Every Crooked Path (Bowers) by Steven James


KK Conley Review

SJ Crooked Path

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This is the first Steven James novel I’ve read, and I look forward to reading his other books.

Every Crooked Path was difficult for James to write because he has children and the bad guys in this novel are pedophiles who find and groom their young victims online, and build networks on the Dark Web. I know this because he says so in his author’s note. He also says that this is what is happening in our country today, and I agree with him. James describes the crimes against the children through the reactions of investigating law enforcement. There are no graphic descriptions of the sexual abuse of the children, which is good, because otherwise I couldn’t have read this book.

The story opens when FBI agent Pat Bowers visits a murder scene to analyze the blood splatter and better understand how the victim was killed. It’s a little more involved than that, and he calls it “a study in microcosm of geospatial interactions.”

Bower’s partner is outside on a phone call when he enters the apartment. Open drawers and doors with contents thrown about indicate someone else searched the apartment before Bowers arrived, and he isn’t alone in the apartment. He’s attacked by a knife wielding man who asks him if he has Aurora’s Birthday. Bowers doesn’t know what this is, and he tells his attacker that he’s a federal agent. The man steps onto the apartment balcony and tosses the knife to the pavement twelve stories below. He talks about people who know things and will never stop, then eases over the balcony railing and follows the knife down to his death.

The murder victim had been caught in a sexual predator sting operation. He cut a deal to help law enforcement by infiltrating a pedophile group called Final Territory led by the Piper.

My minor criticism of the book is that the action slows a little in the first quarter because James writes exposition about Dark Web statistics and crimes against children. I think he’s right to have done this, and it is clear that he wrote this book from the heart.

It is a page turner with many twists and people who are not what they seem. It’s a great read and provides information about very real risks to our country’s children.

Booklist Online Review (not available)

Amazon Description and Rating

Who is the Piper? . . .

Special Agent Patrick Bowers returns in an electrifying prequel to the Bowers Chess series from critically acclaimed, national bestselling novelist Steven James.
 
A mysterious suicide and a series of abductions draw Patrick into a web of intrigue involving an international conspiracy where no one is who they appear to be and the stakes have never been higher.

Soon, Patrick discovers that the secret to stopping the Piper’s current crime spree lies in unlocking answers from an eight-year-old cold case—and the only way to do that is by entering the terrifying world of the conspirators himself.

Dark, probing, and chilling, Every Crooked Path takes an unflinching look at the world of today’s cybercrimes and delves into a parent’s worst nightmare as it launches a new chapter of Patrick Bowers thrillers.

More about Steven James: 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.

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.”

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.”

4.6 stars, <100 reviews

Goodreads Rating

4.5 stars, 100+ ratings

Author Website

A mysterious suicide and a series of abductions draw Patrick into a web of intrigue involving an international conspiracy where no one is who they appear to be and the stakes have never been higher.

Dark, probing, and chilling, Every Crooked Path takes an unflinching look at the world of today’s cybercrimes and delves into a parent’s worst nightmare as it launches a new chapter of Patrick Bowers thrillers.