Summary and book reviews of Keeping Watch by Laurie King

Keeping Watch

By Laurie R. King

Keeping Watch
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  • Hardcover: Mar 2003,
    400 pages.
    Paperback: Feb 2004,
    400 pages.

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Book Summary

Acclaimed as one of the most original talents to emerge in the last decade, award-winning author Laurie R. King returns to Folly Island to deliver her most stunning achievement yet--a breathtaking novel of suspense that explores the very essence of good and evil.

Allen Carmichael came back from Vietnam a lifetime ago--but only now was he ready to return home. For years, he's lived on the fringes of the law, using a soldier's skills to keep watch over those too young to defend themselves. Some consider him nothing but a kidnapper for hire--the best in the business; others call him a hero. His specialty has been rescuing children from abusive parents and escorting them to loving homes. But after twenty-five years, he is ready to take on his final case--a case that could destroy him.

The boy's name is Jamie: He believes his father is going to kill him. Allen is convinced that the twelve-year-old is right and devises a strategy to save him. His last job done, Allen heads back to Folly Island, where he plans to settle into a quiet life. But not long after his return, a small plane piloted by the boy's father crashes, leaving behind debris--but no body. Now it is up to Allen to resolve whether Jamie's father is dead or alive--and to make sure Jamie himself stays out of harm's way. But a series of ominous events leads Allen to question whether Jamie's father is really the enemy after all. Or if the real threat is far more unspeakable...and the killer unimaginable.

Chapter One

Allen Carmichael balanced on the precariously slim branch of the vine maple, pawing aside the soft new greenery and cursing the incompatibility of most trees with the human body. Particularly a six-foot-one-inch human body with a stiff leg, working its way through a sixth decade. Too old for this kind of stunt, he grumbled to himself. No doubt about it: It really was time to turn this side of things over to some younger maniac.

The house over which he was keeping watch–or rather, which his machines had been watching for him–lay slightly lower than his current treetop perch and at the other end of half a mile of well-maintained driveway. It was a solid house, big, with double-glazed windows and a lot of fake stone wrapped around a confusing number of rooms and a three-car garage. The sort of house Allen disliked, even without the things that went on inside it. Showy, unsuited to the climate, “Tudoresque” (whatever the hell that meant), and with no ...

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Reviews

Media Reviews
The New York Times - Marilyn Stasio

King is a careful plotter and a meticulous character builder; but in her zeal to flesh out Allen and his young charge, she burdens them with so much back story that the mind reels — and the eyes close.

The Plain Dealer (Cleveland)

King is an original and skilled writing talent.

The Boston Globe

King always writes well, and her stories sweep along with an inexorable force that comes from a power greater than mere skillful plotting.

Publishers Weekly

King captures perfectly the contradictions of combat the exhilaration and the horror, the isolation and the camaraderie. This novel of harrowing suspense and wrenching resolution should earn King plenty of accolades.

Booklist - GraceAnne DeCandido

... an exquisitely wrought exploration of the many different kinds of love. King works layers within layers like carved ivory spheres and makes a tale that holds one taut on every page.

Library Journal - Laurel Bliss

As always, King delivers a masterpiece of human drama, cleverly mixing extended flashback sequences with a present-day narrative. Powerful and exceptionally well written, this is essential.

Kirkus Reviews

A gripping, intricately plotted psychological thriller, full of subtle twists ... multidimensional characters at every level and complex plotting earn the true application of that overused tag psychological thriller.

Reader Reviews
Selene

I really liked this book. The beginning was a little difficult to get into, but once you do, you cannot put it down. The Viet Nam sequences made me feel like I was there. I recommended this to my brother, a Viet Nam vet, and he said it was very ...   Read More

Anonymous

I absolutely loved this book. I was so taken with it, I turned on my computer just to surf the web and see see what others had to say about it. The Vietnam sequences were harrowing, but I'm really glad I read them. I was in University at the time ...   Read More

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