Friday, September 12, 2008

THE ROOK, by Steven James

I can't say enough about this author or this series. Steven James knows how to craft a story. He has admitted that he doesn’t want to get bored with what he’s writing, and the complex plot structure in The Rook only serves to prove that he’s serious about creating a page-turner. Believe me, there’s absolutely no time to get bored with James’ stories.

Patrick Bowers is again on the case, one which involves a serial arsonist. When he accidentally stumbles across a wacked out homeless man committing suicide, Patrick knows there is more to the incident than meets the eye. Clues lead in unexpected directions, like to an aquarium, shark research, and stolen technology with global implications.

While embroiled in the puzzlement of his job, Patrick must also build a relationship with his angst-filled teenaged stepdaughter. Between girl and woman, she longs for freedom, yet makes unwise choices that force Patrick to monitor her activities. Can he protect her from the world while letting her grow up? Might she be entangled in his investigation like she was during the last case?

One of the first things I noticed about this novel, second in the Patrick Bowers series, was the lack of creepiness. Yes, the villain(s) is/are still evil, but the tale has a different feel. The author, in an interview you can hear HERE, states that he wanted The Pawn to feel more like a psychological thriller and The Rook to feel more like a techno-thriller. I say he was successful. It’s really incredible how involved the story becomes up until the very end, when, as all good books do in my opinion, the reader experiences a big twist.

Whether for personal entertainment, a book club, or a gift, be sure to pick up this electrically-charged action-lover’s dream. I can’t wait for the third installment, The Knight. I wonder if the series will have to end after James uses up all the chess pieces (only 3 more!). That will be a sad day.

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