Book Review: The Pawn

11 Aug

Special Agent Patrick Bowers has met only one person he’s feared—until now. Working on a North Carolina serial murder case, he’s caught in a macabre game of cat-and-mouse with a cunning killer called the Illusionist. The pieces of the puzzle don’t add up. Can Bowers unravel the pattern in time to save the next victim?







Award-winning Author of The Patrick Bowers Files Steven James has penned 30+ books spanning the genres of psychological thrillers, prayer collections, dramas, monologues, a nine book series on creative storytelling, YA fantasy, and inspirational nonfiction.

He has received wide critical acclaim for his work including four Storytelling World Honor awards, two Publishers Weekly starred reviews, and 2009, 2011 and 2012 Christy Awards for best suspense. His latest thriller, The Queen, won a 2012 ECPA Book Award and the 2012 Christy Award for Best Suspense Novel.

Steven earned a Master’s Degree in Storytelling from ETSU in 1997 and is an active member of International Thriller Writers, the Authors Guild, Mystery Writers of America, and International Association of Crime Writers.  He is a contributing editor to Writer’s Digest, and has taught writing and storytelling principles on three continents.

He lives in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee with his wife and three daughters. When he’s not writing or speaking, he’s rock climbing, playing disc golf, or (shh….) slipping away to a matinee.


My Impressions:  

The Pawn, the first book in Steven James’ Patrick Bowers series, was this month’s pick of my book club.  We had mixed feelings on the book — some could not finish it, others found it disturbing, and one member had nightmares while reading it.  I would describe The Pawn as chilling and intense.  It’s subject matter, the investigation by the FBI of serial murders in the Asheville, NC area was spellbinding, but if you are the least bit squeamish or don’t like violence at all, you don’t need to read this book!

Not sure what it says about me, but I liked The Pawn.  I agree with one of our member’s assessment that it was definitely disturbing — the images and the cold cruelty of the serial killer known as the Illusionist.  I could not put this book down though.  I was intrigued by the character of Patrick Bowers, an FBI forensic investigator who is battling the loss of his wife 8 month’s prior to the novel and his struggle with parenting his 17 year old step-daughter.  When things get personal between Patrick and the Illusionist, Patrick kicks his efforts into full gear and the action becomes nonstop.

So should you read The Pawn?  Yes if you like psychological thrillers and don’t mind violent imagery.  But beware, you will never look at a locked door in the same way again!

(I purchased The Pawn for my Kindle.  The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

%d bloggers like this: