Coe Vessel, son of a legendary adman, lands the much-anticipated ad campaign of artist-provocateur Watanabe's latest creation, a mysterious watch called Cassius Seven. The enigmatic Watanabe claims the watch can kill its wearer. Convinced it's a high-art hoax, Coe and his team of renegade creatives work furiously to land the campaign and persuade the world that the watch (rebranded as Death Watch) is the must-have accessory for end-time capitalism.
Thanks to the team's inventive launch, Death Watch finds eager buyers among the brazenly cocky, thoroughly disillusioned, and silently suicidal. Death Watch soon becomes a cultural phenomenon, harbinger of a new nihilism, and a target for moral outrage. Exactly what Watanabe envisioned. But his hoax turns horrific when the watches start going off, killing their wearers. Appalled, Coe and his team reverse course and work feverishly to alert would-be customers. But can they stop the juggernaut they set in motion?
Stona Fitch is the author of seven novels, including Give + Take and Senseless, which have been praised by critics and readers, published widely throughout the world, and produced as feature films. He is the founder of Concord Free Press, a revolutionary non-profit publisher that inspires generosity among readers. Since graduating from Princeton University, Stona has worked as a daily newspaper reporter, dishwasher, musician in a popular country-punk band, director of a non-profit organic farm, and communications consultant. He lives with his family in Concord, Massachusetts.
“A sendup of rich people, advertising and the luxury watch industry, DEATH WATCH is more of a cerebral inquiry into the sheer nihilistic idiocy of the modern condition than it is a heart-pounding work of suspense. But you can’t escape its strange logic, or its shocking ending.” – Sarah Lyall, The New York Times
"DEATH WATCH draws you relentlessly into a dark, witty, and subversive story about our times and its discontents that will keep you reading until the sun rises or the bottle of whiskey gives out, whichever comes first. I loved it!" - Douglas Preston
"Like our best satires, this book makes you laugh, but laugh nervously. And cringe because what is supposed to be fanciful exaggeration cuts too close to the truth. DEATH WATCH pulls no punches and deserves a cult readership." - Paul Tremblay
"What a fantastic book. DEATH WATCH is smart and shocking, edged in the darkest of humor, utterly compelling. It's a fast read that I'll be thinking about for a long time." - Joseph Finder
"Fitch says ideas like consumerism and overconsumption have coursed through all of his novels: "People have to have money to survive, of course, but too much of it causes cancer of the soul. Difficult to detect, impossible to cure."
The novel takes on extremes regarding art, concerning status-seeking and tempting fate in the most fatalistic way possible. "'Death Watch' is a critique of late capitalism, when everything has a price. Even if it's bad for you, even if it's expensive, someone will buy it," says Fitch." - Jim Sullivan, WBUR Boston