Book Review: "The Queen" by Steven James

Summary from the publisher: While investigating a mysterious double homicide in an isolated northern Wisconsin town, FBI Special Agent Patrick Bowers uncovers a high-tech conspiracy that ties together long-buried Cold War secrets with present-day tensions in the Middle East.

If you've been reading my reviews for any length of time, then you know what a huge fan I am of books by Steven James. I consider him to be one of my favorite authors of all time and probably the best male author that I have ever read. Every time I get word that the newest title of the book has been announced, I (and my mom!) cannot wait until we get the book and then it's devoured within a day of receiving it.

This book is a roller coaster ride from the beginning. One doesn't expect much excitement in Wisconsin but a double homicide, serial killers and terrorists change all that up. I really don't want to spoil the plot but the book is extremely fast paced and very tense. James is very good at keeping the reader wanting to flip to the end but putting enough detail to make the reader stay on the page they are at. I found myself several times experiencing what the characters went through (ie. one scene left me very cold). There's a lot of conflict in this book, with other people and within one's own self.

More of Patrick's past comes into this story as we meet his brother and his brother's wife where there is tension due to things from the past. One things I do like about James's writing, as opposed to a lot of other males, is that romance is only used to further a plot point or add character development and not thrown in to appeal to female readers.

One thing that really got me about this story was Tess's struggle with the idea of forgiveness. She could not forgive herself for the things she had done in her past therefore she couldn't grasp the idea of someone (or God) forgiving her for it. She asks a lot of really good questions that many people, even those that consider themselves to be strong Christians, would have trouble being able to answer. It's realistic and gives a lot to think about.

This book wasn't nearly as graphic as the other books in the series have been. Gore and violence is pretty minimal. This isn't a bother to me at all (except when I'm reading and eating at the same time) but I know it is to other readers. I'm hoping that the lack of it in this book was just because of how the plot went and not because of readers' complaints.
While I suppose that this book could be read as a stand alone, I really suggest reading all the books in the series to fully understand Patrick and his quest for justice.

I don't consider books by James to be a Christian fiction alternative to other general market thriller/suspense writers out there. I consider him to be on the same level as the top writers in that genre period. James's masters degree is in storytelling and it shows in his books. I've said it before and I've said it again: if you haven't read any of the books in this series, what are you waiting for?! HIGHLY recommended.

The Queen
Steven James is published by Revell (2011)

This review copy was provided by the publisher


  1. I love your last paragraph. Love it. Thank you for the specific clarification and reasons as to how (category etc.) you believe authors should be viewed--or not.


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