Publisher: Putnam Pub Group May 2006
I'm an avid John Sandford fan, especially of his "Prey" series and its main character, Lucas Davenport. In Dead Watch Sandford has created another interesting, though not as complex, main character, Jake Winter. While Winter is smart and diligent, he doesn't have the edge that Davenport has. Still, he is interesting enough to keep you reading. Actually, the most interesting and challenging character in the book is Jake's love interest and estranged wife of a kidnapped politician, Madison Bowe.
Ex-Senator Lincoln Bowe disappears and the White House asks Jake to investigate. Madison is very vocal about her belief that Virginia Governor Arlo Goodman is behind the disappearance. When Bowe's headless corpse is discovered, Jake is under even more pressure to find out what happened. Aided by Madison (and wondering if she may be involved), Jake follows a trail of deception that suggests that the disappearance and murder may be a plot to derail Governor Goodman's ascent to the presidency.
I think Jake has a lot of potential as a main character and hope that Sandford writes another novel featuring him. However, the plot in Dead Watch was rather convoluted, with too many suspects to keep track of. The nature of the murder plot was just too unbelievable and sensational. That said, it still was an interesting read.
Synopsis (from the author's website)
Late afternoon, Virginia, and a woman is on the run. Her husband, a former U.S. Senator named Lincoln Bowe, has been missing for days. Kidnapped? Murdered? She doesn't know, but she thinks she knows who's involved, and why. And that she may be next.
Hours later, a phone rings in the pocket of Jacob Winter. An Army Intelligence veteran, Winter specializes in what he thinks of as forensic bureaucracy. Congress, the Pentagon, the FBI, CIA, Homeland Security – when something goes wrong, Winter kicks over rocks until he finds out what really happened. The White House is his main client, and the chief of staff is on the phone now.
If Bowe isn't located soon, he is told, all hell will break loose.
What Winter doesn't realize is – all hell will break loose anyway. And he will be right in the middle of it. Large forces are at work, men determined to do whatever it takes to achieve unprecedented ends. Before the next few days are out, Winter will discover he has to use every one of his resources not only to prevail... but just to survive.
And so will the nation....