Book Reviews

Check Mate by Rob Rosen at Torquere Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Romance
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 09-May-2013

Book Blurb

It was an odd question coming from an odd man down an odd road in the middle of a truly odd day: “You play chess, Dan?” The oddest thing of all was that Dan was naked at the time, his car broken down a few miles back, no hope of rescue apart from Patrick, the man asking for a chess game. Though not all is as it appears, especially since the most adept chess players always think a few moves ahead. And yet, even when you lose, you can still come out a winner, in more ways than one.


Book Review

The blurb makes it clear that the encounter between Dan and Patrick, form the way they meet to what they get up to, is somewhat odd. I thought the idea sounded intriguing and unusual, and started reading with an open mind. That was a good thing.

Dan is in trouble when his car breaks down (from heat stroke, I suspect) in the middle of nowhere. Not that he seems to mind too much, he's been amusing himself by talking to himself as he gradually takes off one piece of clothing after another in the heat that overwhelms him since the air-conditioning is broken. Now, driving along naked because of heat is sort of understandable, but when he starts walking to find help for the dead car, and he is still naked, using his shorts like a hat against the sun, it began to be a little odd.

But that is only the beginning. When he encounters Patrick, who lives in a trailer in the middle of nowhere, and gets invited to play chess, it gets really strange. The humorous tone throughout assured me this was all meant to be funny, not creepy, but it was a close call and definitely inspired an interesting mix of emotions as I read on.

As short stories go, this one has a definite Twilight-esque flavor, but it is also very funny. By the end of it, when the full extent of what was going on became clear to me, I was also very impressed with how cleverly it has been written. Chess players will probably understand this better and "get it" more quickly, but it took me, as only an occasional dabbler with the game, a little longer to get it.

If you like unusual, cleverly done stories with a twist, if you enjoy reading about unusual men who get up to unusual activities in somewhat unusual circumstances, and if you’re looking for a book with the potential to amuse and delight you, you will probably like this short story.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Torquere Press for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Short Story, 13 pages/3500 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 01-May-2013
Buy Link