Keeping Watch Hardcover – Mar 4 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
Versatile and prolific, King not only finds time for two successful mystery series but also manages to produce the occasional stand-alone gem. Fans will discover that this gripping tale shares certain locations and characters with Folly (2001), but her hero and subject are unique to this novel. At its simplest, this is the story of a man who helps rescue women and/or children from dangerously abusive men. King's lengthy, brilliantly executed backstory of Allen Carmichael's experiences in Vietnam, his disastrously unhappy return home and his eventual discovery of his "calling" showcase some of her finest writing. Now in his early 50s, Allen is ready to retire from his dangerous vocation, to settle on his remote island and perhaps serve as a consultant to those who continue the struggle. But his last rescue, that of a 12-year-old boy trapped in a horrible situation, continues to haunt him. And when reports reach him that loose ends from that case may be unraveling, he's compelled to check it out since his actions may have endangered others. King captures perfectly the contradictions of combat: the exhilaration and the horror, the isolation and the camaraderie. The niche Allen eventually finds, the one that allows him to function more or less successfully, offers almost the same mix of extreme emotions. This novel of harrowing suspense and wrenching resolution should earn King plenty of accolades.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Alan Carmichael, who has devoted his life to rescuing abused children, takes on one last case-with devastating consequences. The latest from multi-mystery-award winner King.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
King's exploration of Allen's character is wholly successful, and her depiction of his patrols in the "green" in Vietnam riveting. The contemporary story of Jamie's rescue is equally rewarding, indeed downright engrossing after about page 240, when of a sudden one stops knowing for certain who the bad guys are. Keeping Watch is at least as good as King's novel Folly. Familiarity with the earlier book is not at all necessary, but readers of Keeping Watch will almost certainly want to treat themselves to a broader view of the universe Allen Carmichael inhabits once they've finished with King's latest.
Allen Carmichael has returned from Vietnam a psychological mess. It takes him quite some time to pull himself together. When the smoke clears he finds himself in a job in which he kidnaps children from abusive relationships and relocates them elsewhere in a safer and more supportive environment. Jamie is severely abused physically and mentally from his father. After removing him from the situation, Allen notes the father might be onto them thereby placing both Jamie and his foster family in danger. Allen must try to discover the truth about Jamie's father before it is too late.
A very promising start in this novel filled with harrowing scenes in Vietnam leads to a disappointing and trying conclusion. The novel goes on at least a hundred pages too long. All the strengths of Ms. King's work is here- the impeccably created characters, the riveting passages, the vivid descriptions of the locale and the intelligent subplots. However, the pacing lags and the length suffers as a result. A potential classic that simply could not maintain the high level consistently throughout.
The battle was never an easy one though and the author leads the reader to explore commitment, involvement, care and instruction of children, and loyalty to family and friends among other issues. Its relationships between men and women are on solid footing, too, as women are portrayed as role models in difficult situations. Not perfect types, but very human, with defined needs and depth of character who bring much to their associations. This is not just a good read. It is terrific. King won an Edgar Prize a few years ago for best mystery by a new writer. I don't know again if this qualifies as a mystery. If it does, it will compete for another Edgar as Best Mystery of the Year. Also, it makes King an attractive candidate for a Lifetime Achievement Edgar. She writes with the literacy of a Susan George.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I've come to love Laurie King's literate, thoughtful and humanistic takes on mystery and suspense. KEEPING WATCH didn't let me down one bit. Read morePublished on April 27 2004 by Carolyn Bright
I love Laurie R. King and have eagerly awaited each of her novels. And enjoyed each one greatly. This one however could have used some major pruning. Read morePublished on March 26 2004
Too difficult to follow, too obvious, and too full of stereotypes. Get from your library.Published on July 3 2003 by plum9195
KEEPING WATCH is a remarkable achievement. Laurie King intertwines a first-rate story of war in Vietnam with a contemporary suspense story about rescuing a twelve-year old from... Read morePublished on May 18 2003 by charles falk
Since there are already several glowing and wonderfully written reviews here, I will keep mine short and sweet. This is Laurie R. Read morePublished on May 17 2003 by Menagerie
If I were as good a writer as Laurie King, I would have the right words at my fingertips to do this novel justice. Read morePublished on May 13 2003
I'm a big fan of Laurie R. King's "Kate Martinelli" series; and bought this book to see what else she can write. Read morePublished on May 6 2003 by L. Quido
Her in-the-mind characterization of what it is like to be an American soldier/warrior in Vietnam is so believeable, and so disturbing. I liked that part the best. Read morePublished on April 26 2003 by Peter L. Swinford
Laurie King has gained herself an enthusiastic new fan. If all of her books are as well crafted as KEEPING WATCH, I'll be digging through library shelves to find every one. Read morePublished on April 13 2003 by Amazon Customer