Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Book Review: The Pawn

Author: Steven James

Title: The Pawn (Book 1 of the Patrick Bowers files)

Description (source): As an environmental criminologist, Patrick Bowers uses 21st-century geospatial technology to analyze the time and space in which a crime takes place. Using an array of factors, Bowers can pinpoint clues to solve the toughest of cases. Bowers's skills have made him one of the FBI's top agents-until now. 

Called to the mountains of North Carolina to consult on a gruesome murder, Bowers finds himself in a deadly duel with a serial killer who seems to transcend Patrick's analytical powers. Forced to track the killer's horrific murders one by one, Bowers finds his techniques and instincts are put to the ultimate test... (Amazon)

Review source: not a review copy; free on kindle

Plot: The book definitely held my interest and there were several plot twists that caught me by surprise (which is hard to do). The aspect that sets this book apart from other mysteries would be the detective's specialty as an environmental detective; the book introduces the specialty and its methods over the course of solving the case.

Characters: A book like this has two main characters that matter: the detective and the villain. Both are well-done in this novel. The detective (Bowers) is really smart, but not infallible, and his personal issues affect, but don’t overwhelm, the thriller plot. The (suspected) villains are well-written (i.e. chilling!) as well. There are several good supporting characters: Bowers’ stepdaughter is especially affecting, and the team of investigators has several individuals with distinct personalities.

Writing style: Bowers has a quick-paced writing style that alternates points of view. Lots of short chapters—typical of the thriller genre. This book had way more character development than the thrillers I usually read, and that’s a good thing.

Audience: People who like thrillers, serial killer mysteries, detective stories.

Wrap-up: This isn’t the type of book I usually read, but it was free on kindle, so I picked it up. It surprised me with its depth, and I raced to get it finished. I would read the next in the series. 4/5*

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