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May 21, 2015

CHECKMATE RUN by Allan Alexander

Allan Alexander

Product Details

(from Amazon)
The KGB agents are vicious, and they are closing in... His odds of escaping are bleak... Will he prevail although everything is muddled in a treacherous love triangle? Whom can he trust? The inevitable checkmate could bring him freedom ... or death. Checkmate Run is an adrenaline rush of a story about a precocious young man's deadly struggle to survive the brutal Soviet regime. Alex Loevsky is a medical student and an inspiringly rebellious poet. He becomes enmeshed in a breakneck battle against the rampant cruelty of the totalitarian state, where just the desire to think freely is nearly a crime on par with treason, and being born Jewish is more than a mere hindrance. Alex aspires to be a physician. Despite his top academic standing, he has to overcome unspoken rule that aim to restrict the number of Jews entering medical school. Before sitting his admission exams, he is unable to locate his name on the list of alphabetically grouped applicants. He soon discovers that a special group has been created and that everyone in it, including him, has Jewish-sounding surnames. Finding this odd, he goes to his friend and confidante--his aunt Anna. They formulate a daring scheme to shift his name to the regular group. Alex gets the highest score in the admission exams, but to his chagrin, he discovers that everyone in the special group has been flunked. Shortly thereafter, with the help of his literary mentor, Andrey Simyavsky, Alex's poetry gains recognition, and New Word, a coveted avant-garde literary magazine, starts to publish his work regularly. All of a sudden, Andrey is arrested, convicted in a closed trial, and sentenced to seven years of hard labor after his banned novel, Lyubimov, was covertly published abroad. While searching for the secret transcripts of the trial, the KGB murders Andrey's wife. Alex, who is suspected of hiding the transcripts, is hounded, severely beaten, and left to die. He manages to escape and runs into Lara, a fellow medical student, who saves his life. Aunt Anna enlists the help of her friend, who now holds the rank of general in the Interior Ministry Force. They devise a plan to shield Alex from the KGB by keeping him in solitary confinement inside the Internal Ministry prison. Six months later, the general arranges for Alex's release, but with one caveat--Alex is forever barred from creative writing. While incarcerated, Alex is expelled from medical school. The general applies pressure on the corrupt dean, and, with Lara's help, Alex is reinstated. A few years pass, Alex witnesses the murder of a dissident who seeks to expose to the Western world the torturous reality of life in the Soviet Union. The murder leads Alex to the core of the dissident's underground movement. His life becomes a death-dealing game of chess; he needs to remain one step ahead of his ruthless opponent--the KGB's Second Chief Directorate--and must win the game in order to survive. Unexpectedly, the KGB attempts to recruit Alex as an informant. Being entrapped, he experiences betrayal at the hands of the woman with whom he has had a long and passionate love affair. As Alex and Lara grow closer, their friendship turns into love. They get married, and a year later, they have a son. Concern for their son's future fires up their desire to escape the country that turned on them. Having nothing to lose, Alex and Lara navigate through the imminent danger of terrifying twists and turns in their bid to cross the Iron Curtain.

Allan Jacob Alexander was born on February 1st, 1945 in Moscow, the capital of the former Soviet Union. The fresh scars of recently ended WWII marred his childhood with widespread poverty, lingering hunger, food rationing, and a havoc of overpopulated communal apartments. The arduous attributes of devastated post-war country had casted an indelible shadow upon Allan's adolescent years. His family like majority of families around that time lost their loved ones. Some did not come back from the battlefield, the others fell victim to massive repressions of Stalin's reign.
Allan grew up in a totalitarian State, where just a desire to think freely was nearly a crime on par with treason, and being born Jewish was more than a mere hindrance. He recalls his high school years painted in painfully ugly collars of open and frequently militant anti-Semitism.
In spite of it all, Allan was raised to be an optimist full of hope for a better future. He started to write poetry. A few years later some literary critics recognized him as an inspiring and promising young author. Coming of age, he dreamt of being a physician and beat the odds of Jewish admission quota by being accepted to the Medical School. His studies however were interrupted by a six-month, politically motivated incarceration. After his release and reinstatement to the Medical School Allan was introduced to a group of Human Rights activists. He became intricately involved in the struggle for Soviet Jewry freedom to emigrate.
On June 24th of 1975, Allan together with his wife and their young son were able to escape the Soviet Union. Forced to leave everything behind, they arrived to the United States of America bringing with them just a couple of suitcases, thirty three dollars, and a lot of dreams.
Today, all three of them are successful practicing physicians living their dream in beautiful and sunny St. Petersburg, 

This is a story of a journey by Alex Loevsky who was a medical student and poet.The Jewish were having a terrible struggle because of a brutal soviet regimen.  Alex struggles to get into medical school and how he was imprisoned, turned on and much more. This kind of book is not my normal read.  The book was like being on a roller coaster as all the emotions, suspense, woven webs, twists and turns, heartbreak and troubles.It is a good historical read.  Whom can Alex trust? Anyone?   Will he get through everything even if it is mixed in with a dangerous love triangle?  Checkmate is sure to come.  Will it bring him freedom or death?  The author wrote a story about a young man's struggle to live through the brutal Soviet regime.  If this book doesn't get your adrenaline rushing, nothing will. I don't want to go any further other than to say that this is a well written with good historical events,  a love triangle that was dangerous, and a brutal Soviet regime.   That's just the beginning so get ready to hold on to that book and turn those pages to follow Alex through his journey.

I was given a complimentary copy of CHECKMATE RUN from the author, Allan Alexander and Out Skirts Press for my view of the book.

I would give this book 5 STARS.


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