Monday, September 24, 2012

Bookish Thoughts: Sweat by Mark Gilleo

Sweat by Mark Gilleo
Story Plant, 2012 (ISBN-13: 978-1611880519)
Crime Fiction; 366 pgs
It’s been awhile since I last read a political thriller.  This one had a lot going on and quite a few smarmy characters.   
From the Publisher:
When Jake Patrick took a summer internship at his estranged father’s corporation, he anticipated some much-needed extra cash and a couple of free meals from his guilty dad. He would never have guessed that he'd find himself in the center of an international scandal involving a U.S. senator, conspiracy, backroom politics, and murder. Or that his own life would hang in the balance. Or that he’d find help – and much more than that – from a collection of memorable characters operating on all sides of the law. Jake’s summer has turned into the most eventful one of his life. Now he just needs to survive it.
From the sweatshops of Saipan to the most powerful offices in Washington, SWEAT rockets through a story of crime and consequences with lightning pacing, a twisting plot, an unforgettable cast of characters, and wry humor. It is another nonstop thriller from one of the most exciting new voices in suspense fiction.
Mark Gilleo takes his time setting up the story and introducing the characters.  It by no means slowed the story down, however.   If anything, it built a good foundation, especially given everything going on in the novel.   And there was A LOT going on.   I was particularly drawn to the story of Wei Ling, the seamstress in the sweat shop and her plight.  She was being held prisoner against her will and forced to endure terrible circumstances.  I thought the way her fellow seamstresses attempted to come to her aid initially was ingenious and gutsy.

Many of the characters were well developed, the author getting into their heads about why they made the choices they did.  Still, I really wanted to know Jake more—he at times seemed too perfect.  He was the character, however, to which I most identified.  He and Kate, another character I wouldn’t have minded getting to know better.   Jake clearly has a good heart, wanting to do what is right.  Jake’s dad, Peter Winthrop, was a much more complex character.  He’s a person who likes to bend the rules.  I admit I didn’t like him from the start and never really warmed to him.  I’m not sure I was meant to.  Even so, I was fascinated by the man and curious as to the direction his and Jake’s relationship would go.

Which also has me thinking about Lee Chang and his father’s relationship.  The two men, like Jake and his father, seem to have a somewhat estranged relationship.  Lee Chang, being in Saipan, as sort of a punishment for a past failure.  He feels the need to prove his worth –and value to his father.  Jake, on the other hand, never really seemed like someone with something to prove.  He obviously wanted to get to know his father better, learn what kind of man he was, but he had no delusions as to what he would find.  Nor did he seem all that surprised. 

The conditions in the sweatshop in Saipan were quite different from the lifestyle led by those pulling the strings, both in Saipan, China and Washington D.C.  It was hard to feel sorry for the blackmailed Senator Day given his actions and attitude.  If anything I felt bad for his wife and unborn child.

The author has a gift for storytelling and bringing multiple story lines together.  The tension increased as the novel went on, really taking off during second half of the novel.  I found Sweat to be an entertaining read overall.  I really hope the author explores Kate and Jake’s relationship further in a future book, as well as Kate’s family. I see a lot of potential there, especially since it seems as if there is more to the Sorrentinos than first meets the eye.

Rating: * (Good +)

To learn more about Mark Gilleo and his books, please visit the author's website.

I hope you will check out what others had to say about Sweat on the Partners in Crime Tour route!





Many thanks to the Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for the opportunity to be a part of this book tour. E-copy of Sweat provided by publisher.


© 2012, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

12 comments:

  1. I've seen other reviews of this one...maybe over at Caite's? It sounds really good (even though political thrillers are not my favorite genre). Lots going on here.

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    1. Sandy - Political thrillers are not my go to novels, but I like reading one occasionally. I liked the author's style of writing with this one and would be interested in reading more by him in the future.

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  2. I agree with you, he is a master story teller. I, too, really enjoyed this book. Very nice review and post. Thank you.

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    1. Cheryl - I really like his style. I will have to go back and read his earlier book now!

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  3. It sounds like although this was a political thriller, that there was a lot of interpersonal stuff going on in it as well, and I am really excited about that. I love a good political story with characters that you can root for, so this one sounds really wonderful to me. Great review today!

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    1. Heather - Yes! The author did go beyond the basic political thriller story line and delved into the characters personal relationships and lives more. It's what drew me to the book once I began reading.

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  4. I like political thrillers but this not calling my name.

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    1. Stacy - I understand. Political thrillers can be hit and miss with me. And this one was pretty dark.

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  5. Sounds like one worth adding to my list.

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    1. Kathleen - I hope you enjoy it if you do read it!

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