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The Pawn

(The Patrick Bowers Files #1)

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  7,924 ratings  ·  797 reviews
Special Agent Patrick Bowers had only met one man who made him truly afraid. Until now. When he's called to North Carolina to consult on the case of an area serial killer, he finds himself in a deadly game.

Cunning and lethal, the killer is always one step ahead of the law, and he's about to strike again. It will take all of Bowers's instincts and training to st
Paperback, 427 pages
Published September 1st 2007 by Fleming H. Revell Company (first published 2007)
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Amy Yes, I got this from my public library and read it on my Kindle. I also got an audio download for a long drive I had and wanted to finish it up.

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Average rating 4.08  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,924 ratings  ·  797 reviews

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The Pirate Ghost (Formerly known as the Curmudgeon)
Jul 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Any Adult
Recommended to The Pirate Ghost by: Found Randomly in the Kindle Book Store.
The Bower's files are all fun reads. The first one is every bit as creepy as it should be. As much as Patrick Bowers comes across as a sad-sack and a proprietary thinker, he becomes endearing and likeable. The most interesting character is his daughter! Reads like a movie. The plot is involved and twisted and spills into the sequels. James's sense or romance could be tightened up a bit, but he manages to make that fun too. Bower's big "theory" of how to catch serial killers and his disdain of pr ...more
Nov 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, 1-in-series, suspense
In a chilling race to stop a crazed serial killer in his tracks, Special Agent Patrick Bowers must use all of his training, his wit and his gut-instinct as the clock ticks down on death.

Steven James’s THE PAWN pits Bowers against the monster known as the Illusionist and from start to finish one never knows what will happen next! Gritty and emotionally taut, this is a suspense lover’s dream as we witness both the personal and professional turmoil of Bowers as he searches for any advantage against the Illusionist
Imagine my surprise after reading all the Patrick Bower series by Steven James and in wanting to write a review of the books, to discover that this series is labeled as being published by a Christian publisher, as well as authored by a Christian...ergo, the Patrick Bowers series is labeled Christian Fiction. I'll tell you this, as an atheist, I didn't have a clue (not even a suspicion) of this throughout my reading of these novels.

Now, now, I am not implying that good Christian fiction doesn't
Mike (the Paladin)
Oct 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
First let me say this is a good book, I recommend it. I say that first because there is one thing that kept tapping me on the shoulder and saying, "hey, look a me!" So when I list a negative or a few instances of the same negative don't get the idea that it's a deal breaker. This is a good novel, I like it.

First of all the writer does a great job of pulling you in and getting you involved in the protagonist's life and situation. I am not a fan of seeing things from the psychopathic point of vie
Maureen DeLuca
Oct 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
I'm going back and forth with a 3 star rating and a 4 . So, because I really like Patrick Bowers- I gave him the extra star and rated this at a 4.

Patrick Bowers is hunting a killer that has dubbed himself "The Illusionist," thriving on misdirection and confusion to further confound the authorities at every turn. As Bowers and his team search for clues, they realize they are facing a madman who is as cunning as he is evil. As answers are uncovered, more mysteries surface, linking the Illusionist
May 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle, personal-copy
From page one of 'The Pawn', I was captured and didn't want to put the book down. The prologue was so gripping that I could vividly imagine what was happening. The suspense didn't stop there, it stayed throughout the entire book and with a surprise twist ending 'The Pawn' is sure to keep you up in the night.

There are some gruesome scenes in 'The Pawn', so if you don't like reading books that are somewhat disturbing I wouldn't recommend this, but if you like reading books that are fil
eve v.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nike Chillemi
Feb 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I'd read The Knight before reading The Pawn. I'd advise doing it from book one and going straight through.

I think it's beneficial to meet Patrick Bower at the beginning of the series when he's so emotionally raw having just lost his new bride to cancer. He had also inherited a step-daughter who is reeling from the loss of ther mother. The teenager has a love/hate relationship w/Patrick.

The villian calls himself the Illusionist. I'd say the author is a bit of an illusionist in this b
Aug 21, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: serial-killers
Apparently this is considered "christian-fiction" which explains some of the heavy-handed question of God and faith in the book. I was looking for a clever serial-killer book with a clever detective using chess as a way of playing cat and mouse. This was not clever and chess was just a "pawn" in my opinion to get you interested in this book.

It was pretty fast paced, highly unbelievable, too many mistakes and I didn't really care for the "hero" of this book at all, Patrick Bowers. Nee
Ariel Masters
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What did I think? I don't know if there is room enough to accurately list all I think about this first book in the Patrick Bowers Files. Wow. Just... wow. I finished reading this story at about 1:00 a.m., and nearly rushed downstairs to leave my review just so my brain would shut up, and I could sleep. I, wisely, decided to let myself calm down first.

So, here we go. I'll start with what I didn't like.

I didn't care for the graphic killings. I mean, I get it; this is the author's styl
Caitlyn Santi
Aug 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
WOW! This was my first time reading a book by Steven James, and I can guarantee that it will not be my last! I have heard so many amazing things about the Patrick Bowers series, and I can now officially say that they were not exaggerated! Where do I start, I loved this book! I loved the main character Patrick Bowers, I loved how even though he was brilliant, there were still pieces that it took a while for him to put together, that made his character so real and relatable! In a way Patrick Bower ...more
The Book Blogger (inside and in between)
as first posted on my blog
Wow. This was a reeeaaaly creepy book. Gave me nightmares:P
But seriously...Steven James is an amazing author. His descriptions are vivid and his plot is really intricate and intense. At times I was overwhelmed by what was going on, especially in trying to grasp some of the background details .But I reckon the writing was still top-notch.

The book is a crime-thriller novel. Special Agent Patrick Bowers is called in to help catch a mysterious serial killer
Jun 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: want-to-reread
Third time reading it and it was just as wonderful! I absolutely loved the book and actually want to reread the rest of the series AGAIN, but probably won't be able to right now because I don't have the time.

If you enjoy thrillers, I highly recommend this book and series. While it does have violence (and some really gruesome scenes), it's still clean language-wise and the violence isn't glorified at all...but if you have a soft stomach, don't read them (especially Opening Moves).

I t
Julie Graves
Jan 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
The first book in The Patrick Bowers Thriller series did not disappoint at all! If you like stories about serial killers and murder mysteries then you definitely have to pick this book up.

Patrick Bowers is called in when several girls have been found dead, the work of a serial killer with a signature of a chess pawn left behind. Patrick's wife has recently passed away from breast cancer and his 17 year old step-daughter Tessa is staying with his parents while Pat tries to help find t
Tamara Tilley
Aug 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, steven-james
Wow! THE PAWN by Steven James started off like a walk in the park, progressed to a race against time, and climaxed with an all out sprint to the end.

I am a little bit late in reading this suspense/thriller that was released in 2007. But, as I prepare to read his latest, THE QUEEN, I am back peddling to read the previous installments in the Patrick Bowers Thrillers to make sure I am in the right frame of mind when THE QUEEN is released next month.

Dr. Patrick Bowers, has a
Max Rudenko
Oct 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Quite well written police/psychological thriller with lots of all kinds of twists and turns. The only gripe I have with it is the conclusion: it was too ambiguous. Generally I prefer more definite, clear ending to the book. Therefore, only 4 stars, although until the end I wanted to rate this novel 4.5 stars. Well, I guess here author wanted to hook us on this series and ensure the demand for the next book. In my case he succeeded. Despite that I didn't care for the ending I will continue the se ...more
I thought the premise and plot were good and most of the characters were well-thought out, particularly the killer's background. But I didn't think the writing was very good. The author had a habit of using a lot of short sentences and at one point when an alarm was going off, instead of describing the sound, he actually just wrote "Brum, brum, brum..." Not even a very good impression of an alarm if you ask me! Sounds more like a child making the sound of a car. And worse, he uses the same words ...more
Terri ♥ (aka Mrs. Christian Grey)
Jul 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio
Quick review:

Cover: Fitting
Rating: R
Thumbs Up: 4.5
Overall: Interesting Read
Characters: Well Written
Plot: A Killer who is one step ahead
Page Turner: Yes
Series Cont.? Yes
Recommend: Yes
Book Boyfriend: Patrick

SUMMARY (50 words or less)
I found this author through his YA books. I liked them so much, I decided to try his adult work and I wasn’t disappointed. So many twist and turns, I didn’t see them all coming.

For a full review and yummy pic, see my blog post at:

Audio Review
Richard Ferrone did a good job with the narration and capturing the emotions from all the characters.
Aug 10, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This book was like an onion, peel back a layer and you find another layer underneath. A mystery within a mystery if you will. I like the authors writing style and his ability to move the book along at a very quick pace as well. This is one of those writers that has you guessing all along who is in on it and he writes each chapter dependent on the next which puts a reader in the position of having to keep those pages turning. The story line got a bit thick but not so thick that it pushed it into ...more
Aug 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
Overall, my impression was "brilliant," but there were times where I felt so overwhelmed with the multitude of threads and subplots that I just wanted to quit reading (which is really odd for me, since I'm typically bored reading many books). About 3/5 of the way through, I seriously considering giving up, but "luckily" the brilliant points kept me going. I must agree with some other reviewers in that, for me, the ending fell flat.
Jun 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Amazing how much I had forgotten since the first time I read this book. This is an amazing author. If youlike crime thriller fiction you must read this series!!!
Pretty good crime fiction with lots of twists and turns.
I love this book. Patrick is a great main character, but I enjoy every scene with Tessa in it. The twists in the book are unexpected, which is always wonderful in a suspense novel. If you enjoy suspense/thrillers I definitely recommend reading this book.
Doug Cummings
Jun 27, 2013 rated it did not like it
For me, character is the key. I'll follow a good character anywhere. Problem here is that Patrick Bowers isn't compelling enough to care about. He's got the standard baggage of a dead wife, step-daughter who hates him because he's never home, and the pain of years of looking at dead people. By golly, he's pushing on, though, because all those victims had daddies and he doesn't want another father to have to deal with the pain of losing a child. Other authors have made all that kind of thing work ...more
Pat Camalliere
Oct 09, 2017 rated it did not like it
I may not have been as critical about this book had I not expected so much more from this author. I recommended Steven James Story Trumps Structure to other writers because of the common sense techniques for better writing it contains. I picked up The Pawn expecting it to demonstrate the writer’s skill. I was hugely disappointed. The book is filled with inconsistencies, failed attempts to be clever, and baffling sections that left this reader confused and shaking her head. An example is a scene ...more
1st in the Patrick Bowers Files series; 1st book read by this author. This book follows Patrick Bowers, FBI agent who specializes in specific aspects of crime. I found the ideas in this book to be very interesting and I loved the tidbits thrown in, like tarpon, rock climbing, coffee, chess, etc. As a current resident of North Carolina, I can appreciate the setting as well. My favorite character by far was Patrick's step-daughter, Tessa, who is intelligent and sassy and was the most real for me. ...more
Apr 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I read this book (actually on audiobook) for the first time about four years ago, quickly followed by The Rook. While I was reading other things, the rest of the series has steadily been coming out but I haven't gotten around to reading them yet. When I decided I wanted to finish the series, I had to go back and make sure I remembered what had happened up to the point I stopped. I didn't! This book was just as gripping as ever, and I thoroughly enjoyed it as much as I did the first time. I can s ...more
Sep 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
The opening chapter resembles Romeo & Juliet. Two young teens are about to take their own lives because "It's a cruel world" and they believe "our love with unite us forever". It's very easy for Aaron to convince his girlfriend, Jessie, that it's necessary they take their own lives. Jessie is head over heels in love but ignorant to the fact that Aaron doesn't even know if he has feelings for her. Little does she know that he has no intention of taking his own life.

Now Patrick Bow
Jun 01, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: owned, read-in-2012
I hated this book. Not because it was poorly written - but because it was very disturbing. It wasn't the type of book I normally read, so perhaps it was all the more shocking. Descriptions of a serial killer's thoughts and deeds weren't overly gory but the actions were so awful that I felt sick. Not sure why I kept reading other than the book was published by a Christian publisher so I was looking for some redeeming value. That was hard to find. I found myself getting awfully depressed reading t ...more
Jan 12, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: trash
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Steven James is a national bestselling novelist whose award-winning, pulse-pounding thrillers continue to gain wide critical acclaim and a growing fan base.

His latest novel, SYNAPSE, a near-future thriller, is set to release on October 8, 2019.

Suspense Magazine, who named Steven’s book EVERY WICKED MAN one of their “Best Books of 2018,” says that he “sets the new standard in suspense

Other books in the series

The Patrick Bowers Files (7 books)
  • The Rook (The Patrick Bowers Files, #2)
  • The Knight (The Patrick Bowers Files, #3)
  • The Bishop (The Patrick Bowers Files, #4)
  • The Queen (Patrick Bowers Files, #5)
  • The King (Patrick Bowers Files, #6)
  • Checkmate (Patrick Bowers, #7)
“Plastic people flashing fake smiles at a pretend world.” 19 likes
“None of us can know what it's like for someone else. It's what makes us individuals. We each have our own pain, our own mistakes. But we can reach out toward each other, help each other. That's what makes us human.” 3 likes
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