Opening Moves – Steven James

Opening Moves Steven James
Opening Moves (Patrick Bowers Files, #0.5) by Steven James
Also by this author: Broker of Lies, Fatal Domain
Series: Bowers Files #0
Published by Signet on September 4, 2012
Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
Buy on Amazon

Milwaukee, 1997. In a city reeling from the crimes of Jeffrey Dahmer, a series of gruesome kidnappings and mutilations draw authorities into a case like nothing they've ever seen. Cops think a Dahmer copycat is on the loose. But Patrick Bowers, working as a homicide detective, suspects this is more than an ode to the infamous cannibal.
When he discovers that the shocking acts reference some of the most notorious and macabre killers in our nation's history, the investigation spirals into a nightmare of manipulation, brutality, and terror.

Since 2007, Steven James has been telling Patrick Bowers’ story. As an environmental criminologist, Bowers combines the latest techniques in environmental psychology with geospatial investigation to identify, track, and catch serial offenders. All of that means that Patrick is at his best when things are at their most dangerous—when a serial killer is on the loose and determined to strike again. For five novels—The Pawn, The Rook, The Knight, The Bishop, and The Queen—readers joined Bowers on his quests to catch some of the most dangerous killers ever seen. But through all of it, one name keeps recurring: Richard Devin Basque.

Basque ties in some way to all of the books in the series and always in reference to his original crime, the crime that set Bowers on the path of environmental criminologist, the path that made him the personal enemy of a brutal serial killer. Opening Moves takes a step back in time to tell that original story. For those just joining the series, it is a perfect place to begin; for those who have followed Bowers’ journey, it is the payoff of five years of waiting. Yet even now this isn’t fully the story of Richard Devin Basque.

It’s Milwaukee in 1997: a city still in shock at the brutality and pure evil of Jeffrey Dahmer. They may have razed the building he lived in, but the stench of his crimes still wafts over the city. And now someone just as terrifying has come to play. Copycat? Maybe. But as the killings and mutilations continue, it becomes obvious that Dahmer isn’t the killer’s only hero. Every killing has some reference to an infamous killer, and it’s up to Bowers to connect the dots and draw the conclusions. The result is a plot-twisting, heart-pounding, nerve-wracking, page-turning thriller that will keep you reading and guessing and gasping until the very last page.

For those that have followed the series, you likely know that the series has been published by Revell, a division of Baker Books. For the last few years, the Penguin Group, under various imprints, has reprinted the books in mass market format. Opening Moves marks the first book in the series to be published only in mass market by Penguin. What does this mean? Well, if anything James’s writing has gotten better, so no difference there. But don’t go out looking for trade paper or hardcover editions. It isn’t a huge deal, I just mention it so that readers who plan on buying this book—and it should be all of you—know what you’re looking for.

In summary, The Bowers Files represents one of my favorite series of books and Steven James is one of the top thriller authors out there. Run, don’t walk, to pick this one up. And after you’ve read it, you may want to sleep with the lights on. I picked this one up at 2am to browse the first few chapters. Sanity demanded I finish it and it wasn’t until well past sunrise that I had finally finished the last page, quelled thoughts of serial killers, and was able to sleep…with the light on.


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