Blur – Steven James

Blur Steven James
The Pawn (The Patrick Bowers Files, #1) by Steven James
Also by this author: Broker of Lies, Fatal Domain
Series: Blur Trilogy #1
Published by Skyscape on May 27, 2014
Genres: Fiction, Christian, Speculative, Suspense, Young Adult
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As an environmental criminologist, Patrick Bowers uses 21st-century geospatial technology to analyze the time and space in which a crime takes place. Using an array of factors, Bowers can pinpoint clues to solve the toughest of cases. Bowers?s skills have made him one of the FBI?s top agents?until now.
Called to the mountains of North Carolina to consult on a gruesome murder, Bowers finds himself in a deadly duel with a serial killer who seems to transcend Patrick?s analytical powers. Forced to track the killer?s horrific murders one by one, Bowers finds his techniques and instincts are put to the ultimate test?

Sixteen year old Daniel Byers didn’t really know freshman Emily Jackson, hadn’t even known her name until news of her drowning appeared in the newspapers. Yet here he was at her funeral, mostly because his dad—the local sheriff—dragged him along. It was when he was looking at Emily’s corpse that he first began to Blur. Reality shakes, Emily sits up in her coffin, water pouring from her mouth, and grabs him. Daniel blacks out. And that’s just the beginning.

Based on what he saw, Daniel is convinced Emily’s death was no accident. He’s also convinced that he’s going insane. The hallucinations seem to come and go and Daniel is left asking “What is reality, anyway?”

Steven James’ first book in the Blur trilogy can be described much like his opening scene. You’re sitting there, looking at it, and it looks unassuming even though you can tell there’s something a bit unusual. Then it grabs you by the throat and leaves you wondering where reality ends and story begins.

Long known for his psychological thrillers (The Bowers Files and The Jevin Banks Experience), James seamlessly transitions to young adult storytelling that is every bit as thrilling and pulse-pounding. I didn’t really intend to, but I devoured this book in one sitting, taking a rainy Sunday afternoon and turning it into a mind-bending adventure.

Those used to the complexity and multilayered nature of James’s other novels need a word of warning. Blur lacks the multiple storylines and interconnectedness that James has become known for, but that’s all with a purpose. Writing to a YA audience, James adeptly shifts his writing to focus solely on Daniel. It makes for a quicker, more straightforward read. But don’t let that make you think the book doesn’t have its twists or surprises. Mystery lurks around every page and, even as the book ends, the mystery of books two and three are clearly set up.

One further note: I can envision some adults who love Steven James novels but are loathe to share them with their kids because of some of the vividness with which James describes his killers. Blur is the perfect introduction to Steven James for younger readers, fully in keeping with the expected thrills and chills, but appropriate for a slightly younger audience.

Simply put, Blur is trademark Steven James: a great mystery, an interesting premise, a unique philosophical foundation, and above all, simply a great story that had me totally immersed and enthralled.


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