After reading Christian author Steven James books, my mystery reading has never been the same. James’ writing is the definition of smart, heart pounding, shocking suspense.
The Authentic Page Turner
James is no saint, and yet he is clean cut as you can get, besides the violence. I picked up James’ The Rook off the sales rack (since it was cheap, I decided I could risk it). It turned out to be 400-plus pages that felt like nothing. Multiple point of views some from the mind of really twisted baddies; the heroic protagonist Agent Patrick Bowers and his daughter; his love interests; many near death experiences; and breathtaking conclusions are the main frame of his books. Of course, I should have trusted the lavish praise given by former FBI agents and Publish Weekly, which said “this jacked-up read feels more like an explosive episode of ’24.'” They were right. Steven James knows how to build the story up to such a shocking revelation, you just have to go back and look at all the clues that lead to that moment. I remember reading the Rook (the second in the Agent Bower’s series) and literally yelling “No way!” In the end, because James crafted his story so well. I ended up believing in the insanity of the plot (think an elusive serial killer who puts women in tanks of water and films them, mysterious fires in the city) and was craving for more.
However, I must seriously warn you. Steven James is not for the lighthearted. His books have some serious baddies that can be just as intriguing as they can be creepy and disgusting. In fact, in the prequel to the Patrick Bowers series, Opening Moves, James warns readers about the explicit violence in the book. He said part of it is based off of experience and a real serial killer. I still have yet to read it (except for his foreword), because I have an idea of the type of serial killer (think creatively cannibalistic) he is talking about based on the little information from the first book of this series. I would not recommend some of his books for anyone 14 or under. Yet, for those suspense and thrill seekers, I would say a definite A.
July 1 his last book, The King, in the PB series came out. Start reading with The Pawn. His series goes in order of chess piece ranks (pretty cool if I say so myself!). In October his second book to his new series about a former illusionist is coming out. The first book, Placebo, discusses telepathy (now that was interesting)! Trust me, you will not be disappointed when you decide to pick up this author’s writing. Before you know it you will be ordering The King!
Ty Buchanan series by James Scott Bell. This one is about a fast-talking lawyer who manages to get himself mixed up in the worst crimes of LA. Very fast paced wise-cracking narratives. His sidekicks are a priest and a basketball playing nun.
Roland March Mystery Series by J. Mark Bertrand. A cynical police detective? What more could you ask for? Reads well. Good pacing and always with a tangled web of corrupt officers, gangs, and conspirators.