Review: The King

Aren’t there times when you need to be true to something bigger than yourself?

Five stars! I love Steven James. The King  is the seventh book in the FBI thriller series called The Bowers Files. If you’re interested, you need to start with either The Pawn or Opening Moves.

The Bowers Files follows one FBI detective, Patrick Bowers, who works specifically with serial killers and has developed a new way of tracking criminals known as geospatial investigation. Early on in the series, you learn about one killer that Bowers has put away called Richard Basque. He is a cannibalistic serial psycho who Bowers captured, but later in the series he is released due to an appeal of inconclusive evidence issues.

{**side note: I just realized while writing that that I would never have picked up a book that was about a cannibalistic serial psycho, but I promise that that is not the main story line of these books. It is an issue that is dealt with, not the main plot line.**}

Now Basque is out and he is coming after the people who matter most in Patrick Bower’s life: his step-daughter, Tessa, and his fiance, Lien-hua. Patrick is forced to act fast and think ahead if he is going to be able to protect his family and put Basque away again . . . for good.

But it’s not just that. Throughout the whole book, both Patrick and Tessa wrestle though some pretty big questions. Patrick wonders if there is any difference between himself and the heartless killer he is chasing, and Tessa wonders if there is any point in life, any hope for something more than the simple day-in-day-out lives we tend to lead.

Will they find their answers? Will they all make it to the end of the book?

Steven James writes incredible, page-turning crime thrillers. He is the one author that I will readily pre-order months in advance. I have been engrossed in his series since Jeremy first happened on the Pawn for free three years ago. I love James’ candidness and his willingness to include and address gory and harsh issues that really do exist in our world. For some, the books might contain too much violence to be comfortable, but James’ goal is to treat violence and sin the way it really is in our world, and ask difficult questions in light of those realities.

I think The King was my favorite book of the series, so far, because James finally started bringing light to some of the key questions that he has been asking throughout the series. Themes of a bigger story, something greater, and redemptive hope are woven throughout the dialogue of this story, and it’s clear that James is leading the readers from a dark hopeless present to an understanding of something bigger, something better. An eternal hope.

But if God is there and he really does care about his hurting, questioning race of dreamers and fools, then praying would matter—even if it didn’t happen on their time frame or in the ways they expected or wanted. After all, if we could understand God, then his wisdom would have to be equal to or smaller than ours, and that was logically impossible if he’s all-knowing and we aren’t. The very definition of God required that people would be unable to understand his ways.

James writes from a Christian worldview, and I love that I can read this book and not encounter anything objectionable, with the slight exception of violence. I would highly recommend this book, unless you have low tolerance for violent crime. I love the thoughts that James leaves us with at the end of this book:

I was reading Ecclesiastes lately. There’s a lot of stuff in there about how meaningless life is . . .  But it doesn’t end with everything being meaningless. The king who wrote it ended up saying that finding God brings meaning into every moment.

So, whether or not you pick up this book and read it, I would like to encourage you to be part of the bigger story. Realize that knowing God brings meaning to every moment. Choose to enjoy the moments you have and see the purpose of you being in them. Remember:

If all we do is follow our hearts, we will live small lives indeed.


Looking for something to read? Check out my suggestions on my reviews page!!

Have you read this book? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Do you have a book suggestion? Leave it in the comments below.

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