Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review #51: Checkmate


Author: Hrishikesh Joshi
Pages: 158
Publisher: Leadstart Publishing House
Cover design: Mishta Roy

  • Ratings-

Cover : 2.5/5
Title : 2.5/5
Blurb : 3.5/5
Story : 4/5
Theme : 3.5/5
Characters : 4/5
Overall : 4/5

  • Characters-
  1. Vikram- Chief Secretary of RAW
  2. Muhammad Zia ul Afridi- The mastermind
  3. Aleem & Bismillah- Flight hijackers
  • Blurb:

An upright judge is used as a pawn by the terrorists to hijack a plane. The militants strike with vengeance to free their most dangerous fidayeen from the Indian prisons, as they hold a hundred passengers in the plane to ransom. Calling the shots for jihadis from Pakistan is once upon a time the right hand man of Osama Bin Laden and now the most dangerous terrorist in the world, Muhammad Zia ul Afridi. With the Prime Minister in a soup, there is only one man to stop the diabolical scheme of the dreaded jihadis—Vikram Roy, chief Secretary of RAW, a dashing young man of action. As the Prime Minister is about to surrender the prisoners, Vikram Roy discovers the most shocking truth about activities inside the RAW. The weary nation holds its breath as the fate of a hundred hostages and the prisoners hangs in a limbo. However, the events that are about to follow are so unforeseen that they shock everyone to the core.

  • Review-

“Checkmate” by Hrishikesh Joshi is about a fiction hijack novel. It all starts with the receipt of photographs by Abhishek from an untraceable IP address, indicating brutal deaths of three secret agents of RAW by the terrorists. Vikram fears that this is not something small, but the onset of a big plan by the terrorist. He feared that they would do something to free three of their most dedicated terrorists who were at present under the custody of the Indian police department. They start by putting all the local police stations to get info on any suspicious activities by the local goons. This brings into Vikram’s notice the kidnap of Mumbai High Court Cheif Justice’s wife, Sudha Shastry. It beckons on them that Justice Shastry was blackmailed to carry weapons on the Mumbai-London flight as he was exempted from security scrutiny for being in the VIP list and also the fact that he had a prosthetic limb owing to an old accident.

Very soon the Mumbai-London flight is hijacked by the terrorists of Laskar-e-Taiba and their sister-organization, Taliban, fully supports them by having Pakistan’s Jinnah International Airport under their control, to let Laskar-e-Taiba hold the hostage flight on that airport until the Indian government frees their men. However due to disturbance in network, they are unable to connect to the officials in Pakistan and being unsure of the airport being under Taliban’s control, they take a detour to the Dubai International Airport from where they get food and water for the entire flight to last upto 3 days.

Eventually they are successful in hosting the flight in Pakistan and demand the freedom of their men from the Indian government. Giving in to the fact that they might lose the lives of innocent citizens, some Indian and some from London, they decide in favor of the terrorists. Vikram and Abhishek leas this case forward and very unwillingly go by the government’s decision of letting the terrorists loose. The flight is rescued in the end and the course of events after that is something that was totally unexpected. Although it seems that the terrorists are successful in their plan, it was exhilarating to discover the mastermind behind the entire operation and the brilliant execution of his ideas to lead to a successful climax.

  • Appreciations:

Hrishikesh has put in a huge amount of effort in understanding the systems / work culture at RAW and Army. For a debut author, Hrishikesh has done a really commendable job with the scene descriptions. The way in which minute details have been taken care of, with respect to information provision or facts & figures, shows Hrishikesh’s dedication and enthusiasm towards his work. Perfect grammar and amazing editing made the book a delight to read. A tinge of anticipation of “what-next?” was something that the book will make you feel at every point and that’s the mark of a good suspense thriller.

  • Let-downs:

None! Great work done Hrishikesh! 🙂

  • Verdict:

Splendid debut! A must read for all suspense thriller lovers. (4/5)

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  • Available at: Amazon (Rs. 150)

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I am a Computer Engineer working with a prominent firm. Writing is my passion and likewise I love reading novels and reviewing them. Want to get your novel reviewed? Feel free to contact me at or on Follow on FB- Happy reading! Keep smiling! ;)

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