by Mark Gilleo


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Sweat by Mark Gilleo

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.Finalist: 2014 International Book Awards

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781611880519
Publisher: Story Plant
Publication date: 08/28/2012
Pages: 366
Sales rank: 839,594
Product dimensions: 8.90(w) x 6.00(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Mark Gilleo has a graduate degree in international business from the University of South Carolina and an undergraduate degree in business from George Mason University. He enjoys traveling, hiking and biking. He speaks Japanese. A fourth-generation Washingtonian, he currently resides in the DC area.

His books have received numerous awards and literary recognition, including: Winner of a National Indie Excellence Awards. Winner of the 2014 Beach Book Festival. Finalist in the 2014 International Book Awards. Runner-Up for Fiction in the San Francisco Book Festival and the New York Book Festival. Finalist and semi-finalist in the William Faulkner-Wisdom creative writing competition.

Read an Excerpt

As the van pulled away in a small cloud of dust, the senator inspected the main guard booth and the now present guard. Lee Chang took Peter by the arm and stepped away. The sweatshop boss dropped his voice to a whisper and looked over Peter’s shoulder as he spoke, “Interested in the usual companionship?”

Peter, in turn, looked over at the senator who looked back and nodded in approval to the conversation he couldn’t hear but fully understood. “Is Wei Ling available?” Peter asked as if ordering his favorite wine from the menu.

“Yes, of course. Wei is available. Shall I find a companion for the senator as well?”

“Yes, the senator would enjoy some company. Someone with a good command of English. I don’t think he wants to spend the evening playing charades,” Peter responded.

“No, I’m sure he wouldn’t.” Lee Chang smiled, nodded, and barked at Chow Ying in Chinese. The large subordinate walked across the front lot of Chang Industries, down the side of the main building, and vanished into the seamstresses’ two-story living quarters. The CEO, senator, and sweatshop ruler went upstairs to wait.

Traditional Chinese furnishings cluttered Lee Chang’s living room.

“Nice piece,” the senator said, running his hands across a large black cabinet with twelve rows and columns of square drawers.

Peter spoke. “It’s an antique herbal medicine cabinet. The Chinese characters written on the front of each drawer indicate the contents.”

“Tattooed reminders of a former life,” the senator said with poetic license.

Lee Chang stepped over and pulled open one of the drawers. “And now it holds my DVD collection.”

“Modernization never stops,” Peter added.

The three men found their way to the living room and Peter and Senator Day sat on the sofa. Lee took a seat on a comfortable wooden chair, small cylindrical pillows made from the finest Chinese silk supporting his arms.

The middle-aged woman who entered the room to serve tea didn’t speak. She had standing orders not to interrupt when her boss’s guests were wearing suits. The senator watched the woman skillfully pour tea from a blue and white ceramic teapot. He wondered if the woman was Lee Chang’s lover. Peter knew Lee’s taste ran much younger.

The intercom came to life on the wall near the door and Chow Ying announced that the ladies were ready. A brief exchange followed in rapid-fire Chinese before Lee Chang ended the conversation abruptly, flipping the intercom switch off.

“Gentlemen, if you are ready, the car is waiting.”

The senator took the front seat next to Chow Ying. Peter gladly sat in the back seat, squeezing in between the two beautiful Asian women. As he got comfortable in the rear of the car, Wei Ling whispered in his ear, her lips tickling his lobe. Peter smiled as his lover’s breath blew on his neck.

Shi Shi Wong, the senator’s date for the evening, looked up at the seamstresses’ quarters as the car began to move. She spotted several faces pressed against the glass of a second floor window and fought the urge to wave.

By the time the black Lincoln exited the gate of Chang Industries, Peter had one arm around each lady. He kept them close enough to feel their bodies move with every bump in the road. He leaned his torso into theirs with every turn of the car.

Peter Winthrop’s favorite table at The Palm was in an isolated corner next to a small balcony overlooking intimidating cliffs thirty yards from the back of the restaurant. A steady breeze pushed through the open French doors that led to the balcony, blowing out the candle in the center of the table as they arrived. Peter asked for recommendations from the chef and ordered for everyone. They had spicy barbecued shrimp for an appetizer, followed by a salad with freshly sliced squid that the senator refused to eat. For the main course, the party of four shared a large red snapper served in a garlic and lemon-based Thai sauce. Copious amounts of wine accompanied every dish.

Chow Ying waited subserviently in the parking lot for over three hours. He fetched two cups of coffee from the back door of the kitchen and drank them in the Lincoln with the driver’s side doors open. With his second cup of coffee, he asked the waiter how much longer he thought the Winthrop party was going to be.

“Another hour at the most,” came the reply.

On the trip back to the hotel, the honorable senator from Massachusetts threw his honorability out the window and sat in the backseat with the ladies. Flirtatious groping ensued, the senator’s hands moving like ivy on human walls. His Rolex came to rest on Wei Ling’s shoulder. His Harvard class ring continued to caress the bare skin on Shi Shi Wong’s neck.

Peter made conversation with Chow Ying as the driver forced himself not to look in the rearview mirror. Peter, never bashful, glanced at Wei Ling on the opposite side of the backseat, their eyes meeting with a twinkle, her lips turning up in a smile for her lover. Peter smiled back.

Wei Ling was beautiful, and a sweetheart, and intriguing enough for Peter to find an excuse to stop in Saipan when he was on business in Asia. He usually brought her a gift, nothing too flashy, but something meaningful enough to keep her compliant in the sack. A dress, lingerie, earrings. He liked Wei Ling, a simple fact tempered by the realism that he was a CEO and she was a third-world seamstress. Pure attraction couldn’t bridge some gaps. But Lee Chang was proud of the fact that Peter had taken a fancy to Wei Ling. It was good business. She was a company asset. He wished he could put her on the corporate balance sheet.

Chow Ying dropped the party of four off at the Ritz, an eight-story oasis overlooking the finest stretch of white sand and blue water on the island. He gave Wei Ling and her sweatshop roommate-turned-prostitute-without-pay a brief command in Chinese and followed with a formal handshake to the senator and Peter. He waited for the four to vanish through the revolving door of the hotel and then pulled the Lincoln into the far corner of the parking lot.

The senator and Peter weaved slightly across the lobby of the hotel. Wei Ling and Shi Shi Wong followed several paces behind. The concierge and hotel manager, jaws dropping momentarily, engaged in a seemingly urgent conversation and didn’t look up until the elevator doors had closed.

Customer Reviews

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Sweat 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 38 reviews.
Hotchpotch More than 1 year ago
Besides grabbing your attention with the complicated and interesting story line, this book shows the real life in a Chinese sweat shop, located on the island of Saipan for legal reasons and giving sweat a total different meaning. After his mother’s death, Jake starts work at his estranged father’s business because he needs the money. He gets that and a whole lot more when he starts caring for the fate of a Chinese girl in the sweat shop in Saipan. He meets a homeless man who is much more than who he seems and who becomes a mentor and leader in Jake’s endeavor. It gives you a different view on homeless people in the process. Of course there is romance involved as well as a good dose of politics. It is all in all a clever plot, put together really well with a healthy dose of humor. A must read for suspense and thriller lovers. I give this book a five out of five stars!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A very good book with political intrigue and plot twists. Well written, with a great cast of characters. I will be reading more from this author
MeteorFlower More than 1 year ago
Mark Gilleo is AMAZING! After his mother’s death, Jake Patrick takes a summer internship at his estranged father’s corporation. What he thought would be a way to get some free meals and much needed cash quickly puts him in the center of an international scandal and his own life could hang in the balance. Once again Mark Gilleo has hit the ball out of the park. It may not be as chillingly close to home as Love Thy Neighbor, but you will still find yourself turning the pages of this book. As with his debut, Sweat is seriously deep and everything is connected. From Jake’s desire to get to know the father he never really knew to caring about a young woman in a sweat shop in Saipan, it all matters. The colorful cast of intriguing characters makes for some sweet and even funny moments mixed in to the complex plot of assassins, senators and homeless men. If you’ve read Love Thy Neighbor, then you were dying for this book to come out and it will leave you wondering what’s to come from this amazing new author. If you’ve only read Sweat, you’ll want to go back and read Love Thy Neighbor, because Mark Gilleo is just amazing. Thank you to Partners In Crime Tours and The Story Plant for the review copy. It in no way influenced my review.
LHedgpeth More than 1 year ago
I love a good thriller and Mark Gilleo, an author previously unknown to me, delivered with Sweat. The title may not sound like your typical run of the mill thriller but dig your heels in and dive headfirst into this book, that will have you rapidly turning page after page, and you will understand where the title derived from and why it is ultimately so appropriate. Jake is a very sympathetic hero and I liked him very much. The rawness of his mother's death from cancer, happening just prior to the beginning of this book, comes across starkly on each page as does his discomfort with his father, Peter. Despite Peter being a fairly unlikable character, his interactions with Jake are among the best in the book, with an equal split of discomfort, resentment and hostility. Mr. Gilleo has a varied assortment of characters present in Sweat but well within reason. There is not a single extraneous or tertiary character in attendance. All of them serve a purpose and help to move the story along. My favorite was a homeless CIA operative who provided some wry humor and a crucial push to the story. And what a story! Sweat certainly has its fair share of action, intrigue, suspense and even espionage. Washington politics are covered but not to the extent that it will be overwhelming if you do not care to read about such matters. The suspense was so taut, so expertly penned, that I honestly had no idea what was going to happen - - to Jake, to his father, to his girlfriend . . . to anyone. I have read a lot of books in my lifetime and it's not easy to keep this reader in the dark and yet Mr. Gilleo managed to do just that. I am surprised that I have not been introduced to Mark Gilleo's work prior to this based on how well written Sweat is. He is a terrific storyteller and a gifted writer and marries the two into a fantastic piece of work that is sure to keep you up to the wee hours to wind your way through the crime and corruption with Jake. If you're looking for a solid thriller that will keep your pulse racing, Sweat is the choice for you. I promise you will not be disappointed. And if Hollywood has any sense, they will option this book immediately. Excellent work, Mr. Gilleo. You have earned a place on my "authors I must read" list. ©Psychotic State Book Reviews, 2012
Dollycas More than 1 year ago
After taking care of his mother through her cancer battle which she lost Jake Patrick is trying to get his life back on track. He decides to take on a summer internship at his estranged father's company. It will give a chance to earn some cash before he heads back to college and he may get to know the man who gave him life. What he never imagined was finding 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. From D.C. to Saipan Jake is just trying to do what's right and doing his best not to get himself and others killed in the process. Mark Gilleo writes about what he knows and makes it entertaining for all of us. You can tell from reading this story he has and international business mind and the author does have a graduate degree in this course of study. This is a complex story that unfolds in a way that will keep you on the edge of your seat. The transitions between Washington D.C. and Saipan are smooth. The characters are rich and Jake Patrick is a character you will love and root for throughout the whole book. Twists, spins, turns, intrigue, conspiracy, corruption, politics, kidnapping, murder, even a bit of humor and romance, this story has it all!!! The story also opened up my eyes more clearly to the past economic driving force of Saipan, the largest island in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, an unincorporated territory of the United Stares. According to Wikipedia on November 28, 2009, the federal government took control of immigration to the Northern Mariana Islands closing garment factories manufacturing for Levi Strauss, Phillips-Van Heusen, Abercrombie & Fitch, L'Oreal subsidiary Ralph Lauren (Polo), Lord & Taylor, Tommy Hilfiger, and Walmart that were driven largely by foreign contract workers (mainly from China) . This story shines a light on these issues in a fictional way we can all understand. Sweatshops! Mark Gilleo is an author to watch and quickly becoming a favorite of mine!
PDM61 More than 1 year ago
I had actually read another book by this author, "Love Thy Neighbor", that I thoroughly enjoyed! After finishing it, I looked for other books by this author and found "Sweat". Like the first book, I was immediately drawn to the characters and subject matter. The stories were loaded with intrigue and suspense! I was pleasantly surprised to read that the author had a graduate degree from the University of SC. We live in Columbia, SC, home to USC and the fighting Gamecocks! To read his books and the references to specific areas in our city was a bonus! I would definitely recommend both of these books and I now have put Mark Gilleo on my "Favorite Authors" list!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Couldn't put it down!
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings A political thriller that takes the reader out of the US into a territory where sweatshops are a normal occurrence and women are a commodity to fill the empty seats in the factories. At the beginning of this book there are some plot lines that are running perpendicular and then all of the sudden they merge to make this full story that was fantastic.
Beauty_in_Ruins More than 1 year ago
With its heady mix of corporate wrongdoings, political scandals, family betrayals, blackmail, and murder, Sweat is a slow-burning thriller that relies largely on the strength of its characters to propel the story along. The plot itself is straightforward and familiar, borrowing from a number of standard scenarios, but the strong thread of morality and justice running through it all keeps the reader engaged beyond the page. Jake is a responsible and upstanding young man, the kind of dutiful son who puts his education, his career, and his very life on hold for the sake of family. He's not perfect, and never come across as holier-than-though, which is why he works as a protagonist. More importantly, in a world of CEOs, senators, spies, billionaires, and sweatshop owners, he and his new girlfriend, Kate, serve to provide the reader with somebody they can identify. Peter, Jake's absent father and CEO of Winthrop Enterprises, is the kind of selfish, arrogant, manipulative, amoral man to who nothing and no one is sacred. He's the kind of man you want desperately to hate, but he's so honest about his own shortcomings, so open about his motivations, that he demands a certain grudging acceptance. On the surface, Senator Day is a bit more human, and a bit more sympathetic, but he's no less despicable for being so opportunistic and ready to betray trusts both public and personal. As for Lee Chang, sweatshop manager, slave-runner, and whore-master, he's just about as stock as villains come. You can almost hear him chewing the scenery. Gilleo knows how to set a scene, and has a flair for dialogue that manages to keep the cultural elements from being trite or blatantly stereotypical. I liked the fact that the emphasis is on the characters, on the human element of the story, as opposed to the gun-porn or techno-absurdity of others in the genre. An altogether solid read, and one with some real moments of excitement and intrigue.
bmitch More than 1 year ago
Thanks to Partners in Crime Tours, I've just read this new novel by Mark Gilleo and I'm glad to be able to bring it to your attention. This is a novel with an agenda but it's one that most of us will agree with, and regardless, the plot will have you on the edge of your seat. The characters are so well drawn that they all seem quite real. The main character is Jake Patrick. He'll be on my mind for a long time. His father had left he and his mother years earlier. Now Jake has dropped out of grad school for a year to care for his dying mother. After her death, he's in, to put it mildly, a pickle. No money, no prospects, lots of bills overdue. With nowhere else to turn, he requests a summer job from his father, Peter Winthrop, a multimillionaire trader. Winthrop is also unscrupulous, getting his millions with absolutely no regard for anyone but himself. The original wheeler-dealer type. But, he gives his son a job and takes him under his wing with an idea toward grooming him to take over the company someday. Meanwhile, a powerful Chinese tycoon's son runs a sweatshop on Saipan, a U.S. Territory. The seamstresses are held prisoner and abused. Winthrop and U.S. Senator John Day visit there to film an idealized version of the shop and then the bigwigs are treated to dinner and "benefits" with two of the beautiful young seamstresses that evening. The results of that evening will threaten to bring down both of them. Jake is definitely the good guy here, and he has a window into what's really going on through his new job and the help of his father's secretary. He also becomes the target of an assassin from China and due to his investigation into a murder in Washington, D.C.'s Chinatown, he is also in danger from that quarter. The Chinatown subplot is another fascinating glimpse into another culture. You'll be on pins and needles wondering if Jake will live through all the danger, but you'll also be cheering him on as he tries to do the right thing for the oppressed. I loved this book. Now I intend to read Gilleo's debut novel called Love Thy Neighbor. Mark Gilleo is a real talent I'll be following for sure. Source: The Story Plant Recommended reading
cindymt More than 1 year ago
Not a particularly appealing title and yet, due to the subject matter, entirely appropriate. Mix sweatshops on American soil, American exporters, Senators (we all know Congress is broken) plus the Mountain of Shanghai, an exporter’s son, a homeless ex-CIA operative plus various and sundry other characters in a close-to-the-headlines story and you’ve got great fun. You feel like you’re racing to the end of the story with the characters. Close to not-able-to-put- it-down territory. Very readable thriller. Received free copy for review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Full of twists and turns, this thriller really thrills. And Mr. Gilleo knows his stuff. I have read his first three novels and enjoyed them all. Now waiting for him to write more! ~*~LEB~*~
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book, though the sweat shop parts make me sad....
JimJF More than 1 year ago
This is a five star mystery writer. I was halfway through Sweat and bought two more works of Gilleo
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Once again the Free Friday blog pick is a great one! This author writes intelligently and includes politics with his suspense. I will be getting more from Mark Gilleo - great author!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nice good read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The plot is simply not believable, & most of the characters are one dimensional stereotypes. Not recommended! by aj west
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book kept the action moving. The characters were well developed with just the correct amount of detail as not to take away or slow down the story. I would recommend reading this to anyone who likes action type stories with a bit of reality.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A lot of political espionage & covering up a senator's "indiscretions..."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like his books. Fast paced.
walc More than 1 year ago