CHECKMATE by Greer Noble


Email this review


Noble’s (Veiled Madness, 2011, etc.) African adventure presents two dichotomous men: Sly Stone, who kills and sadistically torments whomever he wishes, and Don Buchanan, who plans to exact his revenge on Stone for killing his one true love.

In order to save himself from murder charges—in the death of a woman whom he had married for the potential inheritance—Stone, an amoral sexual deviant, cons his way onto a yacht owned by Buchanan and his wife, Tracey. A storm gives Stone the opportunity to rid himself of the couple—a brash, impulsive action that leaves Tracey dead and Buchanan stranded in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Stone steals Buchanan’s passport and, once on the mainland, begins a journey from city to city that often appears aimless, since there doesn’t seem to be any clear motive for Stone’s actions. Despite a clear, sometimes graphic depiction of Stone’s childhood, an obvious throughline fails to appear as to why Stone must kill, rape, con and swindle. Further, Noble seems content to keep Stone—sinisterly competent when it comes to crime—on the continent simply in order to move the story forward, disallowing Stone the escape any rational, brilliant criminal would take. Also, the juxtaposition of the protagonist and antagonist isn’t fully realized due to a confusing narration, arbitrary point-of-view shifts and a lack of empathy. Instead, the narrative often relies on shopworn tropes, such as loss of virginity as a signifier of true love. Nonetheless, the author’s knowledge of Africa, its people and its customs is crucial to the readability of this gruesome, twisting story of murder and revenge.

An intelligent criminal and intense bloodlust highlight this straightforward actioner.

Pub Date: Oct. 26th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0620432771
Page count: 172pp
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online: