Patrick Bowers Files”, but I like my name for it too. J Patrick Bower is the main character in the whole series, and is an FBI agent who gets called in to help investigate tough crimes, and the crime in this book is tough. A serial killer is killing victims in pretty gruesome ways, modeling his crimes from a book - which I googled, and the book does exist.

The crimes keep escalating, and soon the police know how the next victims will die, but can they find the victims in time, and stop the killer? As they come to the final killing in the “story” the killer is playing out, Patrick realizes the final victim planned is himself.

This is an awesome read. A lot of suspense, mystery, and intrigue. I was totally blown away by the ending. The author keeps you guessing throughout the book at the identity of the killer, then pulls the unexpected.

I will be bluntly honest. I have never been a big fan of first person novels, or as I have called them for years, “I books” - I should sue Apple - I came up with the term first! In my opinion, it restricts the story to only know what the main character is thinking. This author does both styles of writing. The main character is in the first person, but the story goes back and forth between first and third person. The end result makes a very good story, and more enjoyable than if it was totally first person.

If you are looking for something blatantly Christian, you may not like this book. The main character is not a Christian, or doesn’t seem to be - he curses, though there are none printed in the book. There was a sexual innuendo which I could have done without, but overall, the book is clean, does have some Christian content, and though there is a lot of violence, good ultimately triumphs over evil.

The book does address an interesting question. Is it ever Ok to lie to see justice done? If by telling the complete truth, would someone’s testimony in court allow someone to walk free who is definitely guilty, and will kill again, molest, or rape? The main character has to face that issue. If he tells the truth, a violent criminal will most likely walk. If he lies, lives will be saved. So does he lie, or tell the truth? Read the book and find out.

Although more secular than Christian, this is an excellent book, and you will not run into language and sexual issues in this book. other than the slight inneuendo I mentioned. If you like good clean suspense, check out the “Chess Pieces Mysteries”, or as Revell Publishers call them, “The Patrick Bower Files”. And in my opinion, this is a series that wouldn’t necessarily have to be read in order, but I recommend reading the whole series. You won’t be disappointed.

I emailed the author to ask if there will be more books in the series, since there are more chess pieces yet to be uses as titles, and there are plans for the others. I look forward to more in the series.

A word of caution, these books are a bit more violent and descriptive than the average Suspense novel you purchase from the Christian bookstore, but they really are excellent books.

Press release:

Steven James is one of the nation’s most innovative storytellers—with a Master of Arts in Storytelling degree to prove it. For the past decade, he has been crafting compelling and evocative stories that pull readers into the thick of his brilliant, mind-bending plots, and his latest creative endeavor is no different: The Knight, the third installment in his bestselling series of thrillers, is full of the chilling twists and adrenaline-laced action that readers have come to expect from James.

The Knight picks up in The Bowers Files series, starring FBI criminologist Patrick Bowers, who is assigned to tracking the country’s most dangerous killers. But when he is called to his most disturbing crime scene yet, Bowers begins to realize that this criminal mastermind has actually been tracking him.

To get to the bottom of this cold-blooded case, Bowers uses his cutting-edge investigative techniques to decipher the evidence and discovers that the murderer has been using an ancient manuscript as a blueprint for his crimes. This sends Bowers on a race against time to stop the killer before he takes his next victim in another grisly crime.

But even as he is working to crack the clues of this bloody trail, Bowers finds himself stumped by another matter: An old murder case haunts him, causing him to question himself and wonder which is more important—truth or justice. The answer might set a killer free or change Bowers into a criminal himself.

Keeping readers guessing until the very end, James has earned rave reviews from the likes of Publishers Weekly, which called his thrillers “a wild ride with a shocking conclusion.” The Knight offers readers more of the same, as the satisfying follow-up to his previous bestselling psychological thrillers in The Bowers Files series, The Pawn and The Rook.

“Heart-pounding excitement…
Once the last page is turned, you’ll be tempted to flip back
to the beginning to see where you missed vital clues.
Top-notch suspense!”
— Romantic Times review of The Knight

New Thriller from Steven James:
The Knight

Reviews for The Bowers Files series

Praise for The Pawn
“Riveting.” —Publishers Weekly
“An exhilarating thriller.” —Mysterious Reviews
“Brilliant.” —Ann Tatlock, Christy-award-winning author
“There is nothing not to like.” —The Suspense Zone
“An exceptional psychological thriller.”—Bookshelf Review
“Seriously intense.” —Pop Culture Tuesday

Praise for The Rook

“It’s a wild ride with a shocking conclusion.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Readers will be on the edge of their seats.” —Romantic Times top pick
“Steven James has mastered the thriller.” —The Suspense Zone
“Suspense thriller writing at its highest level.” —
“Steven James hooked me with his debut, The Pawn. Now in his explosive
sequel he has absolutely blown me away.” —The Christian Manifesto

Praise from real-life investigators

"Steven James's ability to use modern, up-to-date investigative
techniques to solve his criminal mysteries places him
at the forefront of current mystery writers."
— E. Cleon Glaze, retired FBI agent, Alaska

"Steven James combines 21st-century high-tech law enforcement
techniques with 18th-century Sherlockian deduction
to craft an exciting, suspense-filled story."
— Dr. Kim Rossmo,
Center for Geospatial Intelligence and Investigation, Texas State University

Available August 2009 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group