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Keeping Watch Paperback

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; Reprint edition (February 3, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553382527
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553382525
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 5.9 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,191 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

New York Times bestselling crime writer Laurie R. King writes both series and standalone novels.

In the Mary Russell series (first entry: The Beekeeper's Apprentice), fifteen-year-old Russell meets Sherlock Holmes on the Sussex Downs in 1915, becoming his apprentice, then his partner. The series follows their amiably contentious partnership into the 1920s as they challenge each other to ever greater feats of detection.

The Kate Martinelli series, starting with A Grave Talent, concerns a San Francisco homicide inspector, her SFPD partner, and her life partner. In the course of the series, Kate encounters a female Rembrandt, a modern-day Holy Fool, two difficult teenagers, a manifestation of the goddess Kali and an eighty-year-old manuscript concerning'Sherlock Holmes.

King also has written stand-alone novels--the historical thriller Touchstone, A Darker Place, two loosely linked novels'Folly and Keeping Watch--and a science fiction novel, Califia's Daughters, under the pseudonym Leigh Richards.

King grew up reading her way through libraries like a termite through balsa before going on to become a mother, builder, world traveler, and theologian.

She has now settled into a genteel life of crime, back in her native northern California. She has a secondary residence in cyberspace, where she enjoys meeting readers in her Virtual Book Club and on her blog.

King has won the Edgar and Creasey awards (for A Grave Talent), the Nero (for A Monstrous Regiment of Women) and the MacCavity (for Folly); her nominations include the Agatha, the Orange, the Barry, and two more Edgars. She was also given an honorary doctorate from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific.

Check out King's website,, and follow the links to her blog and Virtual Book Club, featuring monthly discussions of her work, with regular visits from the author herself. And for regular LRK updates, follow the link to sign up for her email newsletter.

Customer Reviews

I greatly recommend this book!
The suspense story has enough twists and turns to satisfy the most jaded mystery reader.
charles falk
Ms. King continues to amaze and challenge. . .
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 10, 2006
Format: Paperback
I'm not going to review this novel - others have already done so. Some folks thought it was too long, others didn't care for the Vietnam introduction. But I was there - Vietnam in 1970/71 - and can attest from personal experience that Ms. King captures the heat, the sensations, the fear...and the Green to perfection. And the intro is vital to understanding the demons that drive Allen Carmichael.

So, even if you think you don't like 'war stories', stick with it...please! You'll be rewarded with a fascinating character study and a complex psychological thriller. You may also come to understand why so many of those who fought in Vietnam took years to put the pieces of their life together (and why some never could) and how Abu Ghraib and other Iraqi 'incidents' can occur 30 years later.

Ms. King continues to amaze and challenge. . .
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Dennis E. Donham on July 5, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I started out reading the Mary Russel novels of Laurie King and then progressed to Kate Matinelli. I read Keeping Watch before Justice Hall. This is new ground for the author but very fertile territory. It is hard to put a label on this book (i.e., mystery, fiction). It has substantive action and totally believable dialogue, no make believe like her other titles, which are very good. There is a craftsman-like leitmotif weaving of sub-plots and topics here, all obviously well-researched. King's titles all seem to have an accurate sense of history and geography and this is no exception. Its messages are real. It was eye-opening to me about children's advocacy issues and how victims repress and feel powerful emotions simultaneously. It was startling in its portrayal of the horrors of war (Vietnam). And it was powerful in depicting the depression of the protagonist and his struggle to achieve stability. It was moralistic, with good conquering evil.
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.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 13, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When, on page 10 I suddenly found myself deep inside the war in Vietnam, a continent away from the suspense novel I thought I'd just sat down to read, I grew wary, thumbed ahead, found 86 pages of description of what it was like to be a Marine in Vietnam ahead of me and almost threw the book across the room. If there'd been anything good on TV I might have. I put the book aside several times, finally just decided to plug away at it and I'm so glad I did. By the time the story finally left Vietnam I found I wouldn't have minded staying longer. But finally the plot kicks in and a riveting one it is, too. Allen Carmichael, whom King readers met previously as Rae's lover in "Folly" (another terrific read), stars in this one and by midway through his story you begin to realize why that long author's detour through 'Nam was necessary. Allen has come to the end of a long and dangerous career as a man who kidnaps abused children (and sometimes their mothers along with them) and finds them sanctuary. Here he's about to embark on his last case, where nothing is quite what it seems. What a joy and relief to find my favorite mystery/suspense writer in top form again after the disappointing "Justice Hall." King fans, I think you're going to really really like this one.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By omnireader on March 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I have always been a fan of both Laurie King's series, finding them complex and entertaining. This newest novel, Keeping Watch, is by far the best she has written. Allen Carmichael came back from a tour in Vietnam wounded in both body and soul in the late 60's when no one had ever heard of post-traumatic stress disorder to a country and family who had no idea what had happened to all the young men shipped off to a hellish, senseless war. Haunted by nightmares and flashbacks of both the things he had seen and had done, he sinks into several years of homeless wandering until he ends up back at his childhood home. In the care of his young brother Jerry, he begins to heal and seek his purpose in life. He finds it in rescuing children from the hands of abusive fathers and putting them into an underground network of families willing to foster them to adulthood. After 26 years he takes one final case before retiring to his beloved island home,that of rescuing 12 year old Jamie O'Connell from his monstrous father. Jamie both hates and loves his father, as many abused children do, but knows that his father will kill him eventually. When Jamie is safely placed in Montana, Allen thinks that he can peacefully retire until a plane registered to Jamie's father crashes,but no remains are found. There are many twists and turns before a final resolution to both Jamie's story and Allen's.
This is an absolutely harrowing novel, but one that can't be put down. I was especially stunned by the considerable portions telling of Allen's Vietnam experience. Being of the Vietnam generation, I saw many of my friends be shipped off-some to return and some not. It amazes me that any of them came back sane. Laurie King's telling of Allen's story is a triumph of her imagination and narrative powers.
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