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Monday, August 2, 2010

Steven James' The Bishop

I received Steven James' book from the publisher to do a review on July 9. I finished it July 11, and that's only because it's over 500 pages long.

This book was a heart-pounding page-turner, and it had a really deep philosophical element I wasn't expecting in a thriller. Here's a synopsis from the author's website:

FBI Special Agent Patrick Bowers's cutting-edge skills are about to be pushed to the limit when a young woman is found brutally murdered in Washington, D.C. Her killers continue a spree of perfect crimes in the Northeast, but with nothing to link them to each other, Agent Bowers faces his most difficult case yet-- even as his personal life begins to crumble around him.

Patrick Bowers is a different kind of detective, one who's not hung up on determining motives (and who has his own website, complete with case files). He's into his gadgetry, like his phone which produces 3D holographs for his geospatial investigations. He's also got three women in his life vying for his attention, serial killers on the loose leaving clues via license plates, and a whopper of a promise he made to a dying man that plays over and over in his head like a broken record.

What I liked best about the book wasn't the twists and turns, although they were spectacular. I liked that this book really made me think. About what it means to be human, have free will, follow our instincts. The philosophical nature of this book was so deep that it almost lost me a few times, so I suppose there are those who might read it that it will for sure go over their heads. But by the end, I closed the last page and just sat there, dumb struck...

...before I immediately set about Googling some of the terms from his book, which I won't repeat now since I don't want to give away too much. And the big kicker is that James is writing about cutting edge research and giving the readers up-to-date information on legal findings that will really shock you. Utterly fascinating, as it opened up a new world to me!

As a therapist, I've wondered what makes people do bad things. Christians teach that humans are inherently evil from birth, but side-by-side that instruction is that we have the free will to choose our actions. Reading this book will throw this truth in the light in a big way.

What ultimately made me cry "pick me" for this blog tour was the warning that accompanied the email request for reviewers:

WARNING: This book contains violence and graphic descriptions of disturbing crime scenes. It takes the reader inside the minds of psychopathic killers.

Absolutely heavenly.

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4 comments:

Elizabeth Byler Younts said...

OOOO, Steven James just did a impromptu workshop at my wkly writing critique group 2 wks ago when he was in my neck of the woods for a launch party. I bought all 4 of his books in this series & can't wait to devour them! :-)

Elaine AM Smith said...

Wow. I have always wondered about nature verses nurture, when it comes to evil.

Julia M. Reffner said...

Thanks so much for the review, Jeannie. It sounds fascinating, I like books that show both good and evil characters in depth. I've read several lately with cardboard villains and that's so frustrating.

Marc said...

Made you think - and it's good page turner - that's my favorite combo for novels. This would seem to contradict what I've read in "How to Write Christian Fiction" type books - that readers aren't looking for complexity and want their good guys all good and bad guys all bad.

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Both comments and questions are welcome. I hope you enjoyed your time on the couch today.