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Keeping Watch Paperback – February 3, 2004
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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. --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.
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Top Customer Reviews
Warning: there are brutual and down right terrifying parts to this book. It should not be read by someone who has fought in Viet Nam or has childhood abuse issues without careful consideration.
King has obviously been allowed to use a lot of diaries and memories of Viet Nam veterans. Using this material she tells it like it was - the pressures, the fear, the possibility that anyone including a child could be a killer. It is raw, it is real and sets the stage for the conflicts beautifully. Slightly holds back on the worst of the worst, but not by much. In these scenes there are few heroes and a lot of survivors who have to deal with "real" life later on.
As for the childhood abuse - the description of the psychological abuse is downright chilling. She manages to describe just enough information without going overboard. She then sets the reader up for a tightly written mystery - who is the real killer? Could it be the child?
I have read all of King's other stand alone books as well as all of her series. While I liked to loved all the others, this is by far the best. I could not put it down in spots but in other places I had to put it down for a day or two just to deal with the scene just written.
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.
Reviewed by Debra Hamel, author of Trying Neaira: The True Story of a Courtesan's Scandalous Life in Ancient Greece
This could stand alone but is a sequel to The Folly. Ms. King captures the essence of the Vietnam war and her characters are intersting and in many cases heroic. I appreciate characters that are "good guys". There seem to be so few now. Even when the good guys are "bad" it seems less staged than many writers these days.
Enjoyed the BeeKeeper's Apprentice so much I actually ended up buying all of her books including this one. If you just want a well written good story you'll enjoy this book or any of her stories.
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