The Pawn


When a survivor of the Jonestown massacre plans his revenge against the media for their portrayal of the cult he grew up in, Agent Bowers must stop him and a serial killer he has inspired.



This was my first novel. I’d been writing non-fiction books and wanted to write a mystery or suspense novel. So my publisher asked me to send in fifty pages. They offered me a three-book deal and the Bowers Files began.

I’d originally intended to write a story about a one-armed detective and a guy who snuck into cult compounds to free people for their family members. Neither of those storylines worked.

However, all of the research that I did on cults led me to the Jonestown storyline in The Pawn. While researching the book, I was able to interview one of the three people still alive who had survived the Jonestown massacre. The book is dedicated to his wife and his son, who both died on that tragic day.

People often tell me that the opening scene to this book is one of the most visceral and shocking scenes in all of the Bowers Files. The final twist only came to me after many months of working on the book.

If you love stories with a jaw-dropping twist, check this one out.


Christy Award Suspense Finalist


“In this riveting thriller . . . A gripping plot and brisk pacing will win James some fans eager for his next offering.”

—Publishers Weekly

“A killer plot—complex and riveting. There is nothing not to like.”

—The Suspense Zone

“An exceptional psychological thriller.”

—Bookshelf Reviews

“Steven James combines twenty-first-century, high-tech law enforcement techniques with eighteenth-century Sherlockian deduction.”

—Dr. Kim Rossmo, Center for Geospatial Intelligence and Investigation, Texas State University

“Steven James gives us a captivating look at the fine line between good and evil in the human heart.”

—Ann Tatlock, Christy Award-winning author

“A book that you want to stop reading so you don’t have nightmares, but one you don’t want to put down either.”

—Front Street Reviews

“Steven James writes at a break-neck pace, effortlessly pulling the reader along on this incredible thrill ride.”

—Armchair Interviews

“Thrilling and chilling with turbo boost pacing. The Pawn will hold lovers of suspense tightly in its grip until the very last page.”


“Seriously intense.”

—Pop Culture Tuesday

“An exhilarating thriller that will keep readers up late into the night…In a word, intense.”

—Mysterious Reviews

“John Sandford might have to start looking over his shoulder.”

—Crime Spree Magazine