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Opening Moves by Steven James

Title:  Opening Moves 
Author:  Steven James                                                                                                                   
Pages:  483
Year:  2012
Publisher:   Signet Select                                                                             
                If you’ve never read Steven James before, this book should be the first.  He does a masterful job of building tension, maintaining suspense, and action.  This book is the beginning of his Patrick Bowers series, a prequel if you will.  I’ve read all of the other Patrick Bower books, which are great!  This one is no exception.
                For this story, the reader finds Patrick Bowers as a homicide detective in Milwaukee.  This is where he first meets his mentor Dr. Werjonic, one of his college professors.  Pat is pursuing a degree in criminology and law.  He also meets a man that will become one of his best friends, Ralph Hawkins, who works for the FBI.  Ralph has been called in to work on a current homicide case and partners with Pat.  After the case is over, is there a future for Pat as a homicide detective in Milwaukee?  Will the FBI become his new employer?
                There are two serial murder cases being investigated simultaneously.  Are they connected in any way?  The criminals are vicious, evil, and deadly.  Please be aware that the subject matter of how they commit their crimes is extremely grisly.  The evil these criminals perpetrate is unthinkable to the average person.  Pat has vowed to get the guilty person(s).   There are personal questions that occur during the course of his investigations as to the existence of heaven and hell.  He considers himself to be not very religious, but these questions keep coming up and begin to make him think.
                Patrick must face down his own struggle with his ability to commit criminal acts.  Not that he has committed any, but that he thinks it possible that he could.  He also must deal with his relationship with Taci, his girlfriend of one year.  They’ve talked about marriage, and they’ve said they love each other, so what is holding them back?  The crimes begin to escalate in severity, and begin to touch someone on the police force.  Someone has personal knowledge of police procedures and chain.  Is the criminal involved in law enforcement?  Can one of their own be committing these heinous acts?
                This is a page-turner that will be hard to put down.  Readers get to know Patrick from his first law enforcement job, and his beginning questions of faith.  His attention to detail, his methods of investigation, and his dedication will become his trademarks.  He is tenacious, but also caring.  He is not a hard-nosed cop, but no wilting daisy either.  He has strengths and failings just like the rest of us, but how he uses each to attain his goal is what is interesting.
                My rating is 5 stars.
Note:  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book.  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at .  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at

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