Title: The Knight
Author: Steven James
Release Date: August 2009
Publisher: Revell Books
Genre: Christian Fiction, Crime Fiction
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Publisher: The stakes have never been higher. FBI Agent Patrick Bowers is used to tracking the country's most dangerous killers, but now it looks like a killer is tracking him. When he realizes the murderer is using clues from a medieval manuscript as a blueprint for his crimes, Bowers faces a race against time to decipher who the next victim will be and to stop the final shocking murder--which he's beginning to believe might be his own. Gritty, chilling, and intense, this psychological thriller is guaranteed to keep you up all night.
My review: This is Steven James' third book, following The Pawn and The Rook, in his best selling series of thrillers. I haven't read the author's other books in this series but if they are anything like The Knight, I don't want to waste another minute before reading them. This is not a simple crime story about a murder, several stabbings or a kidnap for hire. This is a smart, complex and riveting tale about a cunning, ruthless serial killer repeatedly committing unspeakable crimes all aimed at a specific end target. The non-stop, excitement and anxiety build with each turn of the page climaxing with a mind-boggling finish. This taut, intricate thriller will keep you on the edge of your seat, your mind reeling, every step of the way.
Steven James has a talent for crafting intriguing, well-rounded characters. Patrick Bowers, an FBI Criminologist, is intelligent and affable with a healthy ego but he's not trusted by everyone who knows him rendering him a very real player in this engaging tale. The theme of trust and the question of if and when you can trust another person figures prominently in Agent Bowers investigation, not to mention his personal life. Being a single step-dad to a teenage girl, Tessa, he is in a position similar to many single parents trying to balance a demanding job with the needs and desires of a teenager. I really enjoyed when Bowers interacts with his step-daughter although several times I wished I could give him some advice.
Tessa, at sixteen, is very intelligent and almost too aware that there's a world outside of herself, but she struggles to cope with her mother's death a little more than a year prior. She has a lot of pain and sadness that she hides from others, sometimes seeking relief in troubling ways. Agent Bowers knows his job and does it well but he's often at a loss to understand Tessa. And she's not the only female he has difficulty communicating with. His interactions with Detective Cheyenne Warren are awkward and stilting at times, particularly when he thinks of her on other than professional terms resulting in some humorous exchanges. While working with Agent Bowers during the investigation, Detective Warren is confident of herself as an attractive woman and a cop and matches Bowers wit for wit. But when she goes after what she wants, Patrick Bowers isn't prepared because, like so many men, he wants to be in charge. When Agent Bowers and his team are as surprised by some of the twists and turns this story takes as the reader, it's thrilling to follow along as he, Detective Warren and the rest of the team scramble for answers in their fight against a killer's sly, methodical planning and execution.
Agent Bowers' trust in the system he stands for and believes in is threatened when a case from his past demands his attention while he's busy with his current investigation.. He wrestles with his conscience, struggling to determine what is more important to him, truth or justice. Staggering implications lie with either answer. And like so many individuals who spend their lives chasing after ruthless killers, Agent Bowers wonders about the difference between himself and the evil people he pursues. Religion and the Bible are discussed in reference to this part of the story. Only then does Steven James even hint at the Christian values that are the foundation of this story. This book doesn't contain any sex or cursing but the story doesn't suffer as a result and I didn't notice and didn't miss them. I wasn't even aware that this was Christian fiction until after I read it.
Steven James has crafted captivating, intense and complex tale about a smart, vengeful killer who will stop at nothing to attain his desired end and the intriguing, driven people who are determined to stop him.. If you enjoy thrillers you don't want to miss this one!