Every Deadly Kiss
The Bowers Files: The New York Years, Book #2
By Steven James
Author’s website: www.stevenjames.net
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer: Jeanie
FBI special agent Patrick Bowers grapples with a baffling series of murders in Detroit—and discovers a terror plot with roots that stretch back centuries.
Called in by an ex-girlfriend to consult on a case, Patrick encounters the work of a killer who displays a stunning degree of ruthlessness. Bowers is shocked to find that the slayings are linked not just to his own history with a known terrorist, but to his former lover as well—and that her secret past might hold the key to stopping the crime spree. As layers of intrigue peel away, the city is pushed ever closer to a seemingly unstoppable bioweapon attack.
Unnerving and laced with breathtaking suspense, Every Deadly Kiss is a surprising and complex thriller that will keep readers obsessed to the final page.
Wow! What a great read! This is the first novel I have read by this author, and it won’t be the last. Sometimes I am hesitant to open a book by a new author, especially one that is longer than average, and I was very pleasantly surprised. The author’s use of dialog, building suspense, and designing mostly likable characters, conducts the novel to a thunderous crescendo before returning to a pleasant, calming tempo.
There are many things going on in this novel, events the author introduces one by one so the reader doesn’t feel confused. He also does a great job of defining the characters and events from prior novels in the series so the new reader isn’t floundering. Patrick Bowers is a special type profiler, so to speak, for the FBI, an environmental criminologist and lead geospatial investigator. Very simplified, it means based on where, when, and the progression of crimes that have been committed by a serial offender, he can make assumptions to have an idea where the serial criminal will strike next.
Patrick has been requested to consult in the Detroit field office by Sharyn, a woman he had dated while in the Academy, eight years earlier. He has not seen her since then, although he has kind of followed where she has gone over the years. There is a particularly brutal killer in Detroit with a unique signature, and they want to catch the bad guy/ gal before they strike again.
There is what seems to be a totally unrelated case opening at the same time. A terrorist is coming in with a mutated form of a deadly disease for which there is no cure, and most who contract it die as a result. They learn about this when a video is captured through the various web sources that shows a woman who works for the NYC office dying a terrible death over the span of a few days. Thankfully, he is partnered with friend and colleague, Ralph. Trying to work two major, different crimes is hard enough, but knowing that not only is a former colleague turned terrorist involved, but the murders are linked to the Special Agent, Sharyn, ups the ante.
The layers of the crimes in this novel can only be pulled off by a master author. It is mesmerizing; this reader was pulled in from the beginning with my attention held throughout. It is not the kind of novel that one reads in one or two sittings, one can see how the cases are built, person by occurrence by clue. The author includes the human element, with Patrick’s girlfriend and daughter in NYC and the differences they are trying to work out when Sharyn requests Patrick’s help in Detroit.
The characters are defined throughout the novel. There are a limited number of characters who we learn about through their actions, dialog, and descriptions. As we learn about the bad guys, we learn about them as individuals with whom we can have empathy with regards to their circumstances. The protagonists are hard-working law enforcement people and their loved ones, and seeing a bit of their personal lives shows us their individuality behind the badges. I do like Patrick Bowers, as well as his girlfriend Christie and her daughter Tessa.
This novel moves along at a steady pace, allowing this reader to eagerly turn the pages even while understanding what is occurring at any given time. There are interesting plot twists, and breathtaking, suspenseful scenes. I was very satisfied with the resolution, especially as there are no open challenges. One thing I appreciate is reading a thriller of this caliber that is an almost “clean” read insofar as language and sexual situations are concerned. The details of the crimes, while not shied away from, are not magnified; I can think of only one scene that was TMI (for me). I highly recommend this to those who appreciate excellent thrillers with international dimensions and characters that a reader can be invested in.