Dead Watch, by John Sandford

When an ex-senator disappears, there's a potential political mess because it seems like he may have been abducted by the "watchmen", an volunteer organisation affiliated with the Republicans which seems to be taking on an increasingly sinister air. Jake Winter, an ex-army intelligence expert, is called in by the administration to try and work out what's happened without making too much noise.

I don't think I'd have guessed this was written by John Sandford; it's not nearly as good as the Prey books. Although it's got a publication date of 2006, I suspected for a while that it was something he'd written a long time ago and just recently dug out of his drawer. But there are a number of contemporary references, and bits of plot that rely on internet cafes etc., so maybe not.

It turned out that there was some plot to smear the vice-president, but there were so many people, of both parties, involved in trying to expose/hide the plot that I got a bit lost remembering who was who.

The whole story was a bit unbelievable, and I'm not sure why he bothered inventing the alternative future with the secretive "watchmen"; they ended up having hardly anything to do with the plot. The Guardian review of this book suggested that this might be the first in a series of "Dead" novels featuring Jake Winter. But if it is, he's constrained himself to a world of watchmen, and a White House populated by a set of characters who are damaged by the events in this book.

This was an OK read but seemed like a bit of a waste of talent if Sandford could have been writing about Lucas Davenport instead.

Completed : 07-May-2007

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