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Opening Moves: The Bowers Files Paperback – September 4, 2012
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“[A] master storyteller.”—Publishers Weekly
“Opening Moves is a mesmerizing read. From the first chapter, it sets its hook deep and drags you through a darkly gripping story with relentless power. My conclusion: I need to read more of Steven James.” —Michael Connelly, New York Times bestselling author of The Drop
“With a multi-dimensional quality, Steven James writes with a confident, assured ease. Just good, old-fashioned, gimmick free storytelling that pushes the envelope to the edge and beyond.” —Steve Berry, New York Times bestselling author of The Columbus Affair
“Steven James has created a fast moving thriller with psychological depth and gripping action. Opening Moves is a smart, taut, intense novel of suspense that reads like a cross between Michael Connelly and Thomas Harris…Opening Moves is a blisteringly fast and riveting read.” —Mark Greaney, New York Times bestselling author of Ballistic
From the Author
As I acknowledge in the note to the reader at the beginning of the book, this story gave me nightmares. It contains three of the most frightening scenes I've ever written--the barn scene, the treehouse scene, and Patrick's nightmare of the cocoon.
Since this story intersects with actual crimes that occurred (including my own father being targeted by two brutal killers who were thankfully captured before they could shoot him), this story is perhaps the most personally gripping and chilling novel I've ever written.
While I was researching the novel, a detective in Wisconsin took me into the evidence room to show me the boxes of items that were still kept there and the guns that the killers had with them that they would have used against my father.
Although I wrote The Pawn before any of my other novels, Opening Moves takes place first in the series. So, if you enjoy reading prequels first, start here with the series.
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Top Customer Reviews
First, if you're considering starting this series, I would recommend starting with the Pawn and reading most, if not all, of the series before reading this one. There are a couple of reasons for that. 1) It's written as a prequel and is not needed for understanding the other stories. 2) While a book series about a guy who catches serial killers is going to be a bit macabre, this book is probably the most gruesome of the bunch. It is a good read, but it can be difficult to stomach. It's made more so because it ties its story to a lot of true events.
Opening Moves addresses one of Patrick Bowers first big cases. The other books all deal with James as an FBI agent. In this one, he is a homicide detective in Milwaukee--about to be discovered by the FBI. Bowers and his partner stumble into a crime that is caused by a killer trying to copy famous serial killers. That gets him involved in leading a task force that eventually includes FBI agents interested in the connection between the killings and others happening in the Midwest. The story takes a number of twists and turns as it tracks the case.
The book has one problem that is often found in prequels. The books have already developed a number of the characters, so the book can tell back-story, but not really do character development well. The growth we see in Patrick in the rest of the series as he struggles with a teenage daughter he inherited and a heavy caseload is not really evident here.
Be warned. James paints the darkest corners of the world and looks for places for redemption. Most of that redemption is found in later books. This book tends to dwell in the dark corners. It's a heavy book with bad people. But it's a well-told story and one that's hard to put down.
As with most of James' books, I finished this one in a day. They are habit-forming.
It is 1997 and it seems that Milwaukee is once again being terrorized by a serial killer similar to Jeffrey Dahmer. Pat teams up with the FBI to investigate the murders and hopes to bring this killer to justice before he escalates anymore.
This book was so intense and disturbing! I loved it! If you are at all squeamish I would not recommend this series for you, but if you love intense suspense, mystery and twists and turns in your plots then definitely pick this series up. Steven James doesn't hold back from describing crime scenes which may be offensive to some readers. Some of the scenes in Opening Moves were a bit hard for me, especially when they involved children. Reading from the killers perspective was creepy and I had to put the book down at night and pick up something a bit lighter. Still I found that during the day I couldn't put this book down and now I'm moving on to The Rook as I have already read The Pawn. If you love suspense, if you enjoy twists and turns that have you constantly guessing "who done it" then give the Patrick Bowers Files a try.
The story line and character development are better than Pawn, Knight, and Bishop. The tension is intense, as is the action. Having now read the entire series, this is my favorite.