Wednesday, October 05, 2011
Steven James's The Queen ~ Reviewed
By Steven James
Published by: Revell
Critically acclaimed author Steven James has written four other award-winning Patrick Bowers novels as well as many works of nonfiction. He has a master's degree in storytelling and has taught writing and creative storytelling on three continents. He lives near the Blue Ridge Mountains of Tennessee with his wife and three daughters.
Latest in the Patrick Bowers series by Steven James is the best yet!
I am lucky enough to be married to a woman who reads voraciously and happens to know many authors. A couple of years ago Nora happened to hand me a copy of The Pawn by Steven James. She knows me well and understands that I cannot resist a good detective novel. I am captured by thrillers, mysteries and lawyers fighting in the court room stories.
From the very first chapter of Steven James' series about FBI Special Agent Patrick Bowers series, I have been inextricably pulled into his world of suspense. His books are not for the timid. Keep in mind that Agent Bowers chases down serial killers and investigates some heinous criminals. However there are other sides to Patrick that take us deep into his relationships. He is a widower with a teen step daughter. His wife who he loved intensely is diagnosed with cancer and dies not too long before we meet him in the first book. He was struggling to be a husband and stepfather to his wife's daughter before losing her and now two unrelated, grieving, extended family members are thrust into a relationship they both need and desire but have no clue about what to do with.
This is one of many relationships that complicate Patrick Bowers personal and professional life throughout the series. I mention this because, although one could pick up the Queen and enjoy the exciting pace of the story without ever reading the first four books, I must tell you that you will miss the richness and depth of the relationships that are developed from the first page of book one.
The Queen is clearly the best book of the series so far! I am not saying that the other books lacked anything, because they did not. Each book in this series is well crafted and the endings of all of these stories kept me up much later than I planned, because I was compelled to finish them. They pick up momentum and become a irresistible force, page after blistering page. Special Agent Bowers is a geospatial investigator. What this means is that time and location matter, though mostly the location of the crimes, in the due course of his investigations. He is at odds with his co-investigators who lean primarily on profiling, most of the time. He is Sherlock Holmes meets Criminal Minds!
Interspersed, really woven into the fabric of these stories are the issues surrounding grief, forgiveness, who God really is and who we are to Him and to each other. The richness of this book is in the inner healing of the people who are a part of this story. There are questions asked that the reader is left to answer. I highly recommend this book for reading groups who can handle stories about homicidal maniacs and the people who catch them. I guarantee that there will be topics in each of these books that will generate deep discussion of issues that lead to healing. Teen relationships, self inflicted cutting, alcohol abuse, marriage, broken homes, grief, un-forgiveness and forgiveness and much more.
When I said that the Queen is the best of the series I mean it. Is it because of the culmination of so many issues involved with the story line? Is it because I have come to know these people in the book and care about them? Or is it because the author has created a world where we can care deeply for these characters and what happens to them? Maybe it is all of that.
I was lucky enough to meet Steven James at the 2010 Christy Awards in Atlanta. (I am trying to entice him into joining www.bookfun.org ) I felt myself wanting to ask him to say hello to Agent Bowers for me! He makes his characters that real!
I know one thing. I am looking forward to getting my hands on the next book (due out in the Fall of 2012)!!
If you would like to know more feel free to visit his website http://www.stevenjames.net/ and while there invite him to join us here at TBCN? I honestly believe that his books will lead to intimate discussions in any reading group!
REVIEWED BY: FRED STLAURENT
The Book Club Network