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Keeping Watch

(Folly Island #2)

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  1,838 ratings  ·  180 reviews
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’
Paperback, 386 pages
Published February 3rd 2004 by Bantam (first published January 1st 2003)
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Average rating 4.05  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,838 ratings  ·  180 reviews

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May 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is more a companion book than a sequel to Folly, as this work touches only briefly on Folly's main character, Rae. I must say I enjoyed this book immensely, and felt the book was a much more rewarding read than Folly. This could very well be King's magnum opus. The way she weaves the stories and backgrounds of the two main characters, Allen and Jamie, is quite masterful. I thought King proved remarkably adept at telling a story from the male point-of-view.

This book is not for the faint of h
Mab Morris
Jul 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This was one of the books I've read in my life that was so well written that I believed it was unnecessary for me to write any of my own. I'd say near perfect. ...more
Theresa Sjoquist
Jul 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Keeping Watch

Laurie R King

Psychological thriller isn't usually my genre but Keeping Watch is one of the most brilliantly written books I've read in a long while. Laurie King writes with the acuity of the master, never tripping throughout this exquisitely appalling tale.Jamie is a thirteen year old boy whose father is a con man extraordinaire and who has an unusual and terrifying occupation. Allen, a Vietnam vet, is a man dealing with the psychological fallout of his year fighting the Vietcong. T
Oct 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I like Laurie King's writings. Read a lot of her Mary Russell series. This novel was a completely different writing from her ususal. An account of a Viet Nam vet. His struggle and horror with combat in that insane conflict. It led to his PTSD. Altho PTSD was not defined immediately after that war there was no doubt it existed. The main character, Allan Carmichael became my brother who suffers from the same malady. Years of struggling with that misunderstood mental battle. Then, the all comsuming ...more
Liz Gelbmann
Feb 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I read this book almost in one sitting. A fabulous story and so well written. Thanks for the recommendation, Debbie.
Oct 25, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I was guessing I'd read this book not long after it was published since it is supposedly a sequel to Folly, a book I really enjoyed, but I didn't remember anything about it so I chose to read it again. Vague memories of reading it returned when the main character first flashes back to the Vietnam War.

The war reflections feel a little cliche, but maybe that's because it's difficult to bridge the gap between actual experience and the author's telling. I'm sure she didn't personally experience the
Massanutten Regional Library
Karen, Village patron, July 2018, 5 stars:

An excellent some insight into what soldiers experienced in Viet Nam even though this is a novel and that is only part of the story. Very well written and I highly recommend.
Mar 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
I was well into this book before I realized it was the same characters from the book Folly! I liked that book a lot too! I am going to have to look into reading more by Laurie R. King! I would say that Keeping Watch is more a companion to Folly than a sequel as there is very little story line carry over...some of the same characters, but each book is certainly a complete, stand alone book without the other. But, if you plan to read both, read Folly first! This book was not only about Alan Carmic ...more
May 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who likes thrillers with depth
Recommended to Jennifer by: Lake Forest Library Booksale
Shelves: read-2009
A gripping psychological thriller that was far better than I expected (I should have know that Laurie R. King would deliver). Allen Carmichael, a fifty-something Vietnam vet, is about to retire from his current vocation, which is helping abused women and children "disapear" to safety. He turned to this line of work more than 20 years before--partly to exorcise his war-created demons but also to take advantage of a skill set he had already started to hone in the jungles of Vietnam.

As is often th
Sep 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
An amazingly powerful book, vivid in its imagery and emotion. It did, at times get a little heavy handed with the psychoanalytical aspect, but in the end, that all seemed to serve a purpose. If you are a fan of King's "Beekeeper's Apprentice" series, be forewarned that this is very different - much more akin to its companion novel "Folly", but even more intense, dark and brooding, but also rewarding. ...more
Jan 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
By far one of my all time favorite books!! This book was like two wonderfully written stories intertwined into one book, but so skillfully written that that they easily flow into one amazing book. Not only does the book take you into the depths and tragedies of Vietnam, but also gives you a heart warming and heart wrenching story of the abuse and rescue of children by a savior born of Vietnam.
Ayelet Waldman
A mystery writer at the top of her form.
May 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Full of suspense, and the pain and power of humans and the human spirit.
Oct 03, 2017 rated it liked it
I am a Laurie King fan, having read the entire Mary Russel Series as well as the Kate Martinelli books. This book was well written with memorable characters. The premise, a Vietnam Vet trying to find a way to make amends for the wrongs he felt he committed during his time in the war was good.

My biggest issue with the book and reason for 3 stars is that other than the fact that the characters had the same names as those in Folly and grew up in the same island village, this book was not a sequel
Lori Schiele
Jul 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Allen Carmichael is a Vietnam vet, still haunted by the atrocities that he had seen--and done--there. Years after returning home, he has become "a civilian mercenary in the service of abused children and their mothers, disappearing them from harm", acting sometimes as advocate, or adviser, and other times as kidnapper, "escorting them to safe and loving homes". But after 25 years of this, he is finally ready for a quiet and, hopefully, peaceful life. Until he hears about Jamie O'Connell--a 12-ye ...more
Abby Jones
Nov 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
I'm so torn about this review, mainly cause I'm grumpy the book is over. I don't want it to be over. I don't want Allen and Jamie to be gone. Maybe I should just re-read it. When I started this book, I was hooked. Instantly. And I continued to be hooked. I devoured and savored this book. I wanted to read it all in one sitting and I didn't want it to be finished.
I adored, ADORED, the Vietnam scenes. I loved how that was handled and explained. I loved the broken man saving the broken children. How
Apr 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Laurie King is on my list of favorite authors. I started with the spectacular The Beekeeper's Apprentice and proceeded to read everything I could get my hands on. When I read Folly, the book proceeding this one, I was a bit apprehensive at the beginning, as this seemed to be a very different kind of story from the Mary Russell/Sherlock tales that I had become accustomed to reading. I was right - it was different but no less compelling a read and that carries on to this book.

Keeping Watch is a g
Lauren Buell
Jun 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was NOT just another psychological thriller. King's parallel narrative that begins with a man's experiences in Vietnam during the war who eventually meets up with a boy who is being severely abused by his father is brilliant. I really love how she matched a specific event that Carmichael went through in Vietnam with the event that later became his second chance of saving a child. I couldn't put this one down! I only regret that I didn't read the first book before reading this one. I would r ...more
Mark Freeman
Mar 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Firstly this is very well written, gripping and difficult to read (for good reasons) as it tell two interconnected stories. One is the tale of the younger Allen as he barely survives his war experiences in 'Nam; the second is his older self rescuing a difficult child from the grip of an abusive father.
It had me turning the pages at the end and the action (throughout the book) was dramatic and tense.

Does the author succeed in blending these two different tales? Obviously the Vietnam story is to
Nov 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
If you've ever wondered what it was like in the war in Viet Nam, then this book will explain it to you in specific terms. It's not the story I was envisioning but because the author is Laurie R. King I kept at it and am so glad I did. I will now have a new appreciation for Veteran's day. Now as to how Laurie R. King knows what she knows is rather a good question, but 'know' she does. She gets deeply into the mind of our soldier Allen and we begin to understand the workings of the human mind in w ...more
Hettie Lynch
Dec 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Laurie R King does it again.

Laurie R King has produced another astonishingly good exploration of human behaviour, trauma, mental breakdown and recovery, relationships and unmitigated evil. If you have read Folly, do not be disappointed that Rae Newborn does not figure much in this book. Perhaps there will be a third that tells of her and Allen together , but I somehow think that King will leave that story to our imaginations. I would like to follow Rae and Allen, Tamara, Petra and Jamie, as wel
Feb 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved reading this book; new author for me. The background story of the main character is his time in Vietnam and the impact it had on his life and how it lead to your "job" of rescuing children. The scenes about Vietnam were horrific. Just when you think you have the story line about Jamie figured out there is a twist. The only thing that left me wanting to know more was that I really wanted to know what happened to Alice's children that led her into this line of work. You will not be disappo ...more
Sarah Ellison
Jun 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
A Vietnam vet struggling with demons from jungle battlegrounds spends much of his life helping battered women and children escape their tormentors. He thinks he is done, only to have one last case pull him out of retirement-- a case that might just be his undoing. A companion piece to "Folly", this book is vivid, beautifully written, absorbing and disturbing. It describes life in all kinds of jungles. ...more
Caroline Altman
I didn't care for the book. The Viet Nam material was too long and too painful and I skimmed it. The rest of the book was dragged out, unrealistic and unsatisfying.

I am a fan of Ms. King and have read all of the Mary Russell books and a few others she has written. I certainly appreciate her branching out and the extraordinary research it must have taken to write this novel.

Please in the future: much faster paced, a protagonist I can identify with and perhaps some romance.
Jack Zhong
Feb 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
It’s a good book if you can take those incessant narratives and sometimes unnecessary distractions. I was thinking to myself how absurd to assume a child monster, I would be absolutely disappointed if that was the case, fortunately, the author won.

At some point, you wonder who Alice is.

Brothers cook for the other is an imagination by a female author.

The actions are quite good and can’t tell the gender of the author.
Linda Suter
Sep 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
I thought this was a really good book. It dealt with circumstances that were hard to read at times, from the experience of the jungles in Vietnam, to the effects of PTSD after the war, as well as childhood mental and physical abuse. This book is fiction, but was written so well the story has a very accurate sense of history and made me feel there was a lot of real experiences behind the story. I have never read this author before, but will definitely read again!
Phyllis Fredericksen
Jul 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Not as good as the first book, Folly, but a good story nevertheless. Plot twists and good characters. This book features Allen Carmichael, who we met in Folly only briefly. Allen has spent most the f his life rescuing children from abusive situations. Then he rescues Jamie and things change. Good read.
Jul 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is more of a companion book than a sequel, and in the beginning, I thought that was going to bother me. But no! King is *so* good at this! Rather than simply saying 'this character struggles because of the time he spent fighting in Vietnam', she sets the first 2/5 of the book in Vietnam. That might seem like a mistake, but it's really not here, because it's all so well done. ...more
Aug 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A thriller that’s a study in trauma psychology

It’s Jack Reacher or Jack Ryan.... except The writing and character development is much fuller, the scenes more realistic and the psychology more fleshed out and compelling. The transition between the story arcs is awkward but perhaps that too is apropos.
Feb 15, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Only three stars because I skimmed then skipped most of,the chapters that were set in Vietnam. I was interested in the present day story, a sort of page turner thriller. The chapters in Vietnam were just too dark and grim and I felt there was 90% more of this background than needed.
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Edgar-winning mystery writer Laurie R. King writes series and standalone novels. Her official forum is
THE LRK VIRTUAL BOOK CLUB here on Goodreads--please join us for book-discussing fun.

King's 2018 novel, Island of the Mad, sees Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes travel from London's Bedlam to the glitter of Venice's Lido,where Young Things and the friends of Cole Porter pass Mussolini's Blackshi

Other books in the series

Folly Island (2 books)
  • Folly (Folly Island, #1)

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