Thursday, January 15, 2015

Checkmate by Steven James

Steven James brings his Bowers Files series to a conclusion with Checkmate. Eight books and he's still going strong.

I have been amazed at how James can continue to twist and turn his way through these thick thrillers. He always caught me off guard. I would try to figure out the villain and I would always get surprised. (Maybe that reveals how weak I am at detective work) This final entry wasn't so much about tricking you with the villain as much concluding a story.

As with his other Patrick Bowers books, this one feels complete. The characters have a depth to them and get flesh and bones to them. James has the ability to craft plot, character, and theme so tightly that you feel satisfied with each book. It's like eating a four-course meal reading Steven James.

The last three novels, Opening Moves, The King, and Checkmate felt a little different from the others as if they were their own separate trilogy. Part of that was because it seemed they were a bit more on the graphic side of describing the violence. The climactic ending of Checkmate has some graphic aspects to it.

I remember James writing that he hoped he didn't glorify violence but revealed it. But it sure felt like a glorification and that turned me off a bit. (Just a bit)

I will keep reading whatever James writes. The Patrick Bowers series was fantastic and Checkmate was a worthy finish.

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