The first annual INSPY awards are just ahead and I am a judge in the thriller/suspense division. For the next few weeks I will be repeating reviews I have done of the finalists. These are presented in no particular order and do no indicate which work I will vote for. All are worthy and masterful works.
As the television thriller, 24, rose in popularity, “Jack is Back,” became a familiar catchphrase. With his third installment of Patrick Bowers’s thrillers, Steven James has given us the Christian suspense equivalent of Jack Bauer. In the Pawn, James introduced us to Patrick Bowers, an FBI special agent with his own unique and often distrusted ideas about finding the most sadistic and dangerous of killers. In the Rook, our hero developed a better relationship with his step-daughter, seemed to be developing a growing relationship with a fellow female agent, and thwarted an old nemesis from The Pawn. With those two pieces off the board, it’s time for The Knight.
The Knight opens with Bowers preparing to testify in the retrial of the first serial killer he arrested thirteen years earlier. Once again, James pits one killer against another all the while complicating Bower’s life in new and unsuspected ways. Since saying anything more about the plot gives away the story, this reviewer can do the reader more justice by focusing on the themes of The Knight. Bowers has spent years believing in what he does and in the justice system’s ability to end the careers of decidedly evil people. But, when his actions cause the death of a good man rather than a convicted killer, Bowers finds himself increasingly questioning what separates him from the people he considers evil. I have no doubt that inner conflict will carry forward in future releases in this series.
Everything is here James’s readers have come to expect: plot twists that spin so fast they leave one mentally nauseated, antagonists with twists of their own, a step-daughter who is both brilliant yet way too head-strong, almost realized love interests that never quite materialize, and a love-hate relationship with many of his co-workers. The dialogue is tight and as full of action as the plot itself. The only negative I mention is my disappointment James’ did little to further the spiritual journey I thought Bowers was beginning in The Rook. While this doesn’t lessen the strength of the story it is still something I hope the author will consider in future books.
The Knight ends with our hero on administrative leave from the bureau and preoccupied with his step-daughter Raven. But don’t worry; Patrick Bowers will be back in the next installment of his odyssey. He has to because the Knight has already surfaced to “tell a brand-new story to the curious, waiting world.”
The Knight by Steven James
Reviewed by Tim George
Publication Date: August 2009
This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009 at 6:25 pm and is filed under Book Reviews, Tim's Notes. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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