Steven James is a master storyteller. Each novel gets a little bit better. I’ve read each book in the Patrick Bowers series and this one raises the bar. The Queen is fast paced and holds the reader’s interest until the end.
The Bowers series has a great list of characters that are well developed and intriguing. Bowers loses his tough guy image around his teenage stepdaughter. It’s the one area of life where he can’t quite be the one in control. One moment he’s being heroic and trying to save the world, the next moment he’s putty in the hands of a teenager. The true to life struggles of parenting a teen teach Patrick Bowers how to change his own character as he tries to lead her into adulthood.
The other characters of the story cross over from book to book. Each person is well developed and come to life on the page.
Story and Plot
Steven James knows how to tell a story. He foreshadows in a way that makes the story more believable while hiding clues in plain sight. This creates many ‘aha’ moments. Fortunately, the moment of revelation comes after the fact and is hard to figure out beforehand. As a reader, I like to guess the plot, but with James, I’m always wrong. He does a masterful job of hiding the truth in the crevasses of the story.
While the book was interesting from cover to cover, the last quarter of the book is a fast ride. As the story races to the climax, it becomes very fast paced and filled with action. This book meets every definition of the word ‘thriller’.
There is only one scene that I found unbelievable. How his partner broke through a security door seemed too farfetched to be realistic. This was a stopping point for me in the story. I suppose it was better than having the agents guess a secure password, but it was still a hard sell for the reader. Once past this difficulty, the story returns to its high expectations.
The one complaint I had in the story isn’t enough to hurt the quality of the book. All things considered, having only one thing to complain about is a big accomplishment. The storyline is very well thought out and presented strongly to the reader. The subplots are interesting and add much to the book.
516 pages is a lot of reading, but not once did I grow tired of the book. There is no ‘sagging middle’ of The Queen. If you like thrillers, you’ll love this book. Best of all, it’s a clean read. James can tell a story without foul language or sleaze. It’s just a good read. Perhaps this will be another Christy Award winner. It has my vote!
“Available September 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”
Author of I Called Him Dancer
Disclosure — Revell provided a free copy of The Queen for the purpose of this review.