Chess in a crime novel: more than just a game

Category: News

Daniel Blake’s chilling new thriller, White Death, is set in the world of pro chess. To celebrate publication, Daniel has been kind enough to write a piece especially for us, explaining the three vital qualities chess brings to the crime novel…

Chess metaphors abound in crime fiction. A master criminal uses people as pawns. An impasse is stalemate, a victory checkmate. A detective will try a gambit. The denouement is an endgame. But chess itself is much more rarely used by crime novelists, and it’s not hard to see why. Put bluntly, the game has a massive image problem. Where backgammon enjoys the patina of upmarket gentlemen’s clubs and poker the grungy cool of smoke-filled rooms and vast jackpots, chess is seen as the province of nerds with BO and hair greasy enough to fry chips in.

 

Since I play chess, apply regular deodorant and have precious little hair left (greasy or otherwise) this portrait of the chess player as über-spod has always irked me a little. I set White Death against the background of pro chess because the game brings three vital qualities to the crime novel: intelligence, intimidation and insanity.

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Soul Murder

Category: Books

An exciting new thriller, introducing Francesco Patrese, FBI expert on religious crime, for fans of Richard Montanari and ‘Messiah’.

When Pittsburgh homicide detective, Franco Patrese, and his partner Mark Beradino are called to a domestic dispute at the lawless Homewood estate events quickly spiral out of control. With two dead, Patrese believes he’s got his killer – but things aren’t always as simple as they seem. On the other side of town, the charred body of Michael Redwine, a renowned brain surgeon, is found in one of the city’s most luxurious apartment blocks. Then Father Kohler, a Catholic bishop, is set alight in the confessional at his Cathedral. But they are just the first in a series of increasingly shocking murders.

Patrese’s investigation uncovers high-class prostitution, medical scams and religious obsession, but what Patrese doesn’t realise is how close to the case he really is – and how it will take a terrible betrayal to uncover the truth.

Buy Soul Murder on Amazon

Read an extract from Daniel Blake’s Soul Murder

Watch Daniel discuss Soul Murder