Checkmate is the first book in Karna Small Bodman’s White House National Security Series and introduces readers to Dr. Cameron Talbot, a young American scientist who creates a weapons technology to combat cruise missiles by intercepting them and returning to sender. The book starts off with a bang (literally) when a missile from an unknown source destroys an army base in India, impacting the tenuous relationship between India and Pakistan. America scrambles to defuse the situation, sending a special envoy and a team of experts, along with Dr. Talbot and her untried invention. The action is nonstop, as unidentified terrorists continue to wreak havoc overseas while concurrently targeting Talbot in America. Spies, stolen missiles, traitors, congressional shenanigans, and imminent danger round out the mix.
Using her insider knowledge from serving in various capacities on Ronald Reagan’s White House staff, Bodman crafts a plausible plot with dynamic characters. The entertainment value is almost overshadowed by the educational value in some places, though, as we learn more about backstories and bunny trails without advancing the plot at times. One last polish by a proofreader would have caught a number of misspellings and missing words, although these small infractions did not impede the read.
Checkmate is an enjoyable and fast-paced journey that will initiate readers into some of the ins and outs of Washington’s political scene while taking us to other countries as well.
Review by Betsy Beard (August 2019)
The new, revised story of CHECKMATE is the first in The White House National Security Series, and features Lt. Col. Hunt Daniels, detailed from the Pentagon to the White House National Security Council, to work with Dr. Cameron Talbot who has invented a breakthrough technology against cruise missiles. She needs support from her skeptical defense company officers and funding from a reluctant Congress. With disaster brewing overseas, threats to New Delhi, the Taj Mahal, and to Cameron herself, she and Hunt find themselves enmeshed in terrorist plots and political wrangling at the highest levels.
“Gripping and Authentic” – Lee Child, International Bestselling Author
“Bodman takes on Washington like only a true insider can, weaving a frightening tale that feels both unerringly authentic and frightening real” – Kyle Mills, New York Times bestselling author of Vince Flynn’s Mitch Rapp series
“Bodman is no novice when it comes to understanding Washington. A polished writer, she brings her skills to this task with verve and enthusiasm. There are more twists to the plot of this novel…to reveal them would deprive you of the pleasure of enjoying every page of this thriller” – The Washington Times
ISBN/ASIN: (Trade Paper) ISBN: 978-1-62157-780-5; (Kindle): ASIN: B07D2HT1GH; (Audio CDs) ISBN: 978-1721358830
Book Format(s): Soft cover, Kindle, Audiobook
Review Genre: Fiction—Mystery/Thriller
Number of Pages: 414