Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Rook-Steven James

The Rook
Steven James
Onyx, Dec 2009, $7.99
ISBN: 9780451412812

In San Diego, FBI Special Agents Patrick Bowers and Lien-hua Jiang investigate several suspicious fires in conjunction with the San Diego metro Arson Strike team (MAST). The latest at a naval research center is a change in M.O. but the agents believe the work is by the same perpetrator who does not act like a terrorist, a thrill seeker, or covering a crime until the last one was committed.

A geo-spatial profiler with a great success record, Pat begins to theorize that the earlier arsons were practice for something in the lab. The two Feds soon connect dots from the fire to an abduction, an apparent suicide that looks suspiciously more like a homicide and something called Project Rukh. Behind the scenes is a grandmaster playing everyone including Bowers, his rebellious stepdaughter Tessa, Jiang, and others like a virtuosos moving pawns to do Shade’s bidding.

The sequel to the Pawn is a terrific FBI police procedural with a strong cast including a nasty brilliant villain who makes every move like a chess grandmaster. Tessa helps personalize Pat as each mourns the loss of her mom, his wife one year ago. With some humor adding to the fun of a strong thriller filled with a myriad of story lines that at times feel as if several chess games were going on at once until they converge, fans will relish the exciting action-packed yet character driven the Rook as Pat explains the true importance of profiling to the audience.

Harriet Klausner