Original Books

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Rook by Steven James

Special agent Patrick Bowers is back with another serial killer mystery. As I predicted, he is now following the arsonist that was released from jail at the end of The Pawn. Only, the plot isn't that simple.
He is also on the trail of another serial killer who likes to drown his "girlfriends" in tanks of water. On top of that, he witnesses a suicide by a brain-damaged homeless man and gets sucked into that case.
Tessa, his stepdaughter, is still hanging around, spouting her usual comments. As expected, she gets herself into another mess while poking around a tattoo parlor.
The whole stepdaughter plot device pops up to frequently in these types of mysteries. The male detective\FBI agent doesn't get along with the younger female in his life, and they go up and down throughout the series.
There is a convenient connection between Patrick's three cases, but it isn't absurd. It's realistic and disguised well by the good writing style.
This book should have not been called The Rook. It should have been called The Shark. The whole book is about sharks. It's only called The Rook to keep with the theme of chess pieces. James also forces the title to work at the end.
The serial killer character is, once again, not absurd. He has an interesting past and actually acts like a human.
Barring all these details, there is a sad fact about The Rook. It could have been five stars. James set it up to be five stars. But he didn't do it.
However, this book is still Elite because of the original answer to the mystery. It's one of the better plot devices ever used in a serial killer book.
It will be interesting to see what Steven James will do down the road in his career.
4 stars

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