Every Wicked Man
The Bowers Files: The New York Years #3
By Steven James
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Jeanie
A criminal mastermind’s chilling terrorist plot forces FBI Special Agent Patrick Bowers to the brink in the latest thriller from bestselling novelist Steven James.
When a senator’s son takes his own life and posts the video live online, Agent Bowers is drawn into a complex web of lies that begins to threaten the people he loves the most. As he races to unravel the mystery behind the suicide and a centuries-old code that might help shed light on the case, he finds a dark pathway laced with twists and deadly secrets that touch a little too close to home.
A fast-paced, intelligent thriller, Every Wicked Man will have readers racing through the pages to its thundering conclusion. (From Goodreads)
This gripping, complex mystery is a compelling read as we follow Patrick Bowers with his current cases as well as his new bride and stepdaughter. Bowers has been an FBI special agent for several years, currently based in New York City. He and Christie have been married only a few short weeks, and he and stepdaughter Tessa, 16 and brilliant, are building a relationship. Without an explanation, Christie went away for a weekend-long silent retreat at a monastery in Kentucky. Christie has just received news that will affect this new family for many years to come.
Patrick has been sent on a special case, the suicide of a senator’s son who had been a college student living at his dad’s. Jon Murray had not only set up his phone to video most of his suicide, but the “event” had also been live-streamed online. Patrick goes to see Senator Murray, a friend of Assistant Director DeYoung, to look for anything that seemed “off”. Jon had not been a troubled, but rather a vibrant young man. If live-streaming his suicide isn’t terrible enough, it looks like there is a shadow of a person’s reflection from a window of the condo, watching Jon end his life. A new party drug is found in Jon’s system. Patrick learns there have been similar suicides in other states, also live-streamed online.
At Jon’s memorial service, Patrick sees a woman run away and gives chase. She doesn’t respond, even when he says he is with the FBI, and runs into the road. A surprised driver loses control and his car rolls down an embankment. Jon can’t get the driver out even as gas spills from the fuel tank. Out of nowhere comes a huge man, Mannie, bodyguard to Blake, both on the top ten wanted list. Mannie helps get the driver out just before the car explodes, Even though his charges could put him away for a long time, he couldn’t hide when a life was at stake.
Mannie does not reveal where Blake is. His huge size and enormous strength work to his benefit when he is ready to break out, pulling out the chains holding cuffed hands to the table and escaping FBI offices. Blake is into huge-dollar drug dealing, and not just any drugs. He is working on a lethal combination to be released in a few days. It is up to the FBI to find him and learn the ingenious way they are transported.
In another part of town is Timothy, best-selling author of thrillers. He does what he can to keep the pieces together since being in that awful hospital. He thinks he has Morgellon’s, with one of the symptoms being the feel of bugs crawling under his skin. He hears inner voices conversing, which isn’t be too unusual for someone with his family background. He fears that he may have killed some young women he knew who disappeared and wants to find out if he did hurt them.
With the exception of Patrick and his family, we are shown only what is needed about each character for each scene. We see enough about Bowers to have empathy for him and appreciate his thought processes regarding his cases. Christie and Tessa, also, are people with whom empathy can be had as each are going through many changes. Christie’s visits with Patrick’s mentor give her insight that the monastery did not. Her faith struggles and questions are very real, even to people not in her situation, and there are words of wisdom to be appreciated. I found that, for myself personally, the philosophies Patrick mulls over in early chapters to bring little wisdom or hope.
By the time all of these situations either balloon or converge into Special Agent Bower’s day, the links he has been looking for between the cases become visible but solutions few. As there is no talk of him being an athletic guy, I was quite surprised at some of the actions he accomplished. I was also surprised at, what I would assume is a trait inherent in FBI agents, how he could compartmentalize his concerns of imminent danger to his family and proceed with the challenges at hand. The author is very creative when detailing the crimes with each case, such as the unique use of the silent ladies. There are incredible plot twists bringing threats to Bowers’ new family members and to those in the Bureau. Discovering the identity of one of the bad guys was shocking. The author is a master at increasing suspense as he raises the heat on each situation simultaneously until this reader found it impossible to stop reading. There are surprises to be had, both good and not so good, and all loose ends are tied up. Honestly, I didn’t like parts of the end, but that is only my opinion, and doesn’t take away from how incredibly well-written and exciting this thriller is. I highly recommend it to fans of Patrick Bowers and of heart-racing thrillers.