Deathwatch is an American 1972 novel written by Robb White. The book was awarded the 1973 Edgar Award for Best Juvenile Mystery from the Mystery Writers of America.
Its plot features a skilled and successful hunter and lawyer, Madec, who receives a rare permit to shoot bighorn sheep in California's Mojave desert. He hires a timid college student named Ben, who is going to help show Madec where the bighorn are. After accidentally shooting an old prospector, Ben refuses to keep it a secret and tries to get Madec to admit his mistake. As Madec is too important to sit in jail, he decides to eliminate the only witness to the crime, Ben.
The plot opens up with successful Los Angeles lawyer and hunter named Madec, who hires a timid college student to help him find bighorn sheep in the nearby Mojave Desert after receiving a rare permit to hunt them. Ben has experience working in the desert as he is studying to be a geologist, but he is also low on money, so he accepts. Madec shoots a female Big Horn. It is against the law to shoot a female Big Horn things take a deadly turn Madec accidentally shoots an old prospector, as he was a man of importance who does not have time to sit in jail. Ben thinks that the honest thing to do is for the two of them to report the accidental shooting, and although Madec tries to reason with him, Ben remains stubborn and refuses to comply with Madec. As a result, Madec gives Ben two choices. Madec could shoot Ben on the spot, or Ben could make an attempt to escape the desert by walking 45 miles to the nearest highway without clothes, food or water. Worst of all, Madec would make sure Ben wouldn't make it and that he would be watching him the whole way and aiming at him with his .358 Norma Magnum. Ben tries to climb a butte and signal for help while finding water on it, but is shot in the arm by Madec causing him to fall and injuring his back. Now time is running out as he begins to hallucinate, suffering from dehydration, hunger, sunburn, gunshots, and heat. However, Ben gets the upper hand when he finds water in a cave and eats a lizard and hunts some birds with the prospector's slingshot. Later, Madec attempts to scale the butte where Ben's cave is. However, Ben buries himself in the sand and breathes through the tubes of his slingshot. While Madec is on the other side of the butte, Ben unearths himself and creates a distraction by setting Madec's tent on fire. This brings Madec closer and allows Ben to, using the slingshot, shoot several buckshots into Madec. Ben overpowers Madec, ties him up, and escapes the desert in his Jeep CJ.[unreliable source?]