(Blurb for The Watchman from Goodreads) One last mission for an old friend. What could go wrong?
It’s sold as an in-and-out jaunt to The Big Apple, to pick up a harmless envelope. But when Ben Bracken is offered the assignment, he’s a little hesitant. He’s a family man now, with a duty to stay alive for his loved ones.
But, with the request coming from fellow former military man and trusted friend William Grosvenor, not to mention the eye-watering payout, one last job can’t hurt, can it?
So begins his American road trip, one that takes him from the city that never sleeps to the misty swamps of Florida, all in pursuit of one highly coveted envelope. But it turns out, this job isn’t the walk in Central Park it was promised to be.
As he’s pursued by New York’s most dangerous mobsters, factions of federal law enforcement, and American Intelligence, Ben’s hunch is that their joint quarry must hold something of international significance.
He’s not wrong. The contents that’s slipping through these influential fingers contains evidence of the world’s biggest cover-up. Evidence that will rewrite history books and incriminate one of the most powerful men on the planet.
It’s probably best it winds up in the right hands.
The Watchman is packed with action, underpinned with believable conspirative intrigue, world-class writing and twists you just won’t see coming.
The Watchman is the fifth book in the Ben Bracken series and I’m afraid to say it’s my first foray into his world. I was totally absorbed by the story so it certainly won’t be my last. I’ve read a few Jack Reacher books and this is very much a British version. It’s told mostly in the first person by Bracken himself. As a result, we get an insight into his thought process in every situation.
The story begins innocuously enough at the Trafford Centre where Ben is having lunch with the family. He receives a text from an old friend to meet in the video cafe. The friend is William Grosvenor, Minister without a Portfolio in the British government. He asks Ben to perform the simple task of picking up an envelope, but you know it won’t really be simple… The added complication is that the envelope is in New York and he needs to travel tomorrow.
As expected, the collection doesn’t go according to plan. He meets his contact, Luca Jones in a dingy bar. Luca is about to hand over the envelope when a big guy demands the envelope. Ben swiftly dispatches him and all hell breaks loose when the bar is shot up by other members of his team. After evading the bullets, the two make it out of the bar and back to Ben’s apartment. They decide to open the envelope and quickly realise that the contents of the envelope have been switched. What follows is their attempts to retrieve the contents and take them back to Grosvenor.
From here, the story moves at breakneck speed as Ben and Luca try to recover the contents of the envelope. It’s a big conspiracy involving the British, Russians, CIA, and the secret service, even the president. Oh and there’s also the Mob.
I like Ben Bracken’s character, you feel like he’s always in control and never really in any danger. He’s obviously highly trained for combat and he shows all those skills here. The fact that he has a family back home also gives him some grounding. I was a little wary of Luca’s character initially, but as the story progressed I grew to like him more and more. As to the plot, I thought the big reveal was a little far-fetched, but I didn’t mind as the characters and the pace already had me hooked.
As I stated earlier, this was my introduction to the Ben Bracken series. Even though it’s the fifth story, I didn’t feel that I needed to have read the other books to enjoy it. If you like an action-packed story, then the Watchman is certainly for you.
My thanks to Lume Books courtesy of NetGalley for a copy of The Watchman in exchange for an honest review.