Monday, January 19, 2015

Watch Me Go

Watch Me Go by Mark Wisniewski
Penguin Group: 1/22/2015
eBook, 320 pages
ISBN-13: 9780399172120
Douglas “Deesh” Sharp has managed to stay out of trouble living in the Bronx, paying his rent by hauling junk for cash. But on the morning Deesh and two pals head upstate to dispose of a sealed oil drum whose contents smell and weigh enough to contain a human corpse, he becomes mixed up in a serious crime. When his plans for escape spiral terribly out of control, Deesh quickly finds himself a victim of betrayal—and the prime suspect in the murders of three white men. 
When Jan, a young jockey from the gritty underworld of the Finger Lakes racetrack breaks her silence about gambling and organized crime, Deesh learns how the story of her past might, against all odds, free him from a life behind bars.
Interweaving Deesh’s and Jan’s gripping narratives, Watch Me Go is a wonderfully insightful work that examines how we love, leave, lose, redeem, and strive for justice. At once compulsively readable, thought-provoking, and complex, it is a suspenseful, compassionate meditation on the power of love and the injustices of hate. 

My Thoughts:

Watch Me Go by Mark Wisniewski is a highly recommended novel that intertwines the hard facts of a crime novel with literary character studies.

Jan Price, comes to visit Douglas "Deesh" Sharp in prison. Deesh is an African-American who has been charged with the murders of three men. Jan says she can provide proof that will exonerate him of the murder of jockey Tom Corcoran, but first she needs to know that he didn't kill the other two men. At this point Wisniewski alternates chapters between the perspective of the two main characters as they look at their past and the choices they have made that resulted in their meeting.

The first chapter is Deesh's story about riding along with two old basketball buddies, Bark and James, hoping to earn a little cash. When the three are paid a grand to dispose of a sealed barrel that, though it is never said, everyone knew contained a body. The three dumped the barrel in a wooded area and then hit the race track taking a gamble that they can win even more betting on the horses and then they can make a break for it. Things quickly begin to spiral out of control for Deesh.

Jan's chapters recount her dealings with the Corcoran family. Jan and her mother moved from Arkansas to stay with friends Tom and Colleen Corcoran, on their son Tug's horse farm, As Jan  hopes to become a jockey like her father, she also starts to realize she has feelings for Tug. There is a lot of information about horse racing and gambling included in Watch Me Go.

Wisniewski skillfully handles the nuances in developing the personalities of each of his characters. Although both characters make bad choices, I think you will come to understand why they made the choices they did and how they were both reacting to the actions of others around them. They were both desperate and afraid. Good people can have bad things happen to them, and tragically it can leave them lost and searching.

I thought the writing was brilliant, especially in how the characters were developed and in the clarity of their separate, distinct voices. I care very little for gambling or horse racing, which are very prevalent, but the information you need can easily be assimilated enough to allow you to appreciate the larger story without trying to bog yourself down in remembering detailed racing facts. Wisniewski also does an admirable job describing the setting.

There were a few minor glitches in Watch Me Go, but, as a whole this is a fine literary suspense novel in contrast to a boiler plate crime novel

Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of Penguin Group for review purposes.

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