The Rook is actually the third book in the Patrick Bowers series (Opening Moves being Book 1 & The Pawn being Book 2), although it was written second. Opening Moves, like Star Wars 1, 2 & 3 came after most of the Patrick Bowers series was written. Only the last book in the series, Checkmate, is yet to be released (although I hear it will be soon as of the time of this review).
I read The Pawn, then went back and read Opening Moves because I wanted the back story of the main protagonist before I went any further. The first two books in my opinion were great. Very “Criminal Minds”-like in many ways. James’ “tradition” is to have two story lines run concurrent (three if you add the daughter into the mix) that weave themselves together at times. It’s an interesting concept to have two “bad guys” who sometimes work together, sometimes one works for the other, sometimes both. And sometimes, it’s hard to tell which bad guy is the real villain, which adds to the suspense.
However, I felt The Rook, as one reviewer put it, tried to force too much into one book. I flew through the first two books. This one, I labored with it. It really didn’t pick up speed for me until around page 130. I thought, “Okay, here we go now,” expecting the story to take on a “pawnish” form. Instead, the story raced ahead, then slowed down to a snail’s pace, then sped up again, then slowed, but not in a roller coaster-type fashion. It was more like drag racing from stop light to stop light at rush hour.
I do intend to read the next installment, The Knight, and understand it to be more on par with the first two books. I sure hope so. James is a great writer, but this one was not up to his lofty standards.
On my scale (see below), I rate this 3.5-stars. I think you’ll like it, regardless of genre, but don’t judge a series by its Book 2 (eh, Book 3). Read the first two first, then you’ll understand what I’m talking about. I also rate it PG-13 for violence and subject matter.
My Scale:5 stars – It doesn’t matter what genre you read, this book is a must read! It’s all about “story.” You won’t regret it.
4 stars – This may not be your genre, per se, but I feel confident you’ll enjoy it, nevertheless.
3 stars – This book will be a good read if this genre is one you really like. If it is not “your genre,” then your final thoughts may vary, but I don’t disparage it in any way.
2 stars – This book had potential, but fell short, in my humble opinion. Genre or no, it was all about the writing and the story, or the lack thereof.
1 star – If you buy it, read it, and spend any of your time on it, do not blame me. You were forewarned.