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Adventure In Reading - John Sandford - Dead Watch

Updated on March 13, 2016

The Author And This Book

John Sandford is the author of more than 40 books including a large number in the "Prey" series. He was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and migrated to Minnesota by way of Miami, FL. After arriving in Minnesota and while working for the Saint Paul Pioneer Press he won a Pulitzer Prize for a feature series that followed a typical Minnesotan family through a year of their life. His original series was the Kidd series but it soon gave way to the Prey series which has spun off the Virgil Flowers series. Additionally he has several other fiction and non fiction books in print.

This book introduces a new character - Jacob Winter - and takes him through several experiences. It was published in 2006 and is about 375 pages.

The Story

Lincoln Bowe, a former U.S. Senator has dropped from sight. Madison, his wife, doesn't know where he is and the White House calls in special investigator Jacob Winter to help out. Jake is a semi-retired military intelligence person whom the special assistant to the president calls upon when an emergency occurs. And, the disappearance of Lincoln Bowe constitutes an emergency.

Jake begins to beat the bushes and meets Madison Bowe, the wife. Some electricity happens between the two of them. The attraction increases after it becomes common knowledge that LIncoln Bowe was in a circle of male friends who were not romantically inclined towards women.

Deaths and danger begin to occur. Lincoln Bowe's corpse is found and he has been shot and beheaded. Friends of Madison and Lincoln Bowe begin to profess knowledge of the happenings. Jake tries to wend his way through the conglomeration and finally sees the light. The plot to secure a solution is put into motion.

A lead moves that action to Wisconsin where Jake discovers evidence that has been hidden for years. He takes the evidence, copies it, and sends a copy to his superiors. Shootings and mayhem occur in Wisconsin.

The action moves to the countryside in Virginia and shootings and mayhem occur. As a result of a major gun battle in rural Virginia, the problems are resolved.

What Happens

Lincoln Bowe never appears in the book as a live character. At the beginning of the book, he is missing and during the first part of the book, the reader is treated to his death. It isn't really clear at that point - or in fact, during most of the book - why Lincoln Bowe is killed. Jacob Winter, an Army Inelligence veteran is called into action. When things go wrong at the highest level of military and civilian government, Jake digs and investigates until the answer is forthcoming.

Sparks fly when Jake meets the wife of Lincoln Bowe. Although both Jake and Madison feel the attraction, they avoid entanglement throughout most of the book. The manner of her husband's death is particularly strange in that he has been shot and beheaded and the head is never found. Autopsy does show the presence of drugs in his body but his reputation does not allow him to be viewed as an addict.

It becomes clear that Lincoln Bowe was a homosexual and that his death while violent was not the result of an attack or robbery. Jake's investigation begins to center around a political crisis that is best avoided. The President of the United States and the government of Virginia are at odds currently over the vice presidency and ultimately the presidency itself.

It is discovered the Lincoln Bowe had discovered the cover up of embezzlements of major proportions having to do with a highway construction project in Wisconsin. The corruption, if discovered in a less than timely fashion, could shape the political future of the United States. However, before things could conspire in the fashion Bowe desired, it was discovered that he had a deadly brain tumor. His death was associated with that tumor as much as it was with the act of murder. Jake leads the way through several killings and a major gun battle with the bad guys to enable his party the ability to expose the corruption in the fashion they wish, insuring the continuation of their governing principles.

Jake and Madison finally consummate their attraction. They are compatriots in the major gun battle with the bad guys and together they resolve the problems. They retire from the political scene to a horse farm in Virginia and idyllically spend their days on horseback and their nights in consummation.

The Summary

I couldn't firmly grasp exactly where the hero was headed or what he was trying to do. He has tasks he wanted to accomplish but it didn't seem like he had any goal that he worked towards. There was lots of action and the plot thickened considerably with doubt as to who was the good guy and who was not. The ending straightened everything out but I wasn't sure that Jake had arrived at the solution he had been looking for.

I would rate this book at about a 6 of a possible 10.


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