Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A review of "When No One Is Watching" [17]

When No One is Watching by Joseph Hayes
Synergy Books, ISBN 978-0984387946
October 5, 2010, 320 pages

Yes, Blair had been drinking, but he was not nearly as drunk as Danny, his fellow lawyer and best friend, passed out on the passenger seat next to him. How could he miss the chance to drive his friend's brand new Porsche 911, so cool, so fast, so powerful? And it was very, very early in the morning, the streets of the upscale Chicago suburb where they both live deserted as he drove them home from a victory party. But then he comes around the corner, way too fast, and in an instant, the lives of everyone there is changed forever. The driver of the other car was crashed into a tree, very badly injured. Blair's political future, his pending run for Congress, was hanging in the balance. And, in a moment of panic, his friend was framed for a crime he can't even remember.

Blair hoped that would be the end of it. Yes, Danny would pay a terrible price. He loses his wife, for whom this is the last straw after all his recent drinking. He goes to prison, he loses his license to practice law, while on the other hand Blair's life seems on a meteoric rise.
Except for that one police detective who thinks some of the fact just don't add up.
Except for a young witness who was cowering in the back seat of her daddy's car.
Just how far is Blair...and those behind him...willing to go to protect his dream, a dream that might take him as far as the Oval Office one day?

I must say that I think the idea the author had for this book is very good. Two men face a crossroad in their lives, a chance to decide what they will do with the cards they have been dealt, or in one case, the cards they dealt themselves. What will we do when everything is on the line...and no one is watching?

Sadly, I don't think that the execution is quite as good as the idea.
The characters are rather two dimensional and unrealistic. Blair is suppose to be this great politician..yet behind the scenes is so weak, such a spineless puppet. Danny, once he overcomes that little drinking issue with the help of AA, is almost a saint. Good characters, characters we can identify with, have to be a bit of a mix, and these are not, especially as the book progresses.
The writing is pretty good, but the dialogue is often stilted and unrealistic. People just don't talk like that.
And finally, while I know from the dedication that the author has a personal connection to AA, toward the end of the book it starts to read like a brochure for the organization. Maybe it needed to have been dialed back just a notch or two as it great a bit preachy.

Overall, a great idea for a book that  does not quite live up to it's promise, at least for this reader.

My thanks to Newman Communications for sending me a copy of this book to review.


  1. Oh, too bad about the cardboard characters. Then again, I love finding out about books I now don't have to read! :--)

  2. you know, you don't have to read every book out there...lol

  3. What, you think politicians aren't weak spineless puppets? Sadly I think there are many great ideas that just don't have the talent behind them to help them come to fruition.

  4. Sandy...what was I thinking? OK, maybe that part IS realistic!

  5. It does sound like a great premise .... I was kind of getting excited to read it. Then I read what you thought and my excitement deflated like a balloon.

    And the only thing I do when no one is watching is sing. The world can thank me for that.

  6. well, then my job is done!

    of course I am only kidding. I totally wish it had not had these issues, but it did...


please speak up, I LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU!!