Friday, August 23, 2013
Steven James' first thriller, 'Pawn,' (432 pages) depicts a chess match of epic proportions between a psychotic killer, known as the Yellow Ribbon Strangler (who calls himself the Illusionist) and the protagonist, Patrick Bowers. He investigates serial killers from a geographical angle, searching for commonalities. Some things just don't add up, and it's because a copycat threw a few murders in the mix to hide his own crimes.
The good guys locate each victim with a chess piece (guess which one) and a trinket from the killer's next intended victim. This ties in the chess angle, as the perp left the trinket as a chess analogy. In chess, if you touch another player's piece, you must take it on your next move or lose the game, a very bold and risky move. I never knew that move existed in chess.
James' story moves well and keeps the reader in the story until the climactic finish. However, he sets the table for a sequel ('Rook'). How he did that took me out of the story, but for a first novel, I say, 'Check.'
James went on to write 'Rook,' 'Knight,' 'The Bishop,' 'Queen' and 'The King.' I find it intriguing that some titles contain 'The' and others don't.
The book reads well, and I suggest you check it out. Get it? Check? Sorry.