Audiobook Review: The Rook

3 Aug

An arsonist has struck a top-secret research facility at a key US naval base. But it’s not just a random terrorist attack. These people were after something specific. When Special Agent Patrick Bowers is called in to investigate, he is drawn into a deadly web of intrigue and deception. With his own criminology research being turned against him and one of the world’s most deadly devices missing, Bowers is caught up in a race against time to stop an international assassin before it’s too late.

Full of fast-paced action and mind-bending plot twists, The Rook is an adrenaline-laced page-turner that will keep readers up all night. Book 2 in the Bowers Files, this riveting look into the criminal mind is the perfect follow-up to James’s well-reviewed The Pawn.



Steven James is a national bestselling novelist whose award-winning, pulse-pounding thrillers continue to gain wide critical acclaim and a growing fan base.

Suspense Magazine, who named Steven’s book The Bishop their Book of the Year, says that he “sets the new standard in suspense writing”. Publishers Weekly calls him a “master storyteller at the peak of his game”. And RT Book Reviews promises, “the nail-biting suspense will rivet you”.

Equipped with a unique Master’s Degree in Storytelling, Steven has taught writing and storytelling on four continents over the past two decades, speaking more than two thousand times at events spanning the globe.

Steven’s groundbreaking book on the art of fiction writing, Story Trumps Structure, won a Storytelling World award. Widely-recognized for his story crafting expertise, he has twice served as a Master CraftFest instructor at ThrillerFest, North America’s premier training event for suspense writers.

My Impressions:

Years ago my book club read Steven James’ first novel, The Pawn. We had varied opinions — scary, creepy, nightmare-inducing . . . . Some did not even finish it because it was too intense. I had forgotten all that when I chose the audiobook of The Rook, the second in the Bowers Files series, for my daily walks. While it didn’t produce bad dreams, it was scary, creepy, chilling, and perhaps a bit too real. I really liked it. It made me think. However, if you are the least bit squeamish or have trouble with disturbing images, then this one is definitely not for you. But if you like a thriller with twists and turns and some seriously disturbed bad guys, then I recommend it.

Patrick Bowers is a Special Agent for the FBI. Not a profiler, he is an expert at identifying where serial offenders are apt to strike leading to the discovery of their identities. Called in to help with a serial arsonist case in San Diego, he gets more than he bargins for. A sinister weapon is being developed, and there are lots of people who would like to get their hands on it. Add the life and death implications of the case to a tenuous relationship with his sullen, stubborn, and vegan stepdaughter, and Patrick may just be in over his head.

While The Rook is a masterfully plotted thriller sure to induce gasps and grimaces and keep you up way too late at night, the characters are what I loved. Patrick is at once caring and compassionate and dogged and determined. He has trouble with authority, but is on the side of the good guys. Tessa, Patrick’s 16-year old stepdaughter struggles with her place in Patrick’s life following the death of her mother. Tessa and Agent/profiler Lien-hua Jiang show the personal side of Patrick, giving the reader a balanced view. The Rook is Christian Fiction, but it does not have an overt spiritual message. Tessa and Lien-hua discuss faith and Patrick wrestles with the nature of evil, but that’s pretty much the extent of it. And perhaps that is enough. I did like Patrick’s realization of the nature of evil — “We are all monsters, all of us. But we were made to be so much more.” The narrator does an excellent job, making this audiobook easy to listen to, even with the times I had to cringe.

For edge of your seat thrills, The Rook is a recommended read (or listen).


Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(I purchased the audiobook from Audible. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)


2 Responses to “Audiobook Review: The Rook”

  1. Cathe Swanson August 6, 2017 at 8:57 am #

    I listened to the first book, “Opening Moves”- or maybe it’s a prequel, but it’s a full-length book – and it was too grisly and psychologically terrifying for me. The images are stuck in my head more than a year later!
    ….So I guess that means he is a skilled writer, because even if I found it horrible, it stays with me. Fans of the horror or extreme psychological thriller genre will love it. Top-quality writing that made me think of Stephen King. Definitely not Christian fiction.

    • rbclibrary August 6, 2017 at 2:48 pm #

      He is definitely not for everyone. But for those who do like that genre, he’s a good pick. Especially for those looking for a Christian worldview.

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