DEAD WATCH by John Sandford


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The disappearance of a high-profile politician lights the fuse in Sandford’s latest high-octane, low-logic thriller.

Even after losing the Virginia governor’s race to Arlo Goodman and then losing his Senate seat to an undistinguished Goodman protégé, Lincoln Bowe has kept right on speaking out against Goodman and all his works—especially the Watchmen, a network of Goodman’s citizen-activists Bowe likens to neo-Nazis. Now Bowe has vanished after a typically fiery speech, gone missing in the company of some suits who spirited him away. Madison Bowe, his wife, is convinced that Watchmen were inside those suits. Bill Danzig, the president’s chief of staff, isn’t so sure. But he is convinced that whatever happened to Bowe, the story is explosive. Attempting to stay ahead of its developments, Danzig calls in Jacob Winter, a go-to guy with a Special Forces pedigree who bills himself as a forensic bureaucrat, and tells him to find Bowe. Jake is too late to help Bowe, who’s already dead. But he may not be too late to contain an improbable cascade of scandals that hover around Bowe and threaten to bring down the president. In order to do his job, though, Jake will need to stay out of the lethal crossfire between the armed and dangerous Watchmen and Bowe’s own friends, allies and ex-lovers, who turn out to be every bit as shady, determined and ruthless. In the expert hands of Sandford (Broken Prey, 2005, etc.), the story flies along, keeping the action at such a furious pace, even without a high body count, that few readers will notice the glaring coincidences, the leaps of logic and the monumental good luck Jake needs to succeed as detective, lover (you’ll never guess who he falls for) and survivor.

Not as tightly woven as Sandford’s best, but reliable thrills with some unexpected political overtones from a pro’s pro.

Pub Date: May 9th, 2006
ISBN: 0-399-15354-3
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2006

Kirkus Interview
John Sandford
author of SATURN RUN
October 6, 2015

Saturn Run, John Sandford’s new novel, is quite a departure for the bestselling thriller writer, who sets aside his Lucas Davenport crime franchise (Gathering Prey, 2015, etc.) and partners with photographer and sci-fi buff Ctein to leave Earth’s gravitational field for the rings of Saturn. The year is 2066. A Caltech intern inadvertently notices an anomaly from a space telescope—something is approaching Saturn, and decelerating. Space objects don’t decelerate; spaceships do. A flurry of top-level government meetings produces the inescapable conclusion: whatever built that ship is at least 100 years ahead in hard and soft technology, and whoever can get their hands on it exclusively and bring it back will have an advantage so large, no other nation can compete. A conclusion the Chinese definitely agree with when they find out. The race is on. “James Bond meets Tom Swift, with the last word reserved not for extraterrestrial encounters but for international piracy, state secrets, and a spot of satisfyingly underhanded political pressure,” our reviewer writes. View video >


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