Let's talk about the good stuff first. Steven James knows how to tell a story. (Makes sense as he has a Master's in storytelling) The pacing of this story is perfect. The characters continue to grow - even after six books - in realistic fashion. The plot follows along most detective/criminal thrillers. There is so much to this book, but James knows how to keep you reading.
When I finished this story, it felt satisfying. This is how it feels to finish a Steven James novel. He tells big stories with intimate characters all while leaving the reader wanting more. After so many books in one series, this is an incredible accomplishment.
Now the bad stuff.
Before diving into the prequel, Opening Moves, James wrote that he did not want to glamorize evil. It seems as if he's doing exactly what he doesn't want to do. Opening Moves was hard for me to read. Now with The King, I was repeatedly brought out of the story due to the brutal nature of the villain.
While thinking back over the previous novels, I couldn't remember how "evil" the bad guys were written. I'm sure they were not whitewashed for the censors. The issue for me is the fact that the villain in this book is a cannibal. The way James writes his thoughts about what he wants to do sent my imagination to places I did not want it to go.
So that was a turn off for me. One more book in the Patrick Bowers series so we'll see how things conclude because I know I will absolutely purchase Check Mate when it releases.