The Rook by Steven James

Reviewed By Nike Chillemi –

FBI agent Patrick Bowers is an environmental criminologist who specializes in the use of spacial factors to hunt criminals who commit major serial crimes. He’s been called to assist the San Diego police investigate a series of seventeen unusual fires. This is the second book in the Patrick Bowers series. The first one was THE PAWN.

What Bowers discovers is a well-orchestrated plot to steal a new top-secret prototype for a new weapon the navy is working on. The planned use for this weapon, explained later in the story, is a mind boggler. This novel examines an area that the author delights in exploring: who are the good guys and who are the bad guys…and what does it take to make a good guy go bad?

A mastermind fiend named Shade has recruited an equally evil ex-con named Creighton Melice to help pull off his grand scheme. But what do they have to do with Project Rukh? This novel is chock full of violence and there’s no shortage of evil, although it’s not as gory as the first book in the series. The plot has a lot of twists and turns and covers a wide spectrum: from the inner city homeless population, to kidnap, to a rare disease, to spiders, to sharks.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Agent Bowers is struggling to be a father to his moody teenage stepdaughter. To further complicate this relationship, Tessa’s intelligence quotient is way higher than Patrick’s. So he not only has a smarmy kid to deal with, she’s also a lot smarter than he is, but has little practical experience or common sense. There were times I wished Tessa would just go away…not leave the novel. It’s just that she reminded me too much of my own at times whiny and annoying fourteen year-old daughter. Just a mom being honest here.

Add into the mix, a budding relationship with Agent Lien-hua Jiang a profiler Bowers often spars with professionally. In this novel, they must work together to save a exquisite young woman Creighton Melice has kidnapped and is torturing in the most diabolical manner. Time is short if they plan to save the beauty’s life.

This is a high-paced suspense, plot-driven story and the ride is terrifying at times. The Patrick Bowers character is the most sympathetic and the easiest to bond with but I can’t say I absolutely loved him. He’s interesting and I liked seeing his mind work on the case. The relationship between Patrick and Lien-hua to my mind lacked passion. When she’s in danger, of course he sets out to save her, but I was confused by how desperate and driven he became. I thought where did these deep feelings come from?

If I didn’t already know, would I be able to tell Steven James is a Christian author? Yes, I think so, but the Christian message is very subtle, a fine thread woven throughout as Bowers struggles to figure out the meaning of life and come to terms with evil.

About Nike Chillemi

Nike Chillemi has been called a crime fictionista due to her passion for crime fiction. She is a member of ACFW and the Edgy Christian Fiction Lovers on Ning. She was an Inspy Awards 2010 and a Carol Awards 2011 judge, She is the founding board member of the Grace Awards, a reader's choice awards for excellence in Christian fiction.

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