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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Dead Watch by John Sandford

Dead WatchDead Watch by John Sandford

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Jacket Blurb: Early morning, Virginia, and a woman is on the run. Her husband, a former U.S. Senator, has been missing for days. Kidnapped? Murdered? She doesn't know, but she thinks she knows who's involved, and why. And that she's next.

Hours later in Washington, D.C., a cell phone rings. The White House chief of staff needs Jacob Winter now. His chief investigator and an Army Intelligence veteran, Winter knows how to move quickly and decisively, but he's never faced a problem like this. The disappearances are bad, but when the blackened body shows up barbed-wired to a tree, Winter knows there is much worse to come. And soon enough, there is. Large forces are at work, determined to do whatever it takes to achieve their ends. Winter will have to use all his resources not only to prevail but also to survive. And so will the nation. . . .

Read as an audio book.

This melds Washington DC politics and a murder mystery into an interesting but light political thriller. Nothing should be surprising, as everything is set out from the start - the political players, the protagonists, the antagonists, the players in the middle, and the event that set everything into motion.

Jacob Winter is tasked into looking at the disappearance of a well known politician. Lincoln Bowe was last seen getting into a car with three men and hasn't been seen since. His wife, Madeline Bowe, feels there is something sinister going on. The more Jacob probes, the more agitated the hornet's nest becomes, and the bodies are starting to pile up as everyone searches for "the package" that started it all.

The jacket blurb is rather misleading, which is not unusual in books like this.

There are so many twists and turns in this one that I would be shocked if Sandford didn't have a flow chart on the wall of his office to keep the plots straight.
•Jacob Winter and Madeline Bowe - yup. There will be romance tonight!
•Madeline Bowe and Howard, her husbands very close friend.
•Lincoln Bowe and Howard
•The Governor of Virginia (my apologies if I got the state wrong - read as an audio book), his overly zealous brother and the Watchmen.
•The FBI, CIA, President

Yup. Twisty turny, but the astute Sandford reader knows where this road is leading and, just like the map Sandford sets out, it takes the reader to the somewhat implausible ending.

So while not Sandford's best work (which would be Virgil Flower's series in my humble opinion), I still found this to be an entertaining and engaging read. I liked the character Jacob - a "forensic bureaucrat" was a nice change of pace from all the police and detective mysteries out there, I could have done without the romance but that too worked in this case, and it wasn't a gruesome serial killer but a political thriller.

Recommended as a light read.

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