Deathwatch by Robb White
Publication Date: 1972
Recommended Age Group: Anyone but especially 12-14 year-old boys
Summary: Ben is a college student home for the summer trying to earn a bit more money to go back to school. He is studying geology and would like to work for a big oil company in the end. However, for the moment he is acting as a guide for a guy named Madec whose main goal in life is to shoot a great big horn and have it on display in his office. Madec is a really crazy president of some company from Los Angeles. He is a very shrewd businessman, who always gets what he wants, but that isn’t enough, the other guy has to get hurt in the process. While they are out on the hunt Madec ends up shooting some old prospector thinking that he is a big horn. He lies to Ben about it and when Ben finds out Madec tries to strike a deal that Ben will be sure to make his testimony appear like the shooting was an accident. Ben says he’ll do what he can but he isn’t going to lie for Madec, at which point he is told to remove all his clothing and is forced to fight for his life in a dying struggle against the elements. Ben is quite ingenious and ends up beating Madec at his own game in the end.
Personal Notes: I loved this book; it was such a refreshing read especially after all of the other books that I was forced to read for various reasons. It was very exciting, there was always something going on. Even in the beginning it doesn’t start out with a long description of people and places but it goes right into a conversation between the characters only later to tell us who they are and why they are there. I loved this; it grabbed my attention very quickly. In my opinion, there is nothing worse than a book that has the first couple of pages dedicated strictly to explaining who people are and where they live and only then getting into what they are going to do and how they interact with others.
I think I would recommend this book to anyone but in the Adolescent literature book we are reading for this class it suggests that this book be used for 12-14 year-old boys. I do think this is a good suggestion but I don’t think it has to be limited to just these people. I think anyone would enjoy reading it. I know I did as a 21 year-old girl.
I would definitely recommend this book to a teacher who was looking for something great that the entire class would enjoy. It is inventive and fast passed. It would keep anyone’s attention. Also it has a lot of elements that lend itself well to discussion.