I should start by saying that I'm not the typical thriller reader, but I love all of Steven's novels! For me they are beautifully written forays into difficult psychological and philosophical questions that force me to take a deep look at life and into my true beliefs. This latest offering is the most disturbing and therefore the most challenging of the bunch. My favorite aspect is that while the villains are unbelievably creepy and evil, you also get inside of their heads and see what caused them to become who they are. In a strange way, it creates a sense of compassion for the villains. While a part of me was screaming for justice, another part of me was longing for these men to find healing and redemption. It's the rare writer who can create such exceptionally rounded characters.
Opening Moves is the prequel to the Bowers series. It did take me a few chapters to orient to the new time and place and to adjust to the younger Patrick. However, once I did, I was hooked as usual. And while it might be nice to read the books in chronological order if you're new to the series, there are also advantages to reading it as the sixth book, most notably the fact that these crimes are more vicious than any we've seen before and therefore create a sense of escalation for the series. Also, there are many fun and humorous elements that only longtime Bowers fans will appreciate.
I think Opening Moves might be one of Steven James' most chilling and creepy Patrick Bowers book yet (although all of them are creepy in their own way).
I found Opening Moves very interesting and I loved getting to see Patrick Bowers in the way that we do and finding out more about this case (which was mentioned in other Patrick Bowers books).
The story was super suspenseful and (at times) very gruesome - even I had trouble reading it at times and I don't get creeped out by many books - so I'd only recommend this to people who like scary books and can take gruesome scenes. There were a few things I personally didn't like, including when someone said "oh my ***" and a few other edgy things. That said, I did love the story very much and am still giving it five stars because it was so great!
One thing I definitely have taken away from reading the Patrick Bowers series (and especially this book) is a reminder of how depraved humanity is and how we are all born sinners and in need of salvation which can only be found through faith in Jesus Christ. While Opening Moves does contain evil, it doesn't glamorize it or show it in a positive light.
Some of the crimes talked about in Opening Moves actually occurred in real life which made this book all the more chilling and (at times) hard to read. This book made me think, held my attention throughout, and there were a lot of twists I didn't see coming! A great read that, as long as you enjoy thrillers and don't mind some gruesome/violent scenes, I completely recommend! You don't need to have read the other books in the Patrick Bowers series first because this is considered a prequel.
After reading Opening Moves I now can hardly wait to read the next Patrick Bowers book, The King, which is set to release July 2013!
*I received a complimentary copy of this book for my review. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.*
Since 2007, Steven James has been telling Patrick Bowers' story. As an environmental criminologist, Bowers combines the latest techniques in environmental psychology with geospatial investigation to identify, track, and catch serial offenders. All of that means that Patrick is at his best when things are at their most dangerousâ€”when a serial killer is on the loose and determined to strike again. For five novelsâ€”The Pawn, The Rook, The Knight, The Bishop, and The Queenâ€”readers joined Bowers on his quests to catch some of the most dangerous killers ever seen. But through all of it, one name keeps recurring: Richard Devin Basque.
Basque ties in some way to all of the books in the seriesâ€”and this reviewer surmises that he will play even larger roles in either The King (2013), Checkmate (2014?), or bothâ€”and always in reference to his original crime, the crime that set Bowers on the path of environmental criminologist, the path that made him the personal enemy of a brutal serial killer. Opening Moves takes a step back in time to tell that original story. For those just joining the series, it is a perfect place to begin; for those who have followed Bowers' journey, it is the payoff of five years of waiting. Yet even now this isn't fully the story of Richard Devin Basque.
It's Milwaukee in 1997: a city still in shock at the brutality and pure evil of Jeffrey Dahmer. They may have razed the building he lived in, but the stench of his crimes still wafts over the city. And now someone just as terrifying has come to play. Copycat? Maybe. But as the killings and mutilations continue, it becomes obvious that Dahmer isn't the killer's only hero. Every killing has some reference to an infamous killer, and it's up to Bowers to connect the dots and draw the conclusions. The result is a plot-twisting, heart-pounding, nerve-wracking, page-turning thriller that will keep you reading and guessing and gasping until the very last page.
For those that have followed the series, you likely know that the series has been published by Revell, a division of Baker Books. For the last few years, the Penguin Group, under various imprints, has reprinted the books in mass market format. Opening Moves marks the first book in the series to be published only in mass market by Penguin. What does this mean? Well, if anything James's writing has gotten better, so no difference there. But don't go out looking for trade paper or hardcover editions. It isn't a huge deal, I just mention it so that readers who plan on buying this bookâ€”and it should be all of youâ€”know what you're looking for.
In summary, The Bowers Files represents one of my favorite series of books and Steven James is one of the top thriller authors out there. Run, don't walk, to pick this one up. And after you've read it, you may want to sleep with the lights on. I picked this one up at 2am to browse the first few chapters. Sanity demanded I finish it and it wasn't until well past sunrise that I had finally finished the last page, quelled thoughts of serial killers, and was able to sleep_with the light on.