Every Deadly Kiss #bookreview @readstevenjames

  • Title: Every Deadly KissEvery Deadly Kiss (The Bowers Files) by [James, Steven]
  • Print Length: 575 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley
  • Publication Date: July 4, 2017
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Formats: Kindle, Paperback
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Crime

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I love this author, and I love the Patrick Bowers series. It’s been a few years since I randomly picked up the second book of The Bowers Files, and ever since then, I anxiously await for more writings from Steven James. Especially when Patrick Bowers is the star of the hour.

Every Deadly Kiss is the second prequel to the series. First, a quick back story for those of you mystery fans who shamefully have not picked up James’ books. We first meet FBI Special Agent Patrick Bowers in The Pawn, followed by The Rook, The Bishop, The King, The Queen, and Checkmate. He’s a widower who is learning to battle the dangers of his work along with raising his late wife’s teen daughter, Tessa Ellis. It’s rarely easy for someone in law enforcement to raise their own child by themselves, but Tessa isn’t his daughter, but his stepdaughter of only a few months. In the end of the first prequel, we briefly meet Christy Ellis, who Pat will one day marry. Now in Every Deadly Kiss, we get to actually meet her, which is exciting. To me, anyway.

I loved all aspects of this book: the mystery, the relationship between Pat and the Ellis women, and the fact that a former love of Pat’s, FBI Agent Sharyn Weist, requests his assistance, which eventually causes a rip in his love life.

Steven James is definitely a natural storyteller (and he knows it!). The way he weaves the action, the tension, even light comedy, to form his stories is the way I hope readers view my writing. It’s taut and you can almost, almost, smell the blood or feel the abandoned building with your fingertips. It truly is rare that I can get that much into reading a book. Every Deadly Kiss isn’t my favorite in the series, but James does not disappoint. Several times I feel my heart beating out of my chest. A few times I laughed, especially when it’s bantering time with Pat and his best friend/sidekick, Agent Ralph Hawkins, who just might be my favorite character (sorry, Agent Bowers, I still love you too). The thing I like most about the prequels is that we still get to hear from Ralph. In Checkmate, he’s moving on to bigger and better things and I got the sad feeling that if there were more books, any appearances of Ralph would be more of a walk on. Thank goodness for these prequels!

I highly recommend this to anyone that enjoys a good mystery. For some, it may take a bit getting used to because, in this series, it’s written in first and third person. It did confuse me when I first began to read The Rook several years ago. However, the storytelling is so crisp and well written, it didn’t take long for me to get used to the difference in POVs.

I hope we’ll get plenty more of Patrick Bowers (and Ralph) soon!

Overall Rate: 5 out of 5 stars

*For more book reviews, click here.*

*If you would like to get inside the head of the author, I was lucky enough to get him to answer a few of my questions. Click here to read the interview!*

Biography

Steven James

Steven James is a national bestselling novelist whose award-winning, pulse-pounding thrillers continue to gain wide critical acclaim and a growing fan base.

Suspense Magazine, who named Steven’s book THE BISHOP their Book of the Year, says that he “sets the new standard in suspense writing.” Publishers Weekly calls him a “master storyteller at the peak of his game.” And RT Book Reviews promises, “the nail-biting suspense will rivet you.”

Equipped with a unique Master’s Degree in Storytelling, Steven has taught writing and storytelling on four continents over the past two decades, speaking more than two thousand times at events spanning the globe.

Steven’s groundbreaking book on the art of fiction writing, STORY TRUMPS STRUCTURE, won a Storytelling World award. Widely-recognized for his story crafting expertise, he has twice served as a Master CraftFest instructor at ThrillerFest, North America’s premier training event for suspense writers.

Respected by some of the top thriller writers in the world, Steven deftly weaves intense stories of psychological suspense with deep philosophical insights. As critically-acclaimed novelist Ann Tatlock put it, “Steven James gives us a captivating look at the fine line between good and evil in the human heart.”

After consulting with a former undercover FBI agent and doing extensive research on cybercrimes, Steven wrote his latest thriller, EVERY DEADLY KISS—a taut, twist-filled page turner that is available now wherever books are sold.

If you’ve never met environmental criminologist and geospatial investigator Patrick Bowers, EVERY DEADLY KISS is the perfect chance to dive into the series and find out what fans and critics everywhere are raving about.

Interview with Steven James @readstevenjames

stevenjames-netI had the honor of interviewing national bestselling author, Steven James. He is known as the “master of storytelling,” and for a very good reason. Ever since I happened upon The Rook, book two of his Patrick Bowers Files, he’s been my favorite author.

I’d like to thank Mr. James from the bottom of my heart for taking his time out of his busy schedule to answer my questions.

*Originally posted on the other blog I’m affiliated with, Lit World Interviews*

1) What did you enjoy most about writing Curse?
In Curse, several new characters are introduced into the series. For me, since I don’t outline my books, it’s always exciting to see who shows up on the page and what they’re like. In this book, maybe my favorite character ended up being a girl who was blind. I consulted with a girl who’d been born blind, asking her what her nightmares are like since she has never seen anything. That journey and what I ended up including in the book was fascinating to me.

2) What do you like to read in your free time?
Even though I like to write thrillers, I tend to read more literary fiction, philosophy, and poetry, as well as books on the craft of writing. I still love suspenseful and scary stories, but lately I’ve tended to watch these in film instead of read them in books.

3) What are your hobbies?
I live near the Appalachian mountains, and so I love to get out to trail run or even play disc golf. Besides eating Cheetos, drinking coffee, and binge-watching on weekends, I like to play basketball with my friends and moonlighting writing poetry that will probably never end up in print.

4) Do you have a ritual you use while writing? (During commercials, certain music, etc)
I almost always write standing up. I tend to listen to trance or EDM. I do best working in long stretches, rather than working at a project here and there throughout the day. Give me ten hours in a row over 5 hours spread out throughout the day and I’ll be happy.

5) What is your writing space like?
My basement.

6) Do you have a favorite book you’ve written?
As far as novels, I think my favorite might be The Rook or Checkmate. I also wrote some inspirational nonfiction books, and I believe my favorite of those is called Story: Recapture the Mystery.

7) Where do you get your inspiration?
From everything. I’m always thinking of ideas, jotting down thoughts of dialogue on scraps of paper, receipts, notebooks. Typically at the end of the day, I have far too many ideas to write the next day, and it sort of keeps cascading like that. I keep thinking someday I’ll catch up, but at this rate, that won’t happen for another two or three hundred years.

https://i1.wp.com/breatheconference.com/home/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Steven-James.jpgBiography

Steven James is a national bestselling novelist whose award-winning, pulse-pounding thrillers continue to gain wide critical acclaim and a growing fan base.

Suspense Magazine, who named Steven’s book THE BISHOP their Book of the Year, says that he “sets the new standard in suspense writing.” Publishers Weekly calls him a “master storyteller at the peak of his game.” And RT Book Reviews promises, “the nail-biting suspense will rivet you.”

Equipped with a unique Master’s Degree in Storytelling, Steven has taught writing and storytelling on four continents over the past two decades, speaking more than two thousand times at events spanning the globe.

Steven’s groundbreaking book on the art of fiction writing, STORY TRUMPS STRUCTURE, won a Storytelling World award. Widely-recognized for his story crafting expertise, he has twice served as a Master CraftFest instructor at ThrillerFest, North America’s premier training event for suspense writers.

Respected by some of the top thriller writers in the world, Steven deftly weaves intense stories of psychological suspense with deep philosophical insights. As critically-acclaimed novelist Ann Tatlock put it, “Steven James gives us a captivating look at the fine line between good and evil in the human heart.”

After consulting with a former undercover FBI agent and doing extensive research on cybercrimes, Steven wrote his latest thriller, EVERY CROOKED PATH—a taut, twist-filled page turner that is available now wherever books are sold.

If you’ve never met environmental criminologist and geospatial investigator Patrick Bowers, EVERY CROOKED PATH is the perfect chance to dive into the series and find out what fans and critics everywhere are raving about.

 

Curse #BookReview @readstevenjames

  • Title: Curse
  • File Size: 2355 KB
  • Print Length: 492 pages
  • Publisher: Skyscape
  • Publication Date: May 24, 2016
  • Sold by:Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B017TVZO5S
  • Formats:  Kindle, Paperback, Audible, Audio CD
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Young adult

From the Author

When I started Curse, I had no idea it would be as intricate and complex as it became. The story developed in a way that introduced more fascinating characters who each had their own unique storyline to develop.

Watching this occur, and seeing where each character’s special interests and skills led them, deeply intrigued me and helped carry me through some of the most intense editing months of my life.

As I mention in the author biography at the end of Curse, I have never owned a turtle named Snookums or a basketball named Alfie (you’ll have to read the story to fully appreciate that). But while researching the book, I did see the synchronous fireflies. And they are quite remarkable.

Review

The Blur trilogy (Blur, Fury, and Curse) is James’ first young adult series. It is the story of Daniel Byers who has had what doctors think are hallucinations, but in truth, the dead are trying to tell him how to solve the crimes. In Curse, Daniel begins preparing to attend a basketball camp when the terrifying blurs return to haunt him. As he tries to figure out the meaning behind his most recent blurs, Daniel finds himself teamed up with two other teens that are just as extraordinary. They race against time in order to save a young woman who was abducted by a scientist with distorted views of justice.

James’ degree is known as a master storyteller, and let me tell you something:  it is no joke. The thing I love most about any of his work is that he has a way of making you feel as though you are a part of the story. Curse was no different. The images given of Daniel’s blurs were so vivid and real, it was as though I was watching it happen.

Curse was written in first-person view and in the present tense (when we’re seeing Daniel’s perspective), and also in third person view for the other characters’ perspectives. The first two novels of the series were written all in third person, so when I began reading Daniel’s point-of-view, I was thrown off track for a second, but thankfully I got used to it quickly enough.

As always, I enjoyed the roller coaster ride of twists and turns, and I had no clue how it would end. With this particular story, I was quite mad at myself that I didn’t figure it out, but proud that James managed to trick me, so to speak.

Curse was very fast-paced. I ended up loving the finality of this trilogy. James has been my favorite author ever since I picked up The Rook, book two of his Patrick Bowers FBI series. I fell in love with his writing, and will buy every book that he writes. I recommend him to friends, and I anxiously wait for a new novel to be produced. Although Curse is marketed as “young adult,” anyone would enjoy it. I highly recommend this trilogy, as well as every other novel he printed.

Overall Rate: 5 out of 5 stars

Biography

Steven James

Steven James is a national bestselling novelist whose award-winning, pulse-pounding thrillers continue to gain wide critical acclaim and a growing fan base.

Suspense Magazine, who named Steven’s book THE BISHOP their Book of the Year, says that he “sets the new standard in suspense writing.” Publishers Weekly calls him a “master storyteller at the peak of his game.” And RT Book Reviews promises, “the nail-biting suspense will rivet you.”

Equipped with a unique Master’s Degree in Storytelling, Steven has taught writing and storytelling on four continents over the past two decades, speaking more than two thousand times at events spanning the globe.

Steven’s groundbreaking book on the art of fiction writing, STORY TRUMPS STRUCTURE, won a Storytelling World award. Widely-recognized for his story crafting expertise, he has twice served as a Master CraftFest instructor at ThrillerFest, North America’s premier training event for suspense writers.

Respected by some of the top thriller writers in the world, Steven deftly weaves intense stories of psychological suspense with deep philosophical insights. As critically-acclaimed novelist Ann Tatlock put it, “Steven James gives us a captivating look at the fine line between good and evil in the human heart.”

After consulting with a former undercover FBI agent and doing extensive research on cybercrimes, Steven wrote his latest thriller, EVERY CROOKED PATH—a taut, twist-filled page turner that is available now wherever books are sold.

If you’ve never met environmental criminologist and geospatial investigator Patrick Bowers, EVERY CROOKED PATH is the perfect chance to dive into the series and find out what fans and critics everywhere are raving about.

“Blur” Book Blitz

Book & Author Details:Curse
Curse by Steven James
(Blur Trilogy #3)
Published by: Skyscape
Publication date: May 24th 2016
Genres: Thriller, Young Adult
 

Synopsis:
Don’t miss this intriguing and climactic conclusion to the Blur Trilogy.
As Daniel Byers prepares to attend a basketball camp before his senior year of high school, the terrifying blurs that’ve plagued him for the last nine months return.Dark images begin to haunt him—creatures crawling from the deepest pits of his nightmares, glimmers of chilling memories from his early childhood. But before he can unearth the meaning behind his mysterious hallucinations, Daniel must team up with two other extraordinary teens to save a young woman who has been abducted by a scientist obsessed with enacting his own warped form of justice.This atmospheric mystery picks up where Fury left off and takes readers into the uncharted regions where reality and madness intertwine.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28230959-curse?from_new_nav=true&ac=1&from_search=true

Purchase:

 
Enter for a chance to win a copy of “Blur”
https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d04251231236/

Read below for an Excerpt:
 
CHAPTER ONE

FRIDAY, JUNE 7

COUNTY HIGHWAY G

5 MILES OUTSIDE OF BELDON, WISCONSIN

Dusk.
The forest, thick on each side of the road, lies caught in the deep shadows of the coming night. Lake Algonquin sits nestled among them.

A net of darkness settles across the woods.

Though I’m driving, there’s no traffic and I’m alone in the car, so I sneak a quick glance at my phone.

No texts from Kyle.

His house is exactly eight miles from the corner up ahead, so at this speed I’ll be there in just under twelve minutes and forty seconds.

I don’t even have to consciously think about it. Math comes naturally to me. Sometimes it’s helpful. Sometimes it’s just annoying.

We’re going to spend some time planning for our upcoming trip to Georgia next Saturday.

In my headlights, I glimpse movement ahead of me on the right side of the road and I brake.

Two skittish whitetail deer stare at the car, then bound in front me. I wait for them to clear, make sure there aren’t any more coming, then pull forward.

Two weeks ago when I received the invitation to the basketball camp in Atlanta, I was surprised. I’d had a good season, but it’s an elite camp and usually fills up early, so just getting an invite was a big deal. But since it was half- way across the country, getting there was going to be a challenge.

Because of their work schedules, neither of my parents could take me.

Apparently, there was some anonymous donor who gave money to cover the tuition and travel costs of students from out of state to help assure “diversity.”

At first we weren’t sure if the camp scholarship was legit, but everything cleared, my coach told me it wasn’t breaking any college recruitment rules, and I sent in my registration. But there was still the issue of getting down there.

The camp is at Northern Georgia Tech, a private university just outside of Atlanta.

Not a short trip from Beldon, Wisconsin.
Right around eighteen hours, actually.
Then Kyle’s girlfriend, Mia, mentioned that she had an aunt in Atlanta whose house wasn’t too far from the cam- pus and it got us thinking.

Dad told us his college roommate lived half an hour south of Champaign, Illinois, which is about halfway down there. After he brought that up, things came together quickly. Kyle, Mia, and Nicole, the girl I was dating, would go down with me.

All of us are rising seniors, getting ready for our last year of high school. Three of us are seventeen, but Mia is eighteen and that helped our case.

Her aunt could show everyone else around Atlanta while I was at the camp. Just the right amount of freedom for us and the right amount of supervision for our parents.

Ground rules: Check in every day. No drinking. No drugs. Nothing stupid.

The first three, no problem.
That last one might take a little more work.
Now, as I come around a curve that follows the shore-line of the lake, I catch sight of some movement again, about a hundred feet away.

I slow to a stop.
 But this time it’s not a deer. 
A little boy emerges from the woods. He’s maybe five or six years old and seems distracted as he wanders to the middle of the county highway.

He stops at the centerline.

I wait to see if his mom or someone will follow after him, but after a moment it’s clear that he’s alone.

I let the car idle, then, stepping out, I call to him, “Hey, are you okay?”

The summer day has cooled off. There’s a slight chill in the air.

Crickets chatter in the shadows.

After a quick glance toward the forest, the boy faces me. Pale complexion—even in the dim light I can make that much out. He reaches one hand toward me as if he some- how wants me to hold it from this distance, but he doesn’t leave the road.

Beyond him, around the bend, headlights cut through the darkening day and the rumble of a logging truck rolls toward us from the direction of the sawmill.

I start the boy’s way. “You need to get off the road.” He doesn’t move.
 As I get nearer, although I can’t place him, I have the sense that I’ve seen him before. “Hurry!”

Nothing. 
The truck doesn’t slow. 
Now I’m running. 
Its headlights come sharply into view, glaring toward me, backlighting the boy.
 As it barrels toward us, I yell again for him to move. His back is still turned to the logging truck as he stands completely still with that one arm held out to me.

“Hey!” I gesture wildly. “Get off the road!” He stays there, but lifts the other arm. 
Both hands outstretched now. 
He wants you to help him.

He needs you to save him.

I bolt as fast as I can toward the oncoming truck to sweep the boy into my arms and get him to safety.

My mind is calculating speed, distance. Math. 
Second nature.
 There isn’t time to get there and save him. Yes there is. There has to be.

Go!

I do.

The driver blares his horn and slams on the brakes, but he’s going too fast and there’s no way he’ll be able to stop in time. The sharp smell of burning rubber fills the air. As the cab begins to slow, the truck bed, which is loaded with logs, starts sliding sideways along the road.

When I’m just a few strides away from the boy, he finally looks over his shoulder at the truck.

I throw out an arm to pick him up, but my hand passes through empty air.

I spin to see how I could’ve missed him, and my back is to the truck as it clips my left side and launches me into the air toward the ditch.

Time somehow slows and slurs around me while I’m in midair. The night becomes liquid and I’m aware of the cool evening air brushing against my face, of the rich scent of pine trees surrounding the road, of the sound of the wailing brakes. The glaring sweep of the headlights. The rocky ground beneath me. Coming closer.

Time collapses. Rips forward.

Impact.

I careen down the embankment, rolling toward the lake until I smash into a tree and come to an abrupt stop about fifteen feet from the road.

Breathe, breathe, breathe.
You’re okay. You’re going to be okay.
 It should hurt. It will hurt, but right now adrenaline is blocking the pain—during all my years of playing football I’ve taken my share of hits. I know how this works.

But right now, I don’t care about any of that.
 All I can think of is the boy. 
You didn’t get to him. You missed him. He’s gone.
 My left arm hangs loose and useless from a dislocated shoulder. 
It’s happened to me before in football and every time it does, seeing it like that is pretty shocking, but the pain hasn’t quite registered yet.

I get to my feet and scramble up the bank toward the pavement.

The logging truck has skidded past me and finally come to a stop. One of the straps holding the logs in place must have snapped because the logs have spilled sideways off the bed and are strewn across the road, blocking it.

Terrified of what I might see, I scan the pavement, but can’t find the boy. No blood. No sign of a body. I gaze into the ditch I landed in. It’s shrouded in lengthening shadows, but from where I’m standing I can’t see the boy—or what might have been left of him if he was hit by that truck.

My ankle got wrenched when I landed and as I take a wobbly step forward to study the other side of the road, it buckles. I collapse and the driver of the logging truck comes hurrying toward me.

“You okay?” he shouts.

Using only one arm, it’s tough to push myself to my feet again, but I manage. “Did you hit him?”

“Who?”

“The boy. The little boy.”

“What boy?” He stares at me dumbfounded. A mixture of confusion and fear. “We’re the only ones out here. You came running at my truck. What happened to your arm?”

“No, no, no. The boy who was in the road.”

“Listen, I’m telling you, there wasn’t anyone else. Just you. What’d you think you were doing?” He offers a hand to steady me. “You could’ve been killed. Are you okay?”

I take a step, but lose my balance again and barely catch myself from falling by grabbing his arm.

“We need to get you to a hospital. Is your shoulder . . . ?”

“Dislocated. I’m okay.”

“You shouldn’t be walking around.”

“We have to find the boy.”

The pain is finally tightening around me. I gaze at that left arm. By the awkward angle, anyone could see that things aren’t right. The last time this happened the physical therapist told me it might sublux again.

So. 
His prediction came true.

Either I get it back in place myself or I wait for a doctor to do it—and it’s going to hurt just as much then. And in the meantime the tissue will continue to swell, so it’ll only get harder to pop back into place if I wait.

“Help me,” I say to the driver. “I need to get to your truck.”

He tells me once more that I shouldn’t be walking around, but when I start limping forward, he joins me, supporting my good arm. We arrive at the flatbed and I wedge my left wrist into a gap between the boards on the back.

Okay, this is really not going to feel good. The man gasps. “What are you doing?” “Traction. I have to get . . .”
 I clench my teeth and lean backward.

A sharp explosion of pain.
I almost collapse.
But, I didn’t go back far enough. The shoulder remains out of its socket.

Relax. You need to relax the muscles. It’s the only way it’ll go back in place.

“Give me a sec.” I take a deep breath, close my eyes, ready myself, and pull back again, harder. I twist slightly and finally, after what seems like the longest three seconds of my life, the shoulder grinds as it slides back into place. There’s a shot of relief but, at the same time, a wave of a heavier, duller kind of pain.

The driver’s face blanches. “Did you just . . . ?”

“Yeah.”

I use my right hand to support the weak arm and to keep it from swinging. Based on how things went the last time this happened, it’s going to be sore for a couple weeks at least.

“You might have internal injuries.” The man produces a cell phone and punches in 911. “You should lie down until help gets here.”
“We need to find the boy.”

Finally, he gives in. “Listen. I’ll look for him. But you, rest.”

When dispatch picks up, I say to the driver, “Tell them I’m Daniel Byers. They’ll know who I am.”

“They will?”

“Yeah. My dad’s the sheriff.”

 Steven
AUTHOR BIO:

Best known for his high-octane thrillers, Steven James is the award-winning author of eleven suspense novels. The Blur Trilogy is his first mystery series for teens. Steven has taught creative writing around the world and loves rock climbing, science fiction movies, and chicken fajitas. Find him at www.stevenjames.net.

Author links:

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