Heart pounding, I breathlessly devoured Steven James’ The Rook, the second of the Patrick Bowers thrillers. I read the first of the series, The Pawn, last year and thoroughly enjoyed it as well, though I think The Rook is the better of the two. A comparison between them really doesn’t matter as both novels are fantastic page turners.
I thought about subtitling my review “This isn’t your grandmother’s Christian fiction” because, well, it isn’t. In fact, James blows every assumption (and criticism) of typical CBA novels out of the water. No plastic-perfect heroes or heroines here. No formulaic storyline. No predictable plot. No token Christian-speak. No forgone, happily-ever-after ending. Instead, James writes a complex thriller full of twists and turns, suspense and intrigue, good and evil, grace and hope. Far more than mere thrills, though there are certainly plenty of those to be had, this novel is a well crafted story with intricate and engaging characters caught in an intricate and engaging plot. In his bio, James is described as “one of the nation’s most innovative storytellers” and he is that. In fact, his ability to write a compelling story is underscored by the fact that it is his words that move the action and create the suspense and not the graphic, gratuitous sex and violence found in many novels of the thriller genre.
I don’t want to give too much of the plot away, but here is an excerpt from the book description:
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. Book 2 in the Bowers Files, this riveting look into the criminal mind is the perfect follow-up to James’s well-reviewed The Pawn.
If you’re looking for a fast-paced, can’t-put-down, keep-you-up-at-night thriller then The Rook is for you! You can even check out an excerpt here and a video trailer here. I, for one, am eagerly awaiting the next installment in the Patrick Bowers thrillers!
Wife and mother, Bible teacher and blogger, Lisa loves Jesus, coffee, dark chocolate and, of course, books. Read more of her reflections at Lisa writes….
Heather S says
OOOh, that is so weird that you just finished it. I just finished it last night. I had it for several weeks, but didn’t want to start it, ’cause we were really busy and I knew if I did start, I’d never put it down!
I, too, thought it was a bit better than the Pawn, maybe liked the story line a little better and enjoyed the characters additional development. This is DEFINATELY not your grandmother’s CBA, but my Mom and Dad both enjoyed the Pawn. 🙂