Checkmate by Jean Hackensmith

In Pump up Your Book Promotion, virtual book tour on May 20, 2008 at 7:33 am

ISBN 10:1-59466-116-2
To purchase a copy, click here.

Excerpt from the back of the book:

Caryn Deaver’s husband tried to kill her and their children seventeen years ago.  He went to prison for the crime, but he’s out now and determined to finish the job.  A period of sadistic stalking is a prerequisite to the final “Checkmate”.  Each progressive stalking incident includes  note: “Checkmate – nine moves,” “Checkmate – eight moves”…If Dan has his way, the last move will ensure Caryn’s death, and the death of the new man in her life, Cheyenne Fire Chief, Zach Riker.  Zack is just as determined to thwart Dan’s “game” and will stop at nothing to protect the woman he loves…or die trying.

I love being able to review books like this, especially when they have just been published and released to the public.  I must admit that there are times when I try to be polite and not hurt the authors feelings when describing their book, but not this time.  Checkmate started fast, and the tension and pace just kept going.  From the opening pages, you get a sense for how sadistic Dan Hamilton is.  After tying his wife and two small children up, he locks them in the family bathroom and starts the home on fire.  He does this, not because they are disobedient, but just because he considers it fun.  Being a cop has it’s advantages, and he thinks he has found the perfect way to get away with his crime, that is until Caryn and the children escape and testify against him.

Eighteen years have passed and Caryn and the kids have moved on with their lives.  Caryn is involved with a wonderful man, Zach Riker.  Zach is the Fire Chief and is also someone who has helped keep Dan behind bars, and been a support for Caryn for the past 2 years.  But he is about to become so much more, because Dan is being released from prison, and even they aren’t prepared for the cruel and twisted game he has in mind – a game they may not be able to win.

I don’t want to give away to much of the plot on this one, but let me just say that it was very hard for me to put this one down.  Jean has an incredible way of writing that makes you want to grab this book every chance you get, which I did.  She is looking for insight on the book and whether readers would like to see more in the “Stalker” series.  I for one say, PLEASE continue!

About the author:

Proud mother of three and stepmother of two, and the even prouder grandmother of ten, I have been writing longer than I sometimes care to remember.  My writing career began unofficially back in 1982 when I was talking with my mother on the phone.  I was always a doodler and, the next thing I knew, the line, “Jenny McCall awoke with a scream on her lips” appeared on a piece of scratch paper. 

Hmmm…I thought.  That would be a pretty cool first line for a book!  I had been an avid romance reader for years, but did I have what it took to be a romance writer?  Well, there was only one way to find out.  The first thing I had to do, of course, was figure out why Jenny McCall awoke with a scream on her lips.  I thought about it for a few days, came up with what I hoped was a good plot idea, and then went to work.  I had filled at least a dozen spiral notebooks before my husband finally realized I was serious about wanting to write a book and bought me an electric typewriter.  That’s right…no computer, no word processor.  A typewriter…but it did have a correction ribbon!  I can’t tell you how many times I retyped that first manuscript, trying to polish it as well as any first time novelist could on her own.  That book was followed by a second, and a third.  I now had a trilogy.  So, what do I do now?  Try to get an agent, right?  Actually I did acquire a literary agent a short time later.  She believed in my work, saw the potential…and actually came to stay at my home for a week and help me polish it.  Then it was off to the publishers, and the waiting game that would continue for over 10 years.

To make an already long story a little shorter, those first three books went nowhere.  They didn’t deserve to.  The stories were good, but the writing was atrocious.  They served their purpose, though.  They infected me with a writing “bug” that forced me to hone what I was told was a raw talent.  Other than a few creative writing classes in high school, I had never had an “formal” education in the writing field.  Everything I knew came from reading literally hundreds of romance novels.  I had good teachers, though…Kathleen Woodiwiss, my idol, among them.  (She would later review one of my books, by the way, and called it “exceptional.”)

Anyway, by this time, the agent was long gone and I was getting “personal” rejection letters from publishers on my own.  That’s right.  I had gotten past the “form rejections” and editors were actually telling me what I needed to do to improve my work.  I took that advice to heart, applied everything they said, and kept on trucking.  Finally, in July of 1999, I published my first book, “Wagons To The Past” and I was on my way. 

To view a promotional trailer for this book – please click below:

And yet again, I must thank my good friends at Pump Up Your Book Promotion for allowing me the opportunity to read and review this book – you guys ROCK!

  1. Wow this sounds quite the pageturner 🙂 Another for my TBR list!

  2. Thank you so much for the wonderful review. You had me a little scared at the beginning when you said usually you find nice things to say about a book…thought you just couldn’t do that with “Checkmate.” Okay, now that I’m breathing again, thanks again. It means more than I can say. Oh, and sorry I wasn’t able to drop by yesterday…it was one of those days.


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