"The Bishop" is a fast-paced forensic/detective suspense novel. This is the fourth book in the series. Though you can follow what's going on without reading the others first, you'll probably understand it better if you start with the first novel, "The Pawn." Also, reading this novel spoils the "who-done-it" mystery in several previous novels, so you'll want to read the others first if you plan to at all.
The novel had a somewhat bleak tone. Several of the "killed by violence" bodies were described in more graphic/gory terms than in his previous novels--though, oddly, I found these descriptions less chilling. The ones were he left most of the details to my imagination were more chilling. Also, this was the first novel in this series that I've correctly guessed "who-done-it" before the big revel. Part of the reason I liked his previous novels so much was because he's one of the few authors who can fool me on a mystery anymore, so I was a little disappointed by that.
The world-building was excellent, with the details about forensics, the case, and the city bringing the novel alive in my imagination. All of the aspects of the novel seemed very well researched. The tension was high throughout most of the story (with a few slight lulls). The suspense was created by the race to save a victim before she's killed, the potential physical danger to the main characters, and the relational tensions.
The characters were interesting, complex, and dealt with realistic issues outside of the case (like how to relate to a biological father or potentially losing a daughter in a custody battle). The author portrayed the main women in this novel as smart, competent, respected, and not trying to be men. As a woman, I liked that.
There was a minor, ongoing "what makes human's moral" discussion among the characters in relation to the case. The Christian view was vaguely presented. More detail was spent on scientific study promoting a "humans are animals, there is no god" viewpoint, though only a few minor characters seemed to wholeheartedly support that view.
There was no explicit sex or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this novel as well-written and exciting clean reading.
I received this novel as a review copy from the publisher.
I am a HUGE Steven James fan. When I picked up his first book, THE PAWN, I could not put it down. It was literally one of the best suspense/thriller books I have ever read in my life. Seriously, he knows how to write and grab a reader. This may be due to him having a master's degree in storytelling (something all writers would definitely benefit from) and how he knows the craft of keeping a reader's attention. This book is a huge psychological ride. If you have read the other … more
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