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Category Archives: Suspense

The Pawn, by Steven James 

This one was a reread for me, and I have to say that it was just as good my second time through.

Steven James is one of the most talented storytellers I’ve ever encountered within the pages of a book. In-depth characters, twisty plots, complex storytelling.. all of these are major qualities in Steven James’ writing. It’s so so good. He knows how to truly captivate his readers and relate to them. Even as he writes about an FBI detective tracking serial killers.

I love that he doesn’t shy away from asking hard questions. Rather, he tackles them head-on. Many topics addressed are far from being black and white.. I really appreciate that he has the courage and takes the initiative to write these subjects and questions into his books.

The Pawn is the fast-paced story of Patrick Bowers as he sets out to catch a bad guy.. a really bad guy who thinks of the graphic murders he’s so intricately linked together as a game. Between all the dead ends Patrick faces with the case and the brick walls he finds himself up against with his teenage stepdaughter, he begins to realize that maybe he doesn’t quite have life figured out as well as he’d once thought.

This book is like a bag of barbecue potato chips. Quite addictive. Much like you find yourself reaching for another chip again and again, this tale and its intensity keep you turning page after page.

* Although the first published Patrick Bowers novel, I highly recommend reading the prequels prior to this so you get the big picture and the full effect of the mystery. I didn’t have that luxury since I read this one way before the prequels existed, but this time around I’m enjoying the opportunity to read them chronologically.

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Posted by on February 4, 2017 in Fiction, Murder, Steven James, Suspense

 

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Every Crooked Path, by Steven James 

*Please make sure to read this post to the end.

Stunned. That’s what this book did to me. It stunned me. And it made my heart ache.

Every Crooked Path is the most difficult Steven James book I’ve read. Judging from the author’s note in the first pages, it’s also the hardest one he’s ever written. The fact that it is an almost 600-page book dealing with crimes involving child predators makes it naturally very hard to read, and yet Steven James said that while he had an incredibly hard time writing it, he knew it needed to be written. And honestly, it needs to be read. We live in a world filled with increasing evil, and it’s just all too easy to ignore that in favor of living in bliss. But it doesn’t work that way.

As Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

And that, I believe, is why this book needed to be written and why it needs to be read. We just can’t afford to ignore the evil surrounding us. This world cannot survive us living in blindness to evil.

Every Crooked Path tells the story of FBI Special Agent Patrick Bowers as he’s on the path of child abductors, molesters, killers. It seems that the more he discovers in this case, the less he actually knows… because things keep getting more complex. Trusting people becomes a deadly risk.

On a lighter note, Patrick spends his free time getting to know Christie and her daughter, Tessa… which I really liked. It added another dimension to this story that I hadn’t realized was coming, as (prior to beginning reading) I had thought this book was chronologically taking place closer to the time Opening Moves ended.

Having pondered for the past several days, I’ve decided to compare this one with vegetables being eaten by a child. The stereotypical picture. They don’t want to eat their vegetables… and yet they need to.

There was one word in this book that I didn’t expect to find in a Steven James book; I think it’s a reflection of how intense this kind of crime is, how it rips at our hearts and tears up everything inside us knowing that this stuff is happening. 

Honestly, this is a very good book; it’s just difficult to read. If you have any questions, feel free to ask me.

 

Release Day for Curse by Steven James!!! – GIVEAWAY

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One of my Top Favorite Writers has a new release today!!! It’s called Curse, and is the third book in a YA trilogy… Haven’t read the first two? This is even more reason to pick them up asap! And if you’re not YA, that’s okay. You can still read these and definitely gift them to others!

Enter the GIVEAWAY!!!

Blitz-wide giveaway (US/CAN only)
5 print copies of Curse

This giveaway ends on May 26th:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

_________

Book & Author Details:
Curse by Steven James
(Blur Trilogy #3)
Published by: Skyscape
Publication date: May 24th 2016
Genres: Thriller, Young Adult

What’s this book about?

Don’t miss this intriguing and climactic conclusion to the Blur Trilogy.

As Daniel Byers prepares to attend a basketball camp before his senior year of high school, the terrifying blurs that’ve plagued him for the last nine months return.

Dark images begin to haunt him—creatures crawling from the deepest pits of his nightmares, glimmers of chilling memories from his early childhood. But before he can unearth the meaning behind his mysterious hallucinations, Daniel must team up with two other extraordinary teens to save a young woman who has been abducted by a scientist obsessed with enacting his own warped form of justice.

This atmospheric mystery picks up where Fury left off and takes readers into the uncharted regions where reality and madness intertwine.

Find it on Goodreads: 
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28230959-curse?from_new_nav=true∾=1&from_search=true

Purchase the trilogy:
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Curse-Blur-Trilogy-Book-3-ebook/dp/B017TVZO5S

Who’s Steven James?

Best known for his high-octane thrillers, Steven James is the award-winning author of eleven suspense novels. The Blur Trilogy is his first mystery series for teens. Steven has taught creative writing around the world and loves rock climbing, science fiction movies, and chicken fajitas. Find him at these links…
http://www.stevenjames.net/
https://www.facebook.com/sjamesauthor
https://twitter.com/sjamesauthor
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/144788.Steven_James

 
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Posted by on May 24, 2016 in Giveaway, Steven James, Suspense, YA

 

If I Run, by Terri Blackstock 

Before sharing my review of If I Run, my first (?!) Terri Blackstock book, I need you to know a couple of things. First, I strongly urge you to not begin reading this right before you go to sleep, especially if you are working the next day… because you won’t be able to set it down and sleep. Your eyelids may be closed, but you will refuse to let the book go until your next reading opportunity. And second… I don’t read a lot of books written in present tense. Sometimes I have trouble getting into them, for whatever reason. But this book.. it works, and frankly I don’t believe it would be as good if it weren’t written in first person, present tense. That makes this book. Because of the way the book is written, I’ve decided to mimic this in my review. While I know this isn’t typical, rather than review as a reader, I’m going to become Casey and then Dylan, the main characters in this story.

* * * * * * * * * * *
As a 20-something wanted for murder, I’m on the run. It doesn’t even matter that I didn’t do it, I’ve got to hide, or I’m dead too. Being careful to avoid leaving a trail, I put to use all the crime stories I’ve read and watched.

My past terrifies me, both in my dreams and in my waking hours. It’s impossible to put it out of my mind, and this creates a barrier around me. I crawl into the shell of who I’ve become and rarely let anyone inside.

I’m a people lover though, and I have a hard time setting that aside to blend in with the background. Helping others is who I am. Is being available and doing what I believe is right worth risking being discovered?

They are lurking around every corner, I just know it. Still, I have to find someplace where I can get a job and save some money.

* * * * * * * * * * *

As a veteran trying to live past PTSD and the nightmares that plague me, I question if my being hired to track down Casey is wise. Maybe I am more dangerous than helpful. What if I snap?

Following a girl who’s as smart as Casey obviously means learning to think like she thinks, and that means untangling the twisted bits of evidence and truths that surround my childhood best friend’s murder.

There’s so much that doesn’t make sense in this investigation, the facts just don’t mesh. Is this girl on the run as terrible as I am told? Nothing seems consistent with that. Not her friends, not her social media, nothing.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Be aware that this is the first book in a trilogy. While some issues are resolved by the end of the book, others are not, and that’s not a bad thing. It creates an anticipation for the next installment in this story that wouldn’t be possible without this kind of ending.

I think I will describe this book as a pepper. The taste and spice will stay with you. Even after it’s over, you’ll still be contemplating.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 
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Posted by on May 12, 2016 in Murder, PTSD, Suspense, Terri Blackstock

 

Opening Moves, by Steven James

A truly edge-of-your-seat series that I recommend to many… That’s what Steven James’ Patrick Bowers novels are. Each one has more creativity and uniqueness than I could begin to describe, so you’re just going to have to read them and see for yourself.

Opening Moves takes us back to the 1990s, with portable phones and videos. We meet Patrick Bowers, a homicide detective in Milwaukee, and quickly realize that he’s something special. His observation skills and the depth of his thinking, paired up with his loyalty and perseverance, make him a detective unlike any other. He often finds himself pondering how our choices and experiences shape our lives, and what justice really looks like.

Pat, as his friends call him, is investigating a series of terribly grotesque crimes. The villain seems to be honoring past twisted criminals, including a cannibal, with his crime spree, and each one is progressively worse and more cruel than the one before. In order to catch the bad guy and end this horrific series of events, Pat turns to new and nearly unheard of investigation strategies. Nobody is above suspicion as this young detective seeks out the truth.

Personally, I highly recommend this book be read first, even though it wasn’t written until after several of the other books in the series. While this series can be read out of order if you insist on it, and they each have an individual storyline, they all fit together like a puzzle, and to get the full picture in the best possible way, they need to be read in order. There are continuing characters and plot lines that show up throughout the series… and this should be respected and used to make the most of the story!

Before I finished reading my first novel by this amazing storyteller, he had already earned a spot as one of my favorite writers. As great as they are, though, be aware that they can be somewhat graphic, due to the nature of Patrick’s line of work.

After pondering this for quite a while, I think I’ll go with taco salad as a food comparison for this series. There are so many flavors and textures… just as Steven James’ writing is made up of many levels of story, so very intricately woven together to draw in the reader.

 
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Posted by on March 6, 2016 in Fiction, Steven James, Suspense