Book Review: Checkmate by Hrishikesh Joshi


Book: Checkmate

Author: Hrishikesh Joshi

Publisher: Frog Books

Genre: ‘Guns n Roses’ thriller

In One Line: Long live the good

Characterisation: There are quite a few of them but recollecting them (a week after I have finished reading the book) is tough. Except the name Afridi ( and that’s not because his character in the book). Somehow I feel that although the story is a gripping one,  the characters are left quite sketchy. Just wondering if the author, in his attempt to make the story a racy one, compromised on the depth of the character development a little. He does have a neat style writing and I’m sure he would have done well if he had tried to grow his protagonists a little more.

Language: The language stays simple and easy to read. It’s good to see that the author has researched for the book(which context out from the description of the ammunition etc.)

Need a check here – any reader who can help me with this? The Supreme Court judge is not frisked at the airport? Like really? My dad always was and he graciously always obliged. After all it was a duty that the airport officials performing. Am I missing a point here? Would love to know.

I have always had issues of name changes personalities in books, especially those who can be so easily identified. Either don’t use them, simply describe them, or give their real names. For example: describing the Prime Minister as “The Prime Minister of India scratched his head, putting a finger over his right ear under the blue turban…” (page 36) is fine, turning Arnab Goswami into Pranab (page 116) is not. There’s no harm in naming the guy – more so because he is just being used in the narrative only for a few lines for humour.

Plot Setting: India, Pakistan, I guess. The plane and the RAW office would be more like it. Which is fair enough given that it’s all about causing and ‘de-causing’ the hijack.

Book Cover Art: I don’t have any issues with the depiction of a terrorist on the cover page of the book. But there is a problem with the eyes. It looks feminine. On the first glance it seemed to me that it was a girl terrorist and that excited me because that would surely have been a new thing to read.

How’s the Title: The title is different given that there is nothing to do with chess in the entire story. Maybe the author joined twists that the story offers with the fact that the “kill” had to be a well thought out one that could not have been done impulsively to name his book so.

Is The Blurb Catchy: The blurb is good and catches the attention. What the reader might say on hindsight, though, is that although the story did have the highjack and the save, emotions were missing. More emotions of the nation and more emotions of the passengers on the hijacked flight. The author has skimmed through the parts that would have made the tale a better one to read and has instead written about how the RAW officer meet his wife! Putting it a little crudely, the readers don’t want to read about cheesy one liners and romance in a story like this (unless it’s the script for some Akshay Kumar movie).

Learning From The Story: Each genre requires a sort of mind training. Writing an edge the seat thriller is a tough nut to crack. Kudos to the author for attempting one and that to on a ‘high voltage’ topic. A learning for sure. An added follow up – one cannot be in hurry to end the story when it’s such a topic. The right balance between pace and description is needed

Areas Of Improvement: All aside, the greatest scope for improvement in the book lies in the character development. Given that the author does have a way with words, for his next, he should surely give his protagonists more depth.

What Is ‘Said By Not Saying’: The mind can plan beyond imagination!

My Reaction When I Finally Closed The Book: confused-smiley   

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6 thoughts on “Book Review: Checkmate by Hrishikesh Joshi

  1. Hrishikesh Joshi says:

    Thank you for the honest review. I appreciate the critique. Referring to the issue you have raised regarding the exemption of judges of high courts from security frisking, you can find the list of all the VIPs that are exempted from frisking at :
    Also, I had seen a placard proclaiming the list of VIPs exempted from security frisking at Srinagar airport in 2011 which mentioned the judges of the High Court.
    And apologies for the delay in reading your book. I am currently reading a Jeffrey Archer and will read ‘This time it’s forever’ very soon 🙂


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