The Rook is Steven James second book. His first, The Pawn was incredibly disturbing, frightening even with his ability to look into a serial killer's mind.
The Rook picks up with Special Agent Patrick Bowers trying to create a family with his step-daughter Tessa, while simultaneously working on a series of fires started by an arsonist. His wife, Tessa's mother, has been dead less than a year, after succumbing to cancer.
Tessa a volatile Goth-like teenager gives him conflicted and dishonest signals, sometimes charming and profound, sometimes surly and caustic. The developing relationship between step-child and step-parent is riveting to read, sometimes almost shadowing the crime that Bowers is trying to solve.
As with The Pawn, The Rook is chilling and dark. James leads the reader into dark and twisted minds of killers. But what began as a hint of the salvation message in the first book, becomes a cry deep within desparate souls for light. There is obviously going to be at least one more book in the series and I will be looking forward to seeing where this "thread" leads.
I received The Rook from Glass Road Public Relations. As I recommended after reading The Pawn, these books are not for the faint of heart or those who are looking for gently stories. The subject matter is gruesome. These books would definitely fall into the category of thriller.
From Baker Publishing and various reviewers:
The Rook by Steven James
Special Agent Patrick Bowers is about to uncover the military's darkest secret . . . and his own dark past.
While investigating a series of baffling fires in San Diego, Special Agent Patrick Bowers is drawn into a deadly web of intrigue where nothing is as it appears to be. With a killer on the loose and one of the world's most deadly devices missing, Bowers is caught in a race against time to stop a criminal mastermind's trap before it closes around the people he loves.
Full of fast-paced action and mind-bending plot twists, The Rook is an adrenaline-laced page-turner that will hold you captive until the very end.
Praise for The Rook
"James ratchets up the thrills and chills, the twists and turns, and our connections with the characters. This is first-class suspense, with threads of wisdom tying it all together. I'm panting for the next book already."--Eric Wilson, author of A Shred of Truth and Expiration Date
"James's ability to use modern, up-to-date investigative techniques to solve his criminal mysteries places him at the forefront of current mystery writers. [This is] a book you hate to put down even when you reach the end."--E. Cleon Glaze, retired FBI agent
"Steven James does it again! The Rook is a riveting nail-biter that takes the reader on a wild ride of suspense, thrill, and danger. James seamlessly combines the edginess of contemporary crime-solving stories with the real world struggles of romance, broken families, loss, and honor."--John Thurman, counselor and radio personality
"Steven James has certainly done his homework. His level of detail and knowledge in the area of the military characters is superb. . . . [They] almost come to life as you read his books. I could not put this one down! Top-notch work."--LT Robert Bess, US Naval Special Warfare/Naval Special Operations
"Sophomore slump? Fuhgeddaboutit. In his second thriller about FBI criminologist Patrick Bowers, James delivers the caffeinated plot twists and intriguing characterizations that made The Pawn a welcome addition to the suspense genre. In this installment, Bowers is called to San Diego to investigate a rash of fires, but he begins to suspect that a seemingly random kidnapping and suicide may be related to the arson attacks. As Bowers digs deeper, he uncovers a chilling biotech conspiracy. Fans of CSI and Law & Order will enjoy the police work and forensics, but this jacked-up read feels more like an explosive episode of 24; it's a wild ride with a shocking conclusion."--Publishers Weekly starred review