Closed the Cover through December 6. International terrorism is at the center of the plot and draws on the experiences of the author as a retired U.S. Air Force veteran.
What happens when North Korea, China, and Iran conspire to attack the United States? The answer is an intricately woven story full of rich details and research, and (for the most part) high developed, believable characters. I won't give away much in this review because so many details are so tied into one another that it would risk giving away important plot elements. Simply put, Checkmate must be read to appreciated. A synopsis does not do justice to the time and effort obviously made by Mr. Patrick to make the story as realistic as possible. When the original conspiracy is put forth in a meeting at the Grand Hyatt Taipei in Taiwan, readers can easily become skeptical as to how
a plan that seems to be so far-fetched could have a chance of being put into motion and actually being successful against the world's greatest superpower. However, as the author reminds us in the book's trailer, "with most of its once mighty navy staying in port, and the remainder stretched thinly across the globe, America's enemies now have different words to describe America: weak...and very vulnerable". Without taking obvious political sides, the novel shows how austerity measures have weakened America's military might and thus opened a window of opportunity for the country's political enemies to take advantage of chinks in the armor.
Jonathan Patrick is a retired veteran of the United States Air Force who currently lives in the Carolinas with his wife and two children. His military career took him to various countries around the world and provided him with experiences with several intelligence agencies. He is working on a second novel. To learn more about him and his thought process while creating the novel, check out the Q & A with him on the Author Interviews page of this blog.
As I read the novel, I was reminded of the political thrillers from authors such as Tom Clancy. The details of the missions, submarines, and military and commercial installations was so realistic that it was almost scary to realize how such a sinister plot could actually play out against American interests. I also really enjoyed the background information provided about many of the key characters, allowing us to see how even some of those who come to be enemies of America, have human interests, feelings, and motivations. The only character who seemed under developed was Ramon, the totally inept supervisor of Julie and Gina, the brilliant young women who designed the computer software program that is at the heart of the story. While America faces imminent threat of attack, his only interest seems to lie in the March Madness basketball tournament. Readers would shudder to think that a supervisor in a key government intelligence agency would be so out of touch. But then again....
Checkmate has a fast-paced, chilling climax that leaves enough loose ends to warrant a sequel in the near future. I for one, will be looking forward to it, if only to continue reading about the heroic characters that were introduced to us in this book and see how America recovers and fights back against a conspiracy that spans the globe.