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The Pawn

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Special Agent Patrick Bowers had only met one man who made him truly afraid. Until now. When he's called to North Carolina to consult on the case of an area serial killer, he finds himself in a deadly game. Cunning and lethal, the killer is always one step ahead of the law, and he's about to strike again. It will take all of Bowers's instincts and training to stop this man Special Agent Patrick Bowers had only met one man who made him truly afraid. Until now. When he's called to North Carolina to consult on the case of an area serial killer, he finds himself in a deadly game. Cunning and lethal, the killer is always one step ahead of the law, and he's about to strike again. It will take all of Bowers's instincts and training to stop this man who calls himself the Illusionist. And just when the pieces start to come together, Bowers realizes they're not quite adding up. Can he unravel the pattern and save the next victim? Or will the Illusionist win the game by taking one of his opponent's pieces? Thrilling, chilling, and impossible to put down, The Pawn will hold suspense lovers in its iron grip until the very last page.


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Special Agent Patrick Bowers had only met one man who made him truly afraid. Until now. When he's called to North Carolina to consult on the case of an area serial killer, he finds himself in a deadly game. Cunning and lethal, the killer is always one step ahead of the law, and he's about to strike again. It will take all of Bowers's instincts and training to stop this man Special Agent Patrick Bowers had only met one man who made him truly afraid. Until now. When he's called to North Carolina to consult on the case of an area serial killer, he finds himself in a deadly game. Cunning and lethal, the killer is always one step ahead of the law, and he's about to strike again. It will take all of Bowers's instincts and training to stop this man who calls himself the Illusionist. And just when the pieces start to come together, Bowers realizes they're not quite adding up. Can he unravel the pattern and save the next victim? Or will the Illusionist win the game by taking one of his opponent's pieces? Thrilling, chilling, and impossible to put down, The Pawn will hold suspense lovers in its iron grip until the very last page.

30 review for The Pawn

  1. 5 out of 5

    The Pirate Ghost (Formerly known as the Curmudgeon)

    The Bower's files are all fun reads. The first one is every bit as creepy as it should be. As much as Patrick Bowers comes across as a sad-sack and a proprietary thinker, he becomes endearing and likeable. The most interesting character is his daughter! Reads like a movie. The plot is involved and twisted and spills into the sequels. James's sense or romance could be tightened up a bit, but he manages to make that fun too. Bower's big "theory" of how to catch serial killers and his disdain of pr The Bower's files are all fun reads. The first one is every bit as creepy as it should be. As much as Patrick Bowers comes across as a sad-sack and a proprietary thinker, he becomes endearing and likeable. The most interesting character is his daughter! Reads like a movie. The plot is involved and twisted and spills into the sequels. James's sense or romance could be tightened up a bit, but he manages to make that fun too. Bower's big "theory" of how to catch serial killers and his disdain of profilers...well, most ove 'em... really makes a person think about how we look for criminals and why we presume one is more guilty than others. THis is a really good read that tells a story on multiple levels. It's one of my favorites. I recommend it for anyone. There are some warnings. 1) THere are several places where we see things through the villains eyes. He's a bad-bad-bad villain and he does very bad things to very sweet, gentle and beautiful people (primarily late teenage to 20 something young ladies). There is more than one villain her and they will all terrify and disgust you. If your squeamish, you may wish to read this with a teddy bear in hand. If this kind of violence bothers you, don't read it, it's all through this thing. It's not fir children. The violence is well managed and dark and I liked it because I felt it had a role in the story that was larger than just making the bad guy look bad. Some people may not be as padded from reality as I am. 2) There is no two. It's a great thriller, a great human story and a great read. enjoy.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Dianne

    In a chilling race to stop a crazed serial killer in his tracks, Special Agent Patrick Bowers must use all of his training, his wit and his gut-instinct as the clock ticks down on death. Steven James’s THE PAWN pits Bowers against the monster known as the Illusionist and from start to finish one never knows what will happen next! Gritty and emotionally taut, this is a suspense lover’s dream as we witness both the personal and professional turmoil of Bowers as he searches for any advantage against In a chilling race to stop a crazed serial killer in his tracks, Special Agent Patrick Bowers must use all of his training, his wit and his gut-instinct as the clock ticks down on death. Steven James’s THE PAWN pits Bowers against the monster known as the Illusionist and from start to finish one never knows what will happen next! Gritty and emotionally taut, this is a suspense lover’s dream as we witness both the personal and professional turmoil of Bowers as he searches for any advantage against the Illusionist, who always seems to be one step ahead of the law. If you’re looking for a slice of dark and twisted reading, don’t mind sitting on the edge of your seat and like your heroes to be very human, this is a magnetic read that is hard to put down until the case is solved, one way or another… Series: The Patrick Bowers Files - Book 1 Publisher: Revell; 1st edition (February 1, 2007) Publication Date: February 1, 2007 Genre: Mystery | Suspense Print Length: 433 pages Available from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble For Reviews, Giveaways, Fabulous Book News, follow: http://tometender.blogspot.com

  3. 4 out of 5

    Harry

    Imagine my surprise after reading all the Patrick Bower series by Steven James and in wanting to write a review of the books, to discover that this series is labeled as being published by a Christian publisher, as well as authored by a Christian...ergo, the Patrick Bowers series is labeled Christian Fiction. I'll tell you this, as an atheist, I didn't have a clue (not even a suspicion) of this throughout my reading of these novels. Now, now, I am not implying that good Christian fiction doesn't Imagine my surprise after reading all the Patrick Bower series by Steven James and in wanting to write a review of the books, to discover that this series is labeled as being published by a Christian publisher, as well as authored by a Christian...ergo, the Patrick Bowers series is labeled Christian Fiction. I'll tell you this, as an atheist, I didn't have a clue (not even a suspicion) of this throughout my reading of these novels. Now, now, I am not implying that good Christian fiction doesn't exist! I have read a few good ones in my time. Having said that, however, I do not like novels with an ulterior motive, novels written to spread the word, so to speak. I stay away from them: period. No such problem with this series. In fact; there's nothing in these books that even hints at the above. So, do read on! Suffice it to say that morality is not the exclusive province of religion. If that were the case, no fiction, no protagonists, antagonists, or plots could ever be written. Steven James, the author, understands that. And you gotta know something about this series...it's all about morality, about choices made and not made, volitional experiences and their consequences made and perpetrated by protagonist and antogonists (this series has some of the best and most evil antogonists to be found anywhere!). Steven James - whether or not because of his religious affiliation - does understand the nature of evil. In fact, it's almost uncanny at how the author creeps into the minds of some of the most colorful, if not horrendous minds of his fictional villains. So, a word of caution, these novels have the propensity to creep you out. From my perspective, this series is about a war between intellect and demons (personal and real), between mental and scientific strategy and unrelenting impulses, between Criminology and the worst of the worst criminals, with Patrick Bowers at the helm of this singular intellect. Both cerebral and emotive, Patrick battles evil with an unerroring eye for detail, with near photographic memory, and with plenty of physical volatility all aimed at heart-pounding suspense and boy! Does S. James know how to deliver stunning endings! In regards to Criminology, the readers of this psychological thriller series will be exposed to the latest in scientific analysis: Environmental Criminology. Patrick Bowers focuses on criminal patterns within built environments (cities, landscapes, etc.) and analyzes the impacts of these variables on people's cognitive behavior. This places him in somewhat of a conflict with the FBI's profilers who tend to dismiss Bower's expertise. Here as in other places, Bowers is aided by powerful allies, notably by his friend Calvin, a professor as well as the originator of Environmental Ciminology. The characters are extremely well developed, very believable, and often help carry the weight of the protagonists role as powerful allies in themselves, such as is the case with Tessa...Patrick's step-daughter. This is a character with whom the reader sympathizes as much as they do with our hero. Wild, dark-haired, often an unwilling ally, and deeply compassionate, Tessa is at the core of Bower's universe, if not the series. She is his island which he protects at all costs and needless to say, she suffers the consequences of her father's aim to destroy evil. She is also the last testament towards his capacity for love. Note: one of the things I love about Goodreads is their categorization of series into numbered series. In this case, please note that #6 (recently published), is actually the pre-quel to the remaining Patrick Bower series. So, read it first! As with my other reviews that involve series, this review is the same for all the Bower's series, so if you've read this one, you've read them all.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Mike (the Paladin)

    First let me say this is a good book, I recommend it. I say that first because there is one thing that kept tapping me on the shoulder and saying, "hey, look a me!" So when I list a negative or a few instances of the same negative don't get the idea that it's a deal breaker. This is a good novel, I like it. First of all the writer does a great job of pulling you in and getting you involved in the protagonist's life and situation. I am not a fan of seeing things from the psychopathic point of vie First let me say this is a good book, I recommend it. I say that first because there is one thing that kept tapping me on the shoulder and saying, "hey, look a me!" So when I list a negative or a few instances of the same negative don't get the idea that it's a deal breaker. This is a good novel, I like it. First of all the writer does a great job of pulling you in and getting you involved in the protagonist's life and situation. I am not a fan of seeing things from the psychopathic point of view but the author (Steven James) does a good job of walking the edge and telling us what's going on in a broken mind without giving long loving descriptions of torture and sadism. Now the next thing I say will be a bit mixed. The one thing I couldn't get away from is that this novel is rife with cliches. NOW THAT SAID this is not in itself a fatal flaw. I've noted before that there are very few (if any) actually brand new unique plots and/or situations. It can depend very much on how it's handled and the book as a whole. So...if you haven't read the book, don't read the spoiler. There are big spoilers here and I don't want to ruin the book for you. (view spoiler)[ The cliches? Well first there's the 2 serial killers (I'm always temped to put "cereal" and picture a guy stabbing a Corn Flakes box. I know bad taste but there you are). Anyway...the 2 serial killers seeming to be one (one of them using the other). Then there's the dad dealing with a lost wife and estranged (step) daughter. Also, since the 1970s it's been "in vogue" to paint the CIA as villainous. If the U.S. had as many rogue/traitor/double/evil/incompetent agents in the CIA as I've seen in books, movies, TV shows etc. there'd be no good agents at all. Here we get, (are you ready?)...a southern politician who has an affinity for the Confederate flag who's also an ex-CIA agent and military type who's responsible for a massacre and cover up. And that's not the entire picture. Oh and when our hero repels down a cliff to face the killer and save his daughter (whom the serial killer got to in spite of all efforts to prevent it) who are both (the killer and the step-daughter) in a vehicle that went over a cliff...but caught on a ledge, just barely of course...he (the protagonist) forgot to take his gun with him. I'm sure the rest of the FBI would be proud... Oh and I forgot the old "enemy" FBI agent who is his superior on this case. See he found something and got her demoted in the past and she's very political...didn't I see that on TV...in like a dozen series???? Oh well. You see why it all jumped out at me. (hide spoiler)] Now again I say, all that said this is a good novel. I believe you'll get drawn in, the mystery and plot will hold your attention. For those of you like me who aren't really into angst and the personal/interpersonal problems of the characters while here, they don't overpower the plot. For people who like that type of story it's here. So I recommend this one. While I don't plan to run right out and get the next I probably will follow the series.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Melanie

    From page one of 'The Pawn', I was captured and didn't want to put the book down. The prologue was so gripping that I could vividly imagine what was happening. The suspense didn't stop there, it stayed throughout the entire book and with a surprise twist ending 'The Pawn' is sure to keep you up in the night. There are some gruesome scenes in 'The Pawn', so if you don't like reading books that are somewhat disturbing I wouldn't recommend this, but if you like reading books that are filled with sus From page one of 'The Pawn', I was captured and didn't want to put the book down. The prologue was so gripping that I could vividly imagine what was happening. The suspense didn't stop there, it stayed throughout the entire book and with a surprise twist ending 'The Pawn' is sure to keep you up in the night. There are some gruesome scenes in 'The Pawn', so if you don't like reading books that are somewhat disturbing I wouldn't recommend this, but if you like reading books that are filled with suspense and hold you attention, then by all means read 'The Pawn'! 'The Pawn' is the first book I've read by Steven James, but I enjoyed it so much that I plan to continue the series! I give this 4.5 stars only because of some of the things said. I still think it was good and worth reading.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Maureen DeLuca

    I'm going back and forth with a 3 star rating and a 4 . So, because I really like Patrick Bowers- I gave him the extra star and rated this at a 4. Patrick Bowers is hunting a killer that has dubbed himself "The Illusionist," thriving on misdirection and confusion to further confound the authorities at every turn. As Bowers and his team search for clues, they realize they are facing a madman who is as cunning as he is evil. As answers are uncovered, more mysteries surface, linking the Illusionist I'm going back and forth with a 3 star rating and a 4 . So, because I really like Patrick Bowers- I gave him the extra star and rated this at a 4. Patrick Bowers is hunting a killer that has dubbed himself "The Illusionist," thriving on misdirection and confusion to further confound the authorities at every turn. As Bowers and his team search for clues, they realize they are facing a madman who is as cunning as he is evil. As answers are uncovered, more mysteries surface, linking the Illusionist to a charismatic cult leader with ties to the infamous Jonestown cult. From here, our journey begins with all of the cat and mouse games. But having said that at times the plot/storyline could get you confused and some of the things that went on were really not believable at all.... Having said that -I'm glad I read this first book of the Patrick Bowers series- and I am going to continue on with it because in this case all the good in this book really did outweigh the bad of the book. A good psycho- insane- serial killer on the lose and the FBI team coming in to save the day- one way or the other! What is not to like?

  7. 5 out of 5

    Staci

    The Pawn picks up the series following the loss of FBI Agent Patrick Bower's wife. After taking a desk job in Denver to be close to his parents, he agrees to assist his buddy Ralph with a crime scene in North Carolina. Agent Bowers is meant to be in the field and quickly gets deeply involved with the case and his one day assist turns into many. Fortunately, the crime details are not heavily detailed but this series does have some difficult parts to read. I loved the sarcasm and reintroduction of The Pawn picks up the series following the loss of FBI Agent Patrick Bower's wife. After taking a desk job in Denver to be close to his parents, he agrees to assist his buddy Ralph with a crime scene in North Carolina. Agent Bowers is meant to be in the field and quickly gets deeply involved with the case and his one day assist turns into many. Fortunately, the crime details are not heavily detailed but this series does have some difficult parts to read. I loved the sarcasm and reintroduction of Tessa. I'm already dreading the end of this series.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sarita

    You know when you see a book everyone raves about, the first time you see all the great reviews, it peaks your interest, then later you add it to your TBR and then think okay maybe I should read this. Then when you finally read it you are wary because maybe it is exaggerated. I’m happy to say that this book met my expectations. Dr Patrick Bowers was a character I immediately connected with, with his strengths and weaknesses and victories and struggles. I enjoyed his chase to catch the killer and You know when you see a book everyone raves about, the first time you see all the great reviews, it peaks your interest, then later you add it to your TBR and then think okay maybe I should read this. Then when you finally read it you are wary because maybe it is exaggerated. I’m happy to say that this book met my expectations. Dr Patrick Bowers was a character I immediately connected with, with his strengths and weaknesses and victories and struggles. I enjoyed his chase to catch the killer and his attempts at a relationship with his stepdaughter. The serial killer was evil - think criminal minds. On that note, if you can’t stomach criminal minds, this book might not be for you, but if you like serial killers and enjoy reading about them, you will enjoy this book. The twists and turns were great and the suspense well executed with shorter chapters and even short paragraphs within a chapters which jumps between various POV’s. I had a suspect in mind the whole time and really thought I was right but nope, mr James kept me guessing and surprised. Even the supporting characters was interesting and the author left us with hints of more to come with some of them. Now, just to get hold of the next book!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ariel Masters

    What did I think? I don't know if there is room enough to accurately list all I think about this first book in the Patrick Bowers Files. Wow. Just... wow. I finished reading this story at about 1:00 a.m., and nearly rushed downstairs to leave my review just so my brain would shut up, and I could sleep. I, wisely, decided to let myself calm down first. So, here we go. I'll start with what I didn't like. I didn't care for the graphic killings. I mean, I get it; this is the author's style, and it do What did I think? I don't know if there is room enough to accurately list all I think about this first book in the Patrick Bowers Files. Wow. Just... wow. I finished reading this story at about 1:00 a.m., and nearly rushed downstairs to leave my review just so my brain would shut up, and I could sleep. I, wisely, decided to let myself calm down first. So, here we go. I'll start with what I didn't like. I didn't care for the graphic killings. I mean, I get it; this is the author's style, and it does grip your attention to your very core. But I almost hurled once. (So readers beware) It was a bit much for me at times. However, this is opinion, so it didn't make me feel the need to take any stars away from my ratings. Secondly, the formatting was strange, and it distracted me at times. Like, there would be several different people talking, but they were bunched together in one paragraph. I had to go back and re-read the conversations to really understand who was talking. Again ... minor. NOW! For the fun part. What I did like! *happy grin* I loved the plot of the story. LOVED IT! All the twists and turns. The plot was so detailed and perfect, I sat in awe upon finishing. You, author, left me speechless. The ending couldn't have been more perfect. The climax: I thought my heart would palpitate out of my chest. The romance... it wasn't much, but what was there, drug me in like a fly to a light bulb. Your characters were so real! I loved each and every one. Even Tessa, with all her hurting, teenage issues, managed to wrap herself around my heart. Then, the character development with Tessa at the last quarter made me adore her. Honestly, I was thinking, "There is no way I'm reading another one of these!" after the prologue. But then, your characters have so pulled at me, I think I must. They are more compelling than the plot. And this is saying something because the plot is one of the best I've ever seen. And, I loved that this was Christian Crime/suspense. It wasn't preachy or anything though, so I feel a non-Christian could read it and be happy. I have to say, all in all, I loved this book. It was too good not to.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Caitlyn Santi

    WOW! This was my first time reading a book by Steven James, and I can guarantee that it will not be my last! I have heard so many amazing things about the Patrick Bowers series, and I can now officially say that they were not exaggerated! Where do I start, I loved this book! I loved the main character Patrick Bowers, I loved how even though he was brilliant, there were still pieces that it took a while for him to put together, that made his character so real and relatable! In a way Patrick Bower WOW! This was my first time reading a book by Steven James, and I can guarantee that it will not be my last! I have heard so many amazing things about the Patrick Bowers series, and I can now officially say that they were not exaggerated! Where do I start, I loved this book! I loved the main character Patrick Bowers, I loved how even though he was brilliant, there were still pieces that it took a while for him to put together, that made his character so real and relatable! In a way Patrick Bowers kind of reminded me of one of my favorite TV show heroes, MacGyver!  Oh my gosh, this book was so good! The suspense in this book was so good, and there were so many twists and turns that I was literally sitting on the edge of my seat (Edge of my couch cushion to be exact!) for most of the story, so obviously I hated to put the book down! I was amazed by how many threads there were to this plot and how the author wove them together so wonderfully! I have read a number of suspense novels in the last year, and while there were not any scenes that I was unable to finish reading, there were a number of things that made me shudder and cringe at the horror of what human beings are capable of doing to each other. But that gave the book a very raw and realistic feel, and while those weren't my favorite scenes they didn't lessen my enjoyment and love of this book! And oh my word, that climax was incredible, I love it when it seems like there is nothing else that could possibly go wrong, and then things still do!  I don't know what else to say except, I loved, loved, LOVED The Pawn and I can't wait to read the rest of the books in the Patrick Bowers files series!!!  Highly recommended! 

  11. 5 out of 5

    eve v.

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. So this was my first thriller, EVER (well maybe if you exclude all those Nancy Drew books I used to read). It had a pretty intense and past-paced plot, kept me on the edge on more than one occasion! I loved it! I think though, since it's supposed to be Christian fiction, it should have been more Christ-centered. There was hardly any mention of God in this book, except maybe in the end, and even that was little considering the events that were taking place. It seems to me the author wanted to wri So this was my first thriller, EVER (well maybe if you exclude all those Nancy Drew books I used to read). It had a pretty intense and past-paced plot, kept me on the edge on more than one occasion! I loved it! I think though, since it's supposed to be Christian fiction, it should have been more Christ-centered. There was hardly any mention of God in this book, except maybe in the end, and even that was little considering the events that were taking place. It seems to me the author wanted to write Christian fiction, but didn't want to discourage non-Christian readers. I hate it when authors do that! The characters were awesome! Pat was amazing with all his detective skills, it was even kind of hard to follow his train of thought at one point, it was going so fast! And Tessa... Wow! She was really cool! When the killer came into the house, and then when he was taking her away, I was amazed at her quick thinking. I could have never thought of locking the bathroom like she did, especially not after the shock she got! All in all, this book was great! Can't wait to read the next in the series!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Rose

    Apparently this is considered "christian-fiction" which explains some of the heavy-handed question of God and faith in the book. I was looking for a clever serial-killer book with a clever detective using chess as a way of playing cat and mouse. This was not clever and chess was just a "pawn" in my opinion to get you interested in this book. It was pretty fast paced, highly unbelievable, too many mistakes and I didn't really care for the "hero" of this book at all, Patrick Bowers. Needless to say Apparently this is considered "christian-fiction" which explains some of the heavy-handed question of God and faith in the book. I was looking for a clever serial-killer book with a clever detective using chess as a way of playing cat and mouse. This was not clever and chess was just a "pawn" in my opinion to get you interested in this book. It was pretty fast paced, highly unbelievable, too many mistakes and I didn't really care for the "hero" of this book at all, Patrick Bowers. Needless to say, I have too many books to read to waste my time on this silly series.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Susy *MotherLambReads*

    4.5 bright stars. Not 5 bc Gamache will always be my first love. Lol. Will have to read more and figure out this style. But seriously, great thriller murder mystery Book 1. Ending makes me want to go to Book 2. Deep plot, page turner, thriller. I liked that it wasn't too gory, clean, and no language. So many mystery series I can't handle bc they creep me out too much. I can see this series will becoming my go to when I need a mystery fix and don't have a new one. Appreciated good vs evil them/ lo 4.5 bright stars. Not 5 bc Gamache will always be my first love. Lol. Will have to read more and figure out this style. But seriously, great thriller murder mystery Book 1. Ending makes me want to go to Book 2. Deep plot, page turner, thriller. I liked that it wasn't too gory, clean, and no language. So many mystery series I can't handle bc they creep me out too much. I can see this series will becoming my go to when I need a mystery fix and don't have a new one. Appreciated good vs evil them/ look into man's heart and no hope without God. It was easy to follow and plot twists kept me guessing. All the local landmarks might have creeped me out just a tad. Lol

  14. 4 out of 5

    Tamara Tilley

    Wow! THE PAWN by Steven James started off like a walk in the park, progressed to a race against time, and climaxed with an all out sprint to the end. I am a little bit late in reading this suspense/thriller that was released in 2007. But, as I prepare to read his latest, THE QUEEN, I am back peddling to read the previous installments in the Patrick Bowers Thrillers to make sure I am in the right frame of mind when THE QUEEN is released next month. Dr. Patrick Bowers, has a PhD in Environmental Cri Wow! THE PAWN by Steven James started off like a walk in the park, progressed to a race against time, and climaxed with an all out sprint to the end. I am a little bit late in reading this suspense/thriller that was released in 2007. But, as I prepare to read his latest, THE QUEEN, I am back peddling to read the previous installments in the Patrick Bowers Thrillers to make sure I am in the right frame of mind when THE QUEEN is released next month. Dr. Patrick Bowers, has a PhD in Environmental Criminology and a unique approach to dissecting a crime scene. When he is called in to help catch a serial killer he has no idea how personal it will get. On the home front, he struggle with the loss of his wife, and exerts great effort trying to break through the wall his step-daughter, Tessa has put up around her, but work continues to get in the way, and the Illusionist is proving to be quite a calculating foe. Unique clues, ties to politicians, corrupt cops, cults, and mass suicides all add up to an intriguing read that will keep you thinking and wondering. This is definitely not your run-of-the-mill whodunit. Even if you think you know who all the players are, and some subplots might be predictable, you never know exactly how everything is going to play out. I found Dr. Patrick Bowers unassuming, and not swayed by his own press. Though others in law enforcement are quite familiar with his extensive reputation, as a character, he was easy to like, even with his flaws, failures, and self-admitted explosive temper. I felt for Patrick as he struggled in his relationship with Tessa, and I inwardly grinned each time he had an interaction with Special Agent Lien-hua Jiang. I look forward to reading THE ROOK.

  15. 4 out of 5

    The Book Blogger (inside and in between)

    as first posted on my blog Wow. This was a reeeaaaly creepy book. Gave me nightmares:P But seriously...Steven James is an amazing author. His descriptions are vivid and his plot is really intricate and intense. At times I was overwhelmed by what was going on, especially in trying to grasp some of the background details .But I reckon the writing was still top-notch. The book is a crime-thriller novel. Special Agent Patrick Bowers is called in to help catch a mysterious serial killer known as 'The Il as first posted on my blog Wow. This was a reeeaaaly creepy book. Gave me nightmares:P But seriously...Steven James is an amazing author. His descriptions are vivid and his plot is really intricate and intense. At times I was overwhelmed by what was going on, especially in trying to grasp some of the background details .But I reckon the writing was still top-notch. The book is a crime-thriller novel. Special Agent Patrick Bowers is called in to help catch a mysterious serial killer known as 'The Illusionist' who leaves a Pawn chesspiece at the site of his victims. His twisted game becomes deadlier as he gradually closes in on Patrick himself. But all is not as it seems... There are more people involved in this than Patrick anticipated...as well as a secret history thought was long buried. I found the characters really interesting and well rounded, especially Patrick. I liked his theories about humans and how there isn't always necessarily a motive for the things we do... The killer(s) themselves were creepy as. But I found their background stories gave a good indication to the reason why they were who they were. All in all The Pawn was a good action packed suspense which kept me on the edge of my seat! However there was a bit too much gruesome aspects in this novel for me, namely the murders, so I would reccomend it for older readers due to some disturbing content.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Nike Chillemi

    I'd read The Knight before reading The Pawn. I'd advise doing it from book one and going straight through. I think it's beneficial to meet Patrick Bower at the beginning of the series when he's so emotionally raw having just lost his new bride to cancer. He had also inherited a step-daughter who is reeling from the loss of ther mother. The teenager has a love/hate relationship w/Patrick. The villian calls himself the Illusionist. I'd say the author is a bit of an illusionist in this book, as the I'd read The Knight before reading The Pawn. I'd advise doing it from book one and going straight through. I think it's beneficial to meet Patrick Bower at the beginning of the series when he's so emotionally raw having just lost his new bride to cancer. He had also inherited a step-daughter who is reeling from the loss of ther mother. The teenager has a love/hate relationship w/Patrick. The villian calls himself the Illusionist. I'd say the author is a bit of an illusionist in this book, as the identity of the killer is NOT who I thought it would be. The book can be gruesome. Hey, we're talking serial killers here. There are more than one in this book.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Melanie

    Third time reading it and it was just as wonderful! I absolutely loved the book and actually want to reread the rest of the series AGAIN, but probably won't be able to right now because I don't have the time. If you enjoy thrillers, I highly recommend this book and series. While it does have violence (and some really gruesome scenes), it's still clean language-wise and the violence isn't glorified at all...but if you have a soft stomach, don't read them (especially Opening Moves). I think I can n Third time reading it and it was just as wonderful! I absolutely loved the book and actually want to reread the rest of the series AGAIN, but probably won't be able to right now because I don't have the time. If you enjoy thrillers, I highly recommend this book and series. While it does have violence (and some really gruesome scenes), it's still clean language-wise and the violence isn't glorified at all...but if you have a soft stomach, don't read them (especially Opening Moves). I think I can now finally say this is my all-time favorite series ;) *i did not get this for review...I purchased my copy and chose to share my honest thoughts about it.*

  18. 4 out of 5

    Loraine

    This mystery crime novel is filled with twists and turns that keep you guessing at every page. Intriguing complex characters who aren't always what you expect. It does have some gruesome scenes so it is definitely not a cozy mystery. Once you start you won't be able to put it down. Can't wait to continue the series to see what Patrick Bowers is up to next. This mystery crime novel is filled with twists and turns that keep you guessing at every page. Intriguing complex characters who aren't always what you expect. It does have some gruesome scenes so it is definitely not a cozy mystery. Once you start you won't be able to put it down. Can't wait to continue the series to see what Patrick Bowers is up to next.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    I love this book. Patrick is a great main character, but I enjoy every scene with Tessa in it. The twists in the book are unexpected, which is always wonderful in a suspense novel. If you enjoy suspense/thrillers I definitely recommend reading this book.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Julie Graves

    The first book in The Patrick Bowers Thriller series did not disappoint at all! If you like stories about serial killers and murder mysteries then you definitely have to pick this book up. Patrick Bowers is called in when several girls have been found dead, the work of a serial killer with a signature of a chess pawn left behind. Patrick's wife has recently passed away from breast cancer and his 17 year old step-daughter Tessa is staying with his parents while Pat tries to help find the killer. "T The first book in The Patrick Bowers Thriller series did not disappoint at all! If you like stories about serial killers and murder mysteries then you definitely have to pick this book up. Patrick Bowers is called in when several girls have been found dead, the work of a serial killer with a signature of a chess pawn left behind. Patrick's wife has recently passed away from breast cancer and his 17 year old step-daughter Tessa is staying with his parents while Pat tries to help find the killer. "The Illusionist" is what this serial killer calls himself. He prides himself on being one step ahead of the law. Part of the thrill he gets from the kill is the game. He's not interested in sexually assaulting the women he kills. The pain that he inflicts on them before they die is what he is interested in. When Patrick joins the team to find him the game becomes even more interesting. Feeling guilty about his relationship with Tessa, Patrick insists that the FBI bring her to him so that he can make things "right" with her. Unfortunately this puts Tessa right in the sights of The Illusionist. There are so many twists and turns in this book that it kept me on the edge of my seat! From government cover-ups, to the happenings in Jonestown(Jim Jones and the People's Temple Cult), to The Illusionists background, each story is interwoven together to make for an exciting read. There are definitely some graphic death scenes that would probably make some people cringe so I would recommend this book for a more mature audience. Tessa's character really got on my nerves. I wanted to reach through the pages and shake her. I found she acted more like a 12 year old than a 17 year old. My daughter had to remind me that after all Tessa had lost her mother recently and never had a father so therefore she wouldn't act like a "normal" 17 year old, bit I still found her character annoying. As dysfunctional as Tessa and Pat's relationship is though, I found myself cheering for them when they did connect. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series to see that relationship develop.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    I enjoyed reading The Pawn so much more than Opening Moves and was able to finish it rather quickly. Opening Moves was a great book but the reason I didn't read it as fast is that it was so disturbing and gruesome that I couldn't read it for more than 50 pages at a time. The Pawn was completely different, it was suspenseful and scary but never gruesome and stomach turning - I just didn't want to put it down! I loved learning the back story to Patrick life first from reading the prequel, so a few I enjoyed reading The Pawn so much more than Opening Moves and was able to finish it rather quickly. Opening Moves was a great book but the reason I didn't read it as fast is that it was so disturbing and gruesome that I couldn't read it for more than 50 pages at a time. The Pawn was completely different, it was suspenseful and scary but never gruesome and stomach turning - I just didn't want to put it down! I loved learning the back story to Patrick life first from reading the prequel, so a few of the things in this book were definitely familiar already, but it wasn't so much that it was annoying - which is a problem in a lot of other books. Once again I was shocked by who the one killer turned out to be, I guessed a certain person and was completely wrong! I love when a book can keep me guessing until the end and this book did just that! The Pawn was a fantastic book that I highly recommend reading, with or without reading Opening Moves. It was great reading the prequel first, but if you have a weak stomach you may just want to skip that one. The ending makes me want to read The Rook immediately, and that is what I plan on doing. So if your anything like me you may want to make sure you have the next book at hand so you can start it right away. :)

  22. 5 out of 5

    Max Rudenko

    Quite well written police/psychological thriller with lots of all kinds of twists and turns. The only gripe I have with it is the conclusion: it was too ambiguous. Generally I prefer more definite, clear ending to the book. Therefore, only 4 stars, although until the end I wanted to rate this novel 4.5 stars. Well, I guess here author wanted to hook us on this series and ensure the demand for the next book. In my case he succeeded. Despite that I didn't care for the ending I will continue the se Quite well written police/psychological thriller with lots of all kinds of twists and turns. The only gripe I have with it is the conclusion: it was too ambiguous. Generally I prefer more definite, clear ending to the book. Therefore, only 4 stars, although until the end I wanted to rate this novel 4.5 stars. Well, I guess here author wanted to hook us on this series and ensure the demand for the next book. In my case he succeeded. Despite that I didn't care for the ending I will continue the series and already ordered the next installment. Important remark: Although this book is published as inspirational Christian fiction I encountered only a few mild mentions of Cristian theology/debate. They were quite short and tolerable and did not distract from the main story. So, for those who like myself doesn't like a dose of Cristian theology and discussion in their thriller fiction, don't worry this is not really Cristian fiction but quite good psychological police thriller. As one of my GR friends wrote "morality is not the exclusive province of religion". And I'm glad that thanks to the same friend I came back to this novel. Otherwise I'd have missed on good thriller series. So give it a try. I definitely recommend it.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Robin

    I thought the premise and plot were good and most of the characters were well-thought out, particularly the killer's background. But I didn't think the writing was very good. The author had a habit of using a lot of short sentences and at one point when an alarm was going off, instead of describing the sound, he actually just wrote "Brum, brum, brum..." Not even a very good impression of an alarm if you ask me! Sounds more like a child making the sound of a car. And worse, he uses the same words I thought the premise and plot were good and most of the characters were well-thought out, particularly the killer's background. But I didn't think the writing was very good. The author had a habit of using a lot of short sentences and at one point when an alarm was going off, instead of describing the sound, he actually just wrote "Brum, brum, brum..." Not even a very good impression of an alarm if you ask me! Sounds more like a child making the sound of a car. And worse, he uses the same words to describe a completely different noise later. I also found the portrayal of Tessa pretty unrealistic. She seems to know everything about everything, even the most obscure facts and her explanation for her unrealistic knowledge is "the internet" and "reading books". While both can be great resources, they can not turn someone into a walking encyclopedia. It was pretty annoying. I'm surprised this book is so highly rated.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kalena

    1st in the Patrick Bowers Files series; 1st book read by this author. This book follows Patrick Bowers, FBI agent who specializes in specific aspects of crime. I found the ideas in this book to be very interesting and I loved the tidbits thrown in, like tarpon, rock climbing, coffee, chess, etc. As a current resident of North Carolina, I can appreciate the setting as well. My favorite character by far was Patrick's step-daughter, Tessa, who is intelligent and sassy and was the most real for me. 1st in the Patrick Bowers Files series; 1st book read by this author. This book follows Patrick Bowers, FBI agent who specializes in specific aspects of crime. I found the ideas in this book to be very interesting and I loved the tidbits thrown in, like tarpon, rock climbing, coffee, chess, etc. As a current resident of North Carolina, I can appreciate the setting as well. My favorite character by far was Patrick's step-daughter, Tessa, who is intelligent and sassy and was the most real for me. For a book about serial murder I appreciate the light hand taken with gruesome details. The historical events and angles were also woven in well. Some of the relationship dialogue bogged down the story for me, but I know it is necessary so it was not a huge detractor. I look forward to reading the next book in the series. Definitely recommend to those who enjoy a solid crime/suspense/mystery novel.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Candy

    I read this book (actually on audiobook) for the first time about four years ago, quickly followed by The Rook. While I was reading other things, the rest of the series has steadily been coming out but I haven't gotten around to reading them yet. When I decided I wanted to finish the series, I had to go back and make sure I remembered what had happened up to the point I stopped. I didn't! This book was just as gripping as ever, and I thoroughly enjoyed it as much as I did the first time. I can s I read this book (actually on audiobook) for the first time about four years ago, quickly followed by The Rook. While I was reading other things, the rest of the series has steadily been coming out but I haven't gotten around to reading them yet. When I decided I wanted to finish the series, I had to go back and make sure I remembered what had happened up to the point I stopped. I didn't! This book was just as gripping as ever, and I thoroughly enjoyed it as much as I did the first time. I can say this honestly because I had totally forgotten who the killer was! So I can literally say I got to read this book again for the very first time! I love the technology being explored in these books, and I love the methods Patrick uses to solve crime. I can't wait to continue the series, and I hope to read straight through this time.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Terri ♥ (aka Mrs. Christian Grey)

    Quick review: Cover: Fitting Rating: R Thumbs Up: 4.5 Overall: Interesting Read Characters: Well Written Plot: A Killer who is one step ahead Page Turner: Yes Series Cont.? Yes Recommend: Yes Book Boyfriend: Patrick SUMMARY (50 words or less) I found this author through his YA books. I liked them so much, I decided to try his adult work and I wasn’t disappointed. So many twist and turns, I didn’t see them all coming. For a full review and yummy pic, see my blog post at: http://www.mybookboyfriend.net/ Quick review: Cover: Fitting Rating: R Thumbs Up: 4.5 Overall: Interesting Read Characters: Well Written Plot: A Killer who is one step ahead Page Turner: Yes Series Cont.? Yes Recommend: Yes Book Boyfriend: Patrick SUMMARY (50 words or less) I found this author through his YA books. I liked them so much, I decided to try his adult work and I wasn’t disappointed. So many twist and turns, I didn’t see them all coming. For a full review and yummy pic, see my blog post at: http://www.mybookboyfriend.net/2015/0... Audio Review Richard Ferrone did a good job with the narration and capturing the emotions from all the characters.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Robert

    This book was like an onion, peel back a layer and you find another layer underneath. A mystery within a mystery if you will. I like the authors writing style and his ability to move the book along at a very quick pace as well. This is one of those writers that has you guessing all along who is in on it and he writes each chapter dependent on the next which puts a reader in the position of having to keep those pages turning. The story line got a bit thick but not so thick that it pushed it into This book was like an onion, peel back a layer and you find another layer underneath. A mystery within a mystery if you will. I like the authors writing style and his ability to move the book along at a very quick pace as well. This is one of those writers that has you guessing all along who is in on it and he writes each chapter dependent on the next which puts a reader in the position of having to keep those pages turning. The story line got a bit thick but not so thick that it pushed it into the realm of those books where you slap your head and say, "That's just not possible"! Looking forward to reading The Rook (The Patrick Bowers File #2).

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ronie

    Overall, my impression was "brilliant," but there were times where I felt so overwhelmed with the multitude of threads and subplots that I just wanted to quit reading (which is really odd for me, since I'm typically bored reading many books). About 3/5 of the way through, I seriously considering giving up, but "luckily" the brilliant points kept me going. I must agree with some other reviewers in that, for me, the ending fell flat. Overall, my impression was "brilliant," but there were times where I felt so overwhelmed with the multitude of threads and subplots that I just wanted to quit reading (which is really odd for me, since I'm typically bored reading many books). About 3/5 of the way through, I seriously considering giving up, but "luckily" the brilliant points kept me going. I must agree with some other reviewers in that, for me, the ending fell flat.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    I've lost track of how many times I've read this...I think this was the fourth, but not 100% sure. Regardless, I absolutely loved it yet again and just want to continue rereading the series (although, I don't know if I'll have the time for that right now). I've lost track of how many times I've read this...I think this was the fourth, but not 100% sure. Regardless, I absolutely loved it yet again and just want to continue rereading the series (although, I don't know if I'll have the time for that right now).

  30. 4 out of 5

    Candy

    Amazing how much I had forgotten since the first time I read this book. This is an amazing author. If youlike crime thriller fiction you must read this series!!!

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