Sweat by Mark Gilleo
Publication date: August 28, 2012
Publisher: The Story Plant
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.
Jake Patrick is a relatively naive young man as he still sees things in black and white, good or bad. After the death of his mother, Jake contacts his estranged father and requests a job for the summer. His plan is to learn a bit more about his father’s import/export business, save some money, and go back to graduate school. Unfortunately for Jake, this summer is going to be hot in ways more than just the temperature.
Jake’s father, Peter Winthrop, is considered the proverbial “middleman” in the import-export business. He helps link businesses meet the supply-demand requests around the world. One such business is Chang Industries, a clothing production facility, located on Saipan on the Mariana Islands. The advantage Chang Industries (a Chinese owned and operated facility) has by being on the Mariana Islands is that they can compete by legitimately being branded as “made in America” as the Mariana Islands is an American territory. Earlier that summer Peter Winthrop had traveled to the Mariana Islands with a Massachusetts senator, in order to videotape Chang Industries for an upcoming senate vote on overseas wage legislation. Unbeknownst to the senator (or perhaps he’s simply unwilling to accept and admit), Chang Industries is a sweat shop that basically brings in young women from China and other Asian countries, to work in harsh conditions and reside as virtual prisoners. Some of these women are even forced into prostitution on behalf of the company. One such girl is Wei Ling, a seamstress that is forced to “serve” the needs of the senator and Peter. This one night results in international intrigue that results in blackmail, kidnaping and murder with Jake being caught in the middle of it all.
In more ways than one, the title Sweat seems to refer to not only the sweat shop but also the fact that Jake is constantly sweating as he tries to stay one step ahead of his father and bad guys. It may also reference several other characters sweating out their illegal behavior and resulting consequences. If the international aspects of the story aren’t enough, Mr. Gilleo adds another layer of “sweat” by creating tension between Jake’s new girlfriend, Kate Sorrentino, and her connected father. The only person Jake can count on throughout his investigation into his father’s business, legal and otherwise, is a homeless former government information specialist. As the death toll mounts, will Jake be able to steer clear of his father? Can he obtain the documentation needed to prove what is going on with the senator and Chang Industries? And more important, can he stay one step ahead of the bad guys?
Mr. Gilleo has crafted a fast-paced thriller with Sweat. He provides glimpses of the behind-the-scene political machinations in Washington, D.C. with the plotting, planning and actions of Senator Day. He also gives a glimpse into the dirty world of sweat shops and illegal imports. Throughout all the international intrigue and thrills, Mr. Gilleo has provided the reader with a character to cheer for with Jake Patrick. I think that Jake’s naïveté is what makes him so believable. Sweat is filled with a variety of characters, good and bad, but all are realistic in their actions. If you enjoy international intrigue, murder, mayhem, political scandal and a bit of romance, then Sweat is the perfect read for you. This was a fast and enjoyable read. I look forward to reading more from Mr. Gilleo.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free for review purposes from the publisher through NetGalley. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”