Thursday, December 13, 2007

Mystery Book Review: The Pawn by Steven James

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written a review of The Pawn by Steven James. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

The Pawn by Steven JamesBuy from
The Pawn by Steven James
A Patrick Bowers Thriller

Baker Publishing Group (Trade Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-8007-3240-5 (0800732405)
ISBN-13: 978-0-8007-3240-0 (9780800732400)
Publication Date: September 2007
List Price: $13.99

Synopsis (from the publisher): Special Agent Patrick Bowers had only met one man who made him truly afraid. Until now. When he's called to to consult on the case of an area serial killer, he finds himself in a deadly game. Cunning and lethal, the killer is always one step ahead of the law, and he's about to strike again. It will take all of Bowers's instincts and training to stop this man who calls himself the Illusionist. And just when the pieces start to come together, Bowers realizes they're not quite adding up. Can he unravel the pattern and save the next victim? Or will the Illusionist win the game by taking one of his opponent's pieces?

Review: Steven James introduces FBI Agent Patrick Bowers in The Pawn, an exhilarating thriller that will keep readers up late into the night.

Bowers is called from his home in Colorado to North Carolina to assist in identifying and ultimately stopping a serial killer. He had been assigned to similar cases in the past, but never to one where the killer is always one step ahead of the FBI crew. The killer is aware that Bowers has been called in on the case, even calling Bowers to identify himself as “The Illusionist” with self-proclaimed powers of misdirection, control, and meticulous planning. Although Bowers works well with, and cooperates with, the forensic scientists and profilers on the case, he feels he must use his own unique, often unorthodox, investigative approach. Unlike the others on the team, he is interested in precisely when and where the crime occurred. He believes the significance of the crime’s time and location are important to the killer and thus to capturing him. Bowers faces quite a few dangerous situations in order to try to save the lives that the Illusionist has chosen for elimination – including his own and that of his daughter Tessa.

The best thrillers have multi-faceted conflicts. In The Pawn Bowers is faced with one of a more personal nature. He is a single father and has had a difficult time raising his 15-year-old daughter since the death of her mother. The fact that the killer has chosen young women as victims plays into his fear that he's losing his daughter. The Illusionist seems to know this and factors it into his game plan. It is not unlike chess, in which he makes a move leaving each dead girl where she can easily be found. A pawn is left with the victim, first white, and then black, a not so subtle clue that lets Bowers know the next move is his.

The Pawn is, in a word, intense. As Bowers pushes towards checkmate, it's never clear to the reader which pieces will be left standing at the end of the game.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of for contributing her review of The Pawn and to Newman Communications for providing an ARC of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2007 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved.

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