From September, 2012, the supremely talented thriller writer Steven James with his Patrick Bowers prequel.
Opening Moves by Steven James is the prequel to the Patrick Bowers Series (The Pawn, The Rook, The Knight, The Bishop, The Queen; The King is due out in July 2013). Published by New American Library, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., Opening Moves has been released in Mass Market Paperback.
Steven James tells readers in the first sentence of his foreword that he had nightmares while writing this novel. He'd have to be one cold-hearted beast not to have had some kind of adverse reactions while composing this work. This is the introduction to the young Patrick Bowers, homicide detective, the one who can't escape recurring nightmares of his teenage discovery of a young female victim of a terrible killer in a tree house and that of another little girl buried alive by the same man.
If you've read this series, you're well acquainted with the talented Steven James. The master storyteller, the complex plots, the literary prowess . . . and the dark natures of the savages he portrays so vividly. This is the story which gives us a less cynical Patrick Bowers, a man who still considers and contemplates things like heaven and hell, justice and reckoning, love and hate, good and evil, God and . . . He examines his own demons clawing at him to escape their boundaries when certain situations arise and he wants unmitigated justice and wants it immediately. Opening Moves blows off all restrictions on the evil of villains. Readers are methodically guided into the darkness of multiple characters which will chill most souls. The TV series Criminal Minds has nothing on Opening Moves. Steven connects all the dots in this masterful plot.
It seems there is a killer who kidnaps victims and threatens to kill them if their loved ones refuse to follow precise acts which require them to deposit others at specific markers in the city. These markers are significant because they note the locations of crimes committed by some of the worst serial killers. Even though the instructions are followed, one of the victims experiences a gruesome mutilation.
Detective Bowers is joined by the gigantic Ralph Hawkins from the FBI, and as they bicker and joke about who's leading the investigation, they cement a solid trust and friendship. Those who've read the series will note this is where we meet the astute Dr. Werjonic who implements the geographic profiling into Patrick's repertoire and is added to the investigation as a consultant leading Patrick to the location of another terrible crime and killer.
Most of the time we're in Patrick's head as his first person accounts of the goings-on in the investigation keep us on edge. Alternating with Patrick's growing knowledge and perspectives, we listen to the demonic logic of the killer, learning of his demented childhood, his "normal" double life, and his compulsion to do what he does while wondering if redemption can cover his deeds.
Plus we are introduced to the brilliant and excoriating young nemesis who has gained the dubious and infamous nickname of "Maneater" in the most literal sense of the word. It's a familiar character to readers of this series, and now we know his origin.
A true crime thriller novelist, Steven James has written his darkest novel yet. Recalling true stories of evil serial killers and adding fictitious ones to the mix, this is not a book for the squeamish. However, for devoted Steven James' fans, prepare for a harrowing ride through the pages of Opening Moves, a portrayal of the darkest threads of humanity, contrasting them to those who struggle to do right and good in the midst of horror. A quick, pulsing read with sinister philosophical implications, a touch of faith, and a cast of dedicated pursuers of incredible evil: some to embrace it and others to extinguish it.
Father, you have given us all a purpose in our writing. Please watch over Steven as he goes to the depths to expose evil for what it is. May he honor you in all he does and all he writes. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.