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Keeping Watch by Laurie R. King
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Keeping Watch (2003)

by Laurie R. King

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  romsfuulynn | Apr 28, 2013 |
Tough subject, tough book and it really got me down. ( )
  Condorena | Apr 2, 2013 |
I've read quite a few of Laurie R. King's novels - particularly her series of Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes mysteries. I was at the used bookstore and I ran across this book for $1.00 and figured it was worth a shot. This book is a departure from the mystery genre. Keeping Watch is really the story of Allen Carmichael, a Viet-nam veteran who goes into the business of illicitly helping abused children and mothers get away from their abusers. The first section of the book details his experiences in Vietnam, to give a psychological backstory on why Allen gets into the business of helping children.

His last case before retirement was supposed to be the rescue of 12-year-old Jamie, a boy emotionally victimized by his power-hungry father. The job was supposed to be very easy, but like all supposedly easy jobs in novels, there ended up being a lot more to the story than Allen realized at first glance. About two-thirds of the book is devoted to this particular case.

I found this book to be very engaging. It's certainly not great literature, but it's a nice quick read and made for fast subway rides. I thought some of her descriptive passages were a little forced and I thought that the portion that took place in Vietnam and after he arrives back in America was too long. The book really hits its stride when Jamie and Allen finally cross paths. Overall, a good read and definitely worth the dollar I spent on it! ( )
  elleceetee | Apr 1, 2013 |
I bought this blindly because I love King's books and then discovered that the UK publishers weren't printing it here because the story has a lot to do with Vietnam and they thought that a UK audience wouldn't be interested. This kind of put me off reading it myself. I'm very glad I have eventually got around to reading it because it's an excellent story about a man who is totally damaged by his experiences in Vietnam but most of the story is about his later life in which he rescues abused women and children and the plot zooms in on his very last rescue. I'm glad to say that even the parts of the book set in Vietnam are captivating. A great read. ( )
  nocto | Dec 13, 2010 |
Allen Carmichael's story begins in Vietnam during the war. He is 19 when he gets set down in the jungle, "fresh meat." What he sees and experiences leaves him a damaged man who manages not to commit suicide by alcohol once he returnes to the States but not for lack of trying. To atone for what he feels were his "sins" in Nam, he begins rescuing battered women and abused children. He does this for years and is ready to retire when he takes his final case, an abused boy named Jamie. But is Jamie really abused or the abuser? Therein lies the mystery. Wraps up a little too quickly but still a good psychological thriller with a flawed but courageous hero. ( )
  CatieN | Jun 28, 2010 |
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Epigraph
I and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return.

--W.H. Auden
"September 1, 1939"
Dedication
To all the children who fight in wars not of their making
First words
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.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0553382527, Paperback)

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’s 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.

Riveting, harrowing, and unforgettable, Keeping Watch takes psychological suspense to its most dizzying heights and proves again why Laurie R. King has been called by both readers and critics an undisputed master of suspense.


From the Hardcover edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:26:17 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Allen Carmichael, having used the skills he learned as a soldier in Vietnam to build a career rescuing children and women from abusive men, is ready to retire from the game when he discovers evidence that leads him to believe his last case, in which he removed a twelve-year-old boy from his father, requires further attention.… (more)

» see all 3 descriptions

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