The game ends now … those words saddened me as did the title, Checkmate. Why? Because those words spell the end of Steven James’ most excellent Patrick Bowers series. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed and been intrigued, horrified, and thrilled by every book in the series.
I love the way Patrick plays out his love for Lien-hua, “Sometimes the most eloquent things are shared wihen you’re not saying anything, and now she put her hand on mine and we sat together in silence, the unspoken language of the moment enveloping us.” And when she makes him promise never to lie to her, “I wondered if I would really be able to offer only the truth if it came to the place where I could offer her hope instead.”
We’ve learned so many lessons in relationships from Patrick’s interactions with those close to him. He opines, “Tragedy can either send us spiraling of into our own private oblivion or it can draw us closer to other people.” Tragedy drew him closer to Tessa, to Lien-hua, to Ralph—even to Margaret Wellington, his boss.
About his work, Patrick recalls, “my mentor once told me that every dead end shows you more clearly the pattern of the labyrinth, that each one you encounter gives you one more piece of information that’ll help you as you methodically fail your way to success.” What successes might we have if we kept that as our viewpoint?
We’ve watched Tessa grow up—once an angry, hurting young teen who inflicted pain on her own body by cutting to lessen the pain in her heart from her mom’s death from cancer. Now Tessa, eighteen, is on the verge of coming into her own as a woman. “A soul is only set free when it becomes constrained by the bonds of love … Intimacy is the license that you give to someone else to hurt you the most. And also to set you the most free.”
Summing up his philosophy, Patrick muses, “You strive for justice, you move toward the light when you can, and you shake off the darkness that clings to you from living on this fractured planet of lost dreams and sharp heartache. Because it’s also a place that hope calls home. Justice wrestles with the darkness and we are, each of us, caught up in the fight. We strive for the first, but have a weakness for the second and between them is a chasm that spans all of our souls.”
And so, in my heart, and in the hearts of millions of fans, Patrick Bowers will continue to fight evil and make our world just a little bit better. Thanks, Steven, for following your gifts and giving us The Bowers Files. I’ve loved the ride!
You’ll want to read Checkmate to see the finish of the games and what happens to Patrick, Tessa, Ralph, Margaret, and the villains we’ve loved to hate—Basque and Kurt Mason. A five-star book and series!
“After the game, the king and the pawn go into the same box.” —Italian proverb.
The Penguin Group gave me a copy of Checkmate for my candid review.