Title: The Bishop (A Patrick Bowers Thriller)
Author: Steven James
My synopsis: Patrick Bowers is a highly skilled FBI agent. He is usually called to work only the most difficult serial killer cases. While in Washington, DC teaching classes for the National Academy at Quantico, he is called into a sensitive case only because the victim is a congressman's daughter. It appears to be a perfect crime with no evidence left behind to identify the killers. Then another body appears and another. These victims are all related in one way, but Patrick is having a hard time tying them together and locating any strong suspects.
On a personal level, he is finally getting close to his 17-year-old step daughter Tessa. She had discovered who her real father was after her mother died only 4 months into the marriage with Patrick. His name is Paul Lansing and he lived as a recluse in Wyoming. Only now he is in DC and he has come to try and get custody of Tessa.
Patrick is also caught between two women - one whom he had a relationship with that had recently ended, Lien-hua, who is also an FBI agent; and Cheyenne, a detective with the Denver PD with whom he had also worked but they had never really dated. She is in Washington, DC, unexpectedly, as a National Academy student. Both of these women are also drawn into the case that Patrick is working on. Only nothing is at it seems on this case. The killers, who call themselves Brad and Astrid, met in an online gaming room. They are very good at distracting the investigators with leaving evidence pointing in the wrong direction. It is up to Patrick to be able to actually narrow in and decide what is the true evidence.
My thoughts: My synopsis really does not do this book justice. It was a fantastic thriller. At a little over 500 pages long it kept me reading late into the night when I most definitely should have been asleep. I really liked Patrick's character. He was a loyal FBI agent, who rarely followed any policies and had his own way of going about solving crimes. He doesn't look for motive or profiling, but using something called geospatial investigation. It is the idea that timing and location can help to find the suspects, as well as progression of the crimes. It made for some very interesting theorizing on my part, and is going to make me look at other thriller books that I read in a different light. The most endearing quality to me though was that he was not macho tough. He got shot - it hurt - a lot. He still misses his wife. He is confused about his feelings for Lien-hua and Cheyenne. He is trying very hard to be a real dad to Tessa. It is all these things that round him out so that he isn't just an agent on a case, but that he actually has a life outside the FBI. Of course, things from his FBI life always have a way of muddying up his private life and family.
I enjoyed Tessa as well and wish that I was as smart today as she is at 17. She has a great vocabulary and appears to have an amazing memory when it comes to facts. She is still just a teenager though so still has that teenage sarcasm and angst. She is also dealing with memories of almost being killed by a serial killer herself. (That was in one of the previous Patrick Bowers books).
Brad and Astrid are terrifying and I find it chilling to even imagine that people like that exist. The extent that they go to to set up their "games" and the way they choose to kill people gives me the heebie-jeebies - (but isn't that why we read thrillers?) The first murder takes place at a primate research lab, so you learn a lot about the different tests they do in researching neuroscience and cognition. I found this part especially interesting as I have always been fascinated by chimps and pictured myself working with them using sign language when I was growing up. (Of course, that didn't quite pan out.)
This has been one of my favorite thrillers so far this year and I am definitely going to have to find some time to go back and read the first three in this series,The Pawn, The Rook, and The Knight. So, if you are looking for your next thriller, I would have to say that it would be a safe bet to pick up one of Steven James' Patrick Bowers books!
~I received a complimentary copy of this book from Baker Publishing in exchange for my review.~
Publisher/Publication Date: Revell, Aug, 2010