Sweat: A Thriller by Mark Gilleo
Story Plant, ISBN 978-1611880519
August 28, 2012, 366 pages
It has been a rough few years for Jake Patrick, caring for his mother as she suffers from cancer.
Now that she has died, he finds himself in debt and looking for a way to get his life back on track and return to graduate school. So, even though he is not thrilled with the idea, he goes to his estranged father, a very wealthy, very successful businessman, to ask for a summer job. Yes, he is not above using a bit of his father's guilt to get back on his feet and put a few bucks away to continue toward his dream of being an English professor.
It first, things seem to be going OK. He really does not know his father that well, is not really even aware of what his father's corporation does and learning about the business and his father is appealing. The power, the money can be a bit intoxicating. But it is not long before he starts to see below the surface and it is not a pretty sight. Before he really knows what is going on, Jake finds himself in the middle of a huge conspiracy involving overseas sweatshops, hitmen, the Mob, the highest level of American politics and an international scandal that may destroy the lives and careers of many. And may leave Jake among the victims.
I must say, this was a very entertaining book, a very well written and, maybe sadly, totally believable thriller. I say sadly, because it makes you realize some of the more distasteful things in the book, the sweatshops, the wheeling dealing corrupt politicians, the corporate heads with questionable morals are all too real in our all too real world.
Mr. Gilleo is able to capture all that, and yet do it in a way that still leaves the reader with an entertaining and not too dark plot.
He creates some great characters, the good, like Jake and former CIA agent/homeless man Al and the bad, like Mountain of Shanghai...and a few I will not spoil the story by revealing. The dialogue is very realistic, the plot tight and fast paced.
What, did I have no issues?
Well, there were a couple that almost had me throwing the book down about halfway through.
You may remember my recent rant against preaching in books. Yes, no doubt the author wants to express a certain opinion, but whether I agree or disagree with it, a long, long paragraph with a speech, just drives me mad. In this case (p.255) it is about exploiting foreign workers, but it does not really matter what the subject is. What matter is that it always takes me out of the book, breaks that little book trance the reader should be in.
Following on a scene with a Catholic priest that just about had me screaming..to think that interchange between Jake and his, or really his mother's, priest is something that would actually take place is more about expressing the author's own opinion on the matter at hand that the Church's. Again, it just felt so false. Maybe I just want authors to be a little more subtle about appearing in their own creation and don't hit us over the head.
But I didn't throw the book against the wall and I was happy I did not, because this is a good book, one, with those few reservations, I would certainly recommend. And if I had, I would have missed a very good ending!
It is a good thriller, fast paced, well written with a very timely story to tell and one I think the reader will enjoy.
I received a copy of this book as part of the Partner's in Crime Virtual Book Tour. Stop by and check out a few of the other stops, read some more review, some excerpts and author interviews.