The Rook – Steven James

The Rook Steven James
The Rook by Steven James
Series: Bowers Files #2
Published by Revell on August 1, 2008
Genres: Fiction, Christian, Suspense, Thriller
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five-stars

An arsonist has struck a top-secret research facility at a key US naval base. But it's not just a random terrorist attack. These people were after something specific. When Special Agent Patrick Bowers is called in to investigate, he is drawn into a deadly web of intrigue and deception.

With his own criminology research being turned against him and one of the world's most deadly devices missing, Bowers is caught up in a race against time to stop an international assassin before it's too late.Full of fast-paced action and mind-bending plot twists, The Rook is an adrenaline-laced page-turner that will keep readers up all night.

As soon as I closed the last pages of The Pawn, I turned to pick up The Rook. James’ writing leaves you wanting more, and having been late to discover The Bowers Files, I found myself able to immediately dive into the next one. Though The Pawn tells a complete story, The Rook builds upon it while telling a story all its own.

Special Agent Patrick Bowers has been called into investigate a series of fires. His skills in environmental criminology are best suited for serial crimes, so this is precisely the job for him. But he soon learns that the fires are only the beginning. There’s a killer on the loose and a deadly experimental device missing – and Bowers doesn’t believe in coincidences. As he hunts down the killer he also uncovers the military’s biggest secret and discovers that no one can be trusted.

There’s nothing sophomoric about Steven James’ sophomore novel. If anything, the pace is faster, the action more intense, the connections even more complex. The Rook pulls you under and doesn’t let you go until you turn the final page, and then it leaves you gasping for more. Nothing is as it seems; everything is going wrong. In the midst of a culture infatuated with crime thrillers like CSI and Law and Order, Steven James delivers the real deal.

With the foundation for characterization laid in The Pawn, James further explores Patrick and his stepdaughter Tessa’s relationship in The Rook. Even though Tessa never seems to stay out of trouble, the witty banter between her and Patrick lighten up an otherwise dark story. Psychological profiler Lein-Hua Jiang also figures into the equation and maybe – just maybe – romance might be in the air. Introduced to the story is the lovable Calvin Werjonic, Patrick’s former professor, mentor, and friend.

The Rook brings up several important themes even as it takes you through a roller coaster journey with a shocking end. Should the government play Big Brother to catch a killer? What is it about feelings that impact our humanity? James brings up all these and more, diving into criminology and psychology as he crafts another excellent thriller. James gets into the minds of the killers he crafts and shows us just how far the depravity of man extends. And as for the end…well…it’s not something you’re going to see coming.

Steven James follows up his thriller debut with something just as good, if not better. Hinting about previous events without telling too much, The Rook can be read as a standalone or after The Pawn. But trust me, you can’t read just one. James is playing a twisted game of his own. His words the bait and I the victim – and he’s got me hooked.

five-stars

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