Thursday, August 05, 2010
Book Review: "The Bishop" by Steven James
FBI Special Agent Patrick Bowers's cutting-edge 21st-century geospatial investigative techniques and impeccable logic have helped him track some of the country's most grisly killers. But those skills are pushed to the limit in this new installment of the highly-acclaimed, award-winning The Bowers Files series.
This time it's a congressman's daughter who is found dead even as her killers launch a spree of perfect murders in the Northeast. With nothing to link the crimes to each other, Agent Bowers faces his most difficult case yet—even as his personal life begins to crumble around him.
I am a HUGE Steven James fan. When I picked up his first book, THE PAWN, I could not put it down. It was literally one of the best suspense/thriller books I have ever read in my life. Seriously, he knows how to write and grab a reader. This may be due to him having a master's degree in storytelling (something all writers would definitely benefit from) and how he knows the craft of keeping a reader's attention.
This book is a huge psychological ride. If you have read the other books in the series, then you know what to expect. If you haven't and this is your first Patrick Bowers book, be prepared to get your mind totally twisted. While the book is the fourth in the series, it can be read as a standalone although reading the previous books will help you understand all the characters. There are many intense scenes in this book that will make you go "ahhhhhh".
I really liked how the book took place in Washington DC and the surrounding area. I really liked how James actually uses (for the most part) actual places in the city and allows readers who are residents to see their home come to life. While there are places that are made up for the sake of the story, they still seem realistic enough to make me believe that they actually do exist. Locations are not moved or adjusted to make things easier for characters. It's really nice when authors do their research about settings and locations.
One of my favorite aspects of the story was seeing Patrick and Tessa's relationship grow. It's been really interesting watching them since the first book and finally in this book, they are able to really express how they feel. It must be really hard to be a step-parent to someone after barely being married to their original parent but Patrick loves Tessa as if she was his own daughter. The story involving Tessa's birth father had me questioning and being suspicious of him so it was very intriguing to see how his storyline played out. Also another side story that was of slight amusement was the battle for Patrick between the two women who are interested in him. Now one might think that all these side stories take away from the story, but they don't. They just really add to it as they all tie in together.
I honestly didn't find this book to be too gory or violent. Yes there are unpleasant sequences that happened, but compared to James's previous books, this was child's play. Honestly, it's nothing worse that what you'll read in the news or watch on CSI. I suppose to those readers who don't normally read the suspense/thriller genre might get a little grossed out, so there's your warning. I personally really enjoyed how James was able to craft a tightly written story with lots of twists and turns to keep the reader on their toes. Even though this book is published under a Christian label, honestly any general market reader will enjoy this book. The story is mainly just about the battle between good vs. evil without any preachiness or even the barest of mentions of any religion.
The only tiny qualm I had was that the book mentions a Metro Central Metro Station. Well as a DC Metro area resident, I was a little disappointed that the name of the station was wrong (it's Metro Center). I know that this is a tiny detail, but all the other stations mentioned in the book were correct so it was just a little jarring to see that one be named wrong. Other than this, I really really really enjoyed this book. It's very thick (over 500 pages) but I was so sucked into the story that I finished in about 5 hours. The sad part is that the next book doesn't come out until next summer! Steven James is one of my favorite authors and I cannot recommend this book or the entire Patrick Bowers series highly enough. If you are a suspense fan, you MUST pick up this book. YOU MUST! VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
The Bishop by Steven James is published by Revell (2010)
This review copy was provided by the publisher