In a departure from his Lucas Davenport series, John Sandford (Naked Prey, Fool’s Run, The Empress File, The Night Crew) dips into the political realm with Dead Watch. Though the pace is not as breakneck as Sandford’s 2005 novel Broken Prey, this is still a thrilling novel with interesting characters.
Controversial Virginian Senator Lincoln Bowe (a former Republican) goes missing after making a passionate speech denouncing his bitter political rival, Governor Arlo Goodman. Bowe’s wife, Madison, thinks that Arlo Goodman (the leader of a volunteer militia group known as “The Watchmen”) is the mastermind behind the disappearance. Everyone shrugs off the idea until Madison shows a security tape that reveals a couple of men loosely associated with Goodman threatening Madison at her home.
The White House puts the savvy political operative Jacob Winter on the case. Soon after Winter begins his investigation, Senator Bowe’s burnt and headless corpse is found, putting tremendous pressure on Winter to solve the case. With the help of Madison (who might be complicit in the whole scheme), Winter follows a trail of dead bodies and lies that suggests that the killing might have been a staged event to derail Goodman from rising into powerful position of being President of the United States.
Coming off the heels of the highly successful Broken Prey, Sandford fans might have their expectations running high coming into this one. Like a really good action movie on a Saturday afternoon, Dead Watch is fun and flawed but entertaining nonetheless. Viewed on its own merit and not compared to previous novels, Dead Watch is a solid political thriller that will please fans who are open to the possibility of a new character entering Sandford’s world.