Christian fiction, Christian suspense

Book & Cover Review of "The Queen" by Steven James

 Book Review

FBI Special Agent, Patrick Bowers is back in another non-stop action suspense novel The Queen. Bestselling author Steven James managed to keep me up all night reading once again. Though this book is 516 pages long it won’t feel like it because you won’t be able to put it down.

The personal and professional life of the main character get very complicated as he tries to track down a violent serial killer in northern Wisconsin. Each of Steven’s books in this series also tackles a larger moral issue. In this book he tackles one so complicated that at one point he is sort of working ‘with’ the killer … sort of. You’ll have to read it to find out why and how!

I found this novel to be less graphic than the previous one, but still involving the major issues of murder, motive and morals in a very real way that will touch the reader. As a woman I still enjoyed this novel, but I do feel that men would enjoy it equally if not more.

Book Cover Review

Each of the covers in the Patrick Bowers Thriller series features a chess piece. In this cover the Queen piece has been left discarded in the snow – which is very fitting for this novel because most of it occurs during a terrible storm deep in Wisconsin. The hint of frozen tree limbs at the edges of the cover help to convey the sense of deep cold and isolation that is prevalent in this book.

The large, embossed title matches well with the suspense style of cover. Especially given that this is the fifth book of the series the title will likely be as recognizable as the author by readers on the hunt for the next book.

The publisher has also smartly included the fact that the author is a best seller right under the author’s name – and included the title of the first book of the series. With any luck bookstore browsers will then locate the first book and ‘have’ to read the entire series from start to finish. I additionally feel that the quote from an actual retired FBI agent is a smart idea. It suggests that Steven James has done his homework and created a very ‘real’ story line that even a real FBI agent would call it “a masterpiece”.

The book cover appears simple at first glance but is very calculated and well-designed once you analyze all the pieces. Well done!

* This book was received by the publisher for review. An interview with the author can be found at the following link


4 free issues of Suspense Magazine (digital issues)

 Suspense Magazine rated Christian Suspense author Steven James’ novel “The Bishop” as the 2010 suspense book of the year. I reviewed this novel on behalf of the publisher last year and to celebrate the award Suspense Magazine is offering 4 free issues of their digital magazine to all interested in reading more about the latest suspense novels – please note that this is not a Christian publication so it does cover all suspense novels. Issues can be viewed by selecting the following links below. The December issue features the 2010 book of the year. If you love suspense I hope you’ll enjoy this free inside scoop thanks to Suspense Magazine. The publication was voted by Writers Digest as one of the Top 100 Best Books or Magazines for Writers for 2011. I will post all four links as they are released.

Christian fiction, Christian suspense

Book & Cover Review of "The Bishop: a Patrick Bowers Thriller" by Steven James

The Bishop (The Patrick Bowers Files, Book 4)
Book Review
The Bishop (The Patrick Bowers Files, Book 4) revolves around FBI Special Agent Patrick Bowers, his step daughter Tessa or ‘Raven’, and how their lives are impacted by the newest case he has been assigned … as well as their own personal complex life situations. This suspense novel is the 4th in a series surrounding Agent Bowers, and is part of an 8 book series named after a chess theme (it was preceded by the publishing of The Pawn, The Rook, and The Knight.)

During his launch party hosted earlier this week, author Steven James stated “When I approach a new book I always let a deep moral question drive the story forward. For example, in The Bishop, the question was ‘What makes humans different from animals?’ It led me to some surprising conclusions. I don’t set out to teach a lesson but to bring up issues and questions about the human condition that matter. I do learn as I write and it give ms a good place to sort through what I believe.”

 In The Bishop, this moral question is wrapped up in the chase of two very strong and complex villains who are ‘scary good’ at their own form of detached and evil game play. Additionally, the book covers the topics of teen angst, stepfather/stepdaughter relationships, job tensions, and multiple love interests.

As I read the book I kept asking myself … if you were surrounded by death and murder in your work life and your personal life were also filled with more than the average amount of complex situations, how would you cope with the stress? A great read, and very hard to put down!  I have not yet read the first three books in this series and found that I was able to enjoy this book as a stand alone read.  I also feel that the book would appeal to both male and female readers who love suspense.

Book Cover Review
This fourth book features the same blocky embossed text that is typical of suspense/thriller novels in both the ABA and CBA markets.  The dark background allows the bright white and yellow titles to stand out in an eye-catching combination. The damaged Bishop chess piece is mysterious and alludes to a sinister game being played. The dark earth, half-buried skull and purple fog-laden tree trunks match up well with one of the most memorable scenes in this novel. This cover is aptly dark and sinister, and is paired well with writing that is equally intense and hard to put down. The cover will appeal to anyone who likes to read suspense and/or murder mysteries – whether male or female.

* This book was provided to me by the publisher, Revell Publishing, for review.