The idea for “Checkmate” was spawned by one of those true crime shows on Court TV. Actually I guess it’s called “True TV” now, but it will always be Court TV to me. The report dealt with a man who had tied up his wife and kids, locked them in a windowless pantry, and set the house on fire. They all died. He’s on Death Row. The story stayed with me for days. I was both horrified and fascinated. Then I began to think about what might have happened if the family had lived.
Okay, so the guy would go to prison. That’s a given. Realistically, though, the system couldn’t keep him locked up forever. So, I asked myself, what would this maniac do when he got out? He had tried to kill his wife and kids in the most horrible of all ways. Would he harbor a grudge or just let bygones be bygones? He was the typical abusive husband: overbearing, controlling, possessive, sadistic. Oh, yes. He would definitely harbor a grudge—even after eighteen years. He wanted his family dead the day he put them in the bathroom, and he wants them dead now. The kids are grown, though. They don’t even live in the area. The ex-wife does, though—and she’s got a boyfriend. Unacceptable. She has to die, and so does her lover. Of course, she has to suffer first. She deserves it, after all. She and she alone was responsible for him spending eighteen years of his life behind bars—eighteen years that he’ll never be able to get back. But how to do it? What to do. He comes up with a plan; thirteen moves in a sadistic game of cat and mouse that will end when the game reaches Checkmate.
Jean Hackensmith is the author of CHECKMATE. You can visit her website at http://www.jeanhackensmith.com.