Even Dead Men Play Chess by Michael Weitz


Even Dead Men Play Chess by Michael Weitz
Publisher: Musa Publishing
Genre: Suspense/Mystery, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (157 pgs)
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Fern

Making house calls or meeting people in public places is how Ray Gordon makes his living. He’s not a doctor. He’s not a prostitute. Ray Gordon is a chess teacher.

When one of Ray’s students, Walter Kelly, is found dead in his shop, the police and his family let it go as an accident. Ray, however, doesn’t buy it. As a former cop with a lingering curiosity, Ray snoops around and stumbles into the murky world of methamphetamine, the worst drug epidemic of our time.

The problem? Walter Kelly was sixty-five years old and his only addictions were woodworking and chess. How does a sixty-five-year-old man become involved with illegal drugs? Why is a neighbor glad Walter’s dead? And just how do dead men play chess?

Ray Gordon is a professional chess teacher, plays correspondence chess through the mail, and also moonlights to assist and give lessons to a few adults for short periods of time. While he originally turned Walter Kelly down as he lived too far away, Walter had pointed out he knew Ray’s mother before she’d been killed in a car accident when Ray was a kid. Curious, Ray decided to give Walter a few lessons. For more than a year Ray helped Walter’s chess game improve and – more importantly – listened to all sorts of stories of his mother from high school, enjoying getting to know her. When Ray arrives at Walter’s doorstep for his regular session one day, it’s to discover Walter is dead.

Despite his good intentions Ray gets drawn into looking at the circumstances surrounding Walter’s death and what follows is an awesome mystery novel. This is an intriguing book, a pure mystery, filled with chess moves and trivia and a fantastic plot that winds around, not once becoming boring or stagnant. While I’m not a fan of chess (and can’t play a game to save my life) I found myself really interested in the history of the game, the moves and eclectic pieces of information the author drops. I didn’t find myself at all lost or drowning under vats of information, either. This book is refreshing and really well written. Ray’s a regular man and the tone of the book and his voice is interesting, the plot moving along at a good clip but not so fast it leaves the uneducated chess person behind.

Mystery lovers, regardless of their enjoyment or lack thereof of chess, will really enjoy this story. I loved the plot, became highly attached to the characters and enjoyed learning a bit about chess all at the same time. Highly Recommended.

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