“A perfectly crafted hard-hitting, intense thriller.” — Suspense Magazine

When a clandestine FBI facility is attacked, Agent Bowers pieces together a terrorist plot to unleash a deadly chemical in uptown Charlotte, North Carolina.



I had the inclination to place this story in Charlotte, North Carolina, a city I had visited and fallen in love with. While researching the city’s background, I found out that gold had been discovered nearby in 1799, and for the next 50 years, NC was the gold capital of the US.

As Charlotte grew, the uptown area was built over the existing gold mines, which were never filled in.

Although I spoke with numerous historians, no one seemed to know exactly where the gold mines were located. After many hours of research, I uncovered a map in the UNC-Charlotte research library that showed the location of the mineshafts. So all of the information about the location of the mines is accurate.

This story ties in so closely with Charlotte and its history that it could not be told about any other city in the country. It’s an intriguing premise with an unexpected climax and has become a favorite of many fans.


Awards and Honors

The Christian Manifest’s Lime Award Finalist

LIS Literary Award in Suspense Finalist

INSPY Award Finalist


“A page-turner from the front to the back covers.”

—Novel Crossings

“With great twists, excellent suspense, deep themes, fabulous writing, and a great attention to detail, Checkmate is the perfect conclusion to this chapter of the Patrick Bowers series.”

—The Christian Manifesto

“Steven James pens another fast-paced thriller chock full of great characters, head-snapping plot twists, impeccable research, and a truly fun ride.”

—DP Lyle, award-winning author of the Dub Walker and Samantha Cody thriller series

“Checkmate presents another complex, interwoven masterpiece”

—Into the Fire

“A perfectly crafted hard-hitting, intense thriller.”

—Suspense Magazine

"Checkmate is high tension all the way. Fast, sharp, and believable. Put it at the top of your list.”

—John Lutz, Edgar-award winning author of Frenzy

“James creates a multilayered tale that leaves readers breathless.”

—RT Reviews