Cover Image: Redemption

Redemption

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I found Mike Lawson through the Joe DeMarco series which I can not get enough off.  This was not a Joe DeMarco story.  It started very slow.  I did not feel had enough in the end. I would have like a few more details in the end.
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Although having credibility problems with this one (a secretive financial research company hires someone who has played the stock trading world and got caught in fraud) .. and I guess the gimmick of excess secrecy is one strong foundational element In this narrative,  I still found it slick and well done... breaking rules to tell the point of a story always makes it feel weaker however but that's the gimmick!
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Jamison Maddox was convicted of insider trading and lost his license. He turned state's' evidence against the others involved and only spent a few months is prison. Now, he is unemployable until an old man approaches him and asks him to work for his company in a very small Illinois town called Redemption. Maddox does research for the company morning, noon and night and begins to chafe, living in the boring Midwest, he longs for New York. He is primed for an affair with the beautiful wife of one of the company's executives. But, Gillian has other plans and they do not include staying in Redemption or staying with Maddox. Maddox gets his cousin to investigate the company and she discovers it is a front for something else entirely, and the company is prepared to kill to keep its secrets. Not as good as his Joe DeMarco books, but an interesting read.
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Loved it! As a major fan of Mike Lawson's work,Redemption was a nice departure from the usual Washington scene where his Rematch books are set. While I missed some of the old characters like Mahoney this was still an enjoyable read!
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Redemption by Mike Lawson is a fast paced, action packed interesting novel.. The plot is as mysterious as all of the characters and situations depicted in the book. Not only does it keep the reader guessing as to what is happening but also the reasons why.

Jamison Maddox, our hero, is a former Goldman Sachs successful trader who is down on his luck due to an insider trading scandal in which he cooperated with the authorities in exchange for no prison term. He finally finds and accepts a new position in Redemption, Illinois at a menial level and a lower salary. Along the way he uncovers several discrepancies and unusual deaths in the investigations he pursues, finds himself in a sexual relationship with a married co-worker, becomes involved in family problems and, finally, is sought by his employer who wants him terminated.

I thank NetGalley and Grove Atlantic for the opportunity to read and review this book prior to its publication.
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Jamison Maddox is a former employee of Goldman Sachs in Manhattan who is guilty of insider trading and more. When he was approached by the government to testify against his supervisor and the two other senior executives involved, he was forced to plead guilty himself in order to avoid prison time. Jamison is not only a pariah on Wall Street but among his friends and acquaintances. His long-time girlfriend left him, and is currently engaged to his former best friend. He is approached in a small diner by a mysterious elderly man named Claud Drexler who owns a company named “Drexel Limited.” Claud is interviewing him for a job in Redemption, Illinois, which is paying $120,000.00 per year. Claud not only knows he’s a felon, he knows every detail of Jamison’s life, and has no qualms about hiring him for select clients to whom he would prove very useful. Claud assures him the position is for the purpose of financial research with no illegal activity. The protagonist becomes part of the intricate web woven by Claud Drexel, and is the small cog in the much larger machine. 

“Redemption,” moves along at a very quick pace. It’s a well-written, interesting novel of insider trading and crime, of deceiving and being deceived, of trusting someone who offers you a second chance, and the importance of family. The mention of well-known companies and organizations provide a very real feel and believability to the story; its intelligent writing illustrates intimate knowledge of and/or excellent research on the subject matter. I loved the double-entendre of the title. While I’m not a huge fan of trading, I still enjoyed this work, and would be interesting in reading other books of suspense by Mike Lawson.

I’d like to thank NetGalley, Mike Lawson, and Atlantic Monthly Press/Grove Atlantic for allowing me to read this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Something is definitely not right in Redemption, Illinois.  To Jamison, convicted of insider trading, the job at Drexler seems like a relief- a place to work (albeit with restrictions) and make some money.  Canny readers of this genre know, however, that not all is as it seems on the surface and Jamison quickly discovers that there's a problem. A  big problem because people connected to his research project are dying.  Then there's Gillian, the wife of his boss.  They fall for one another and when the pressure amps up on Jamison, take off.  And so do the bad guys, who are chasing them because they hold the information that can't get out.  No spoilers from me.  Lawson has a good way with suspense and he amps up the tensions.  This takes some twists and turns until......Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.  A fast, entertaining read.
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Published by Atlantic Monthly Press on April 5, 2022

Jamison Maddox’s mother and uncle are wealthy, but he is proud of his independence. He makes a healthy salary on Wall Street until he goes to prison for insider trading. When he gets out, his mother won’t support him and he’s too proud to ask his uncle. Felons can’t easily get jobs in finance — not unless they’re connected, anyway — so Jamison grudgingly accepts an unsolicited offer to work in Redemption, Illinois for a low six-figure salary. Jamison’s job is to do financial research and to keep the results confidential. Very confidential.

Jamison is never told a client’s identity or why he’s conducting the research. He’s on the second floor and has no access to the third floor, where employees presumably have those answers. The first floor is devoted to security, which is tight: regular polygraph tests, periodic searches of cellphones and home computers. The first rule of working at Drexler Limited is don’t talk about Drexler Limited. Not even to other employees of Drexler.

Having little else to do in a small town, Jamison begins an affair with his boss’ beautiful wife, who also works at Drexler. About the time that Jamison learns some dark secrets about Drexler, Gillian Lang convinces him to run away with her. They need to abandon their lives and find new identities because, if Drexler catches them, they’re dead. Why they face that threat is not immediately clear, although it is obvious from the start that Drexler is a shady operation.

Some readers might have sympathy for Gillian. She was raised in (and feels stifled by) a life of crime. She is, however, rather manipulative and has internalized the belief that crime is an appropriate means of achieving personal comfort. If Drexler would let her out more, she’d probably be fine with her life.

Some readers might have sympathy for Jamison. He’s a bit spoiled and entitled but he’s minor league as financial criminals go. He’s also dealt with his circumstances — both his privileged life and his downfall — in ways that suggest he is governed by a loose code of decency. I was indifferent to both characters apart from admiring their remarkable luck as they endeavor to stay alive.

A few other characters are differentiated by their personalities. The ruthless head of Drexler feels no remorse but is grateful for the good life that Drexler has given him. Jamison’s rich mother is self-centered and loathsome; his rich uncle is friendly and helpful; his uncle’s daughter is autistic and resourceful. Jamison’s uncle is probably the only character in the novel a reader might want to know.

The story suffers from a weak ending and an improbable premise. The novel’s resolution seems too easy given the turmoil that precedes it. A character’s ability to negotiate immunity with no evidence that he has anything of value to offer suggests a failure to understand how federal prosecutors work. The full truth about Drexler, revealed in the novel’s last pages, is difficult to swallow. Those weaknesses aside, Mike Lawson sustained my interest by never making the novel’s direction or outcome obvious. I would give the novel a wavering thumbs up, but Redemption is not in the same league as Lawson’s recent Joe DeMarco novels.

RECOMMENDED
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I have never read any books by Mike Lawson but based solely on this book I will changing that fact.

Jamison Maddox a convicted felon finds himself working for a firm in Redemption after no one else will hire him. That is where the fun starts. Right from the get go Jamison feels that something is off little does he know how bad it will get. Lawson does a great job with Jamison and I could not help but like him warts and all. I found it really hard to warm to the other key characters in the novel but that only adds to the enjoyment of the novel

This is a well paced thriller with the action and the danger ramping up as the story slowly unfolds. Jamison and in fact the reader are lead on a merry dance and the conclusion - well I did not see that coming at all. This is a well constructed novel with some really great characters and well worth the read.

Thanks to NetGalley, the publisher and the author for the chance to read this wonderful novel
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I have not read any previous books by this author, I may have to rectify that, this was a good book.  Jamison is an ex con, he and some partners at a hedge fund they all worked at took advantage of some insider knowledge and got caught, in lieu of no prison sentence, Jamison has a criminal record and little money.  He's offered a job, out of the blue, in Redemption, IL, working for a company he has never heard of doing background research on various companies, he is not told who the client is or why they want the information, just to do it, don't tell anybody, don't talk to anyone about the company, and pass a polygraph when randomly asked.  Things go well to begin, he's given a few companies to research, then notices that weird things happen to those companies, his suspicions are heightened.  He also meets and becomes friendly with Gillian who happens to be married to Jamison's boss and she makes no bones that she wants him and he doesn't say no. Gillian eventually tells him about the company he works for, not all of it, but enough to convince him to take off with her, knowing that the company will send enforcers after them and probably kill them both.  Gillian and Jamison elude the enforcers travelling across the county to Oregon, things come to a head there.  This book held my interest and I was cheering for them to have the happily ever after.  You should read the book to find out if they get it.  Thank you to #Netgalley and #Atlantic Monthly Press for the ARC.
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I was disappointed by this book which is THE FIRM writ small - a small firm in a small city doing bad stuff - and I can't believe the premise. Jamison Maddox is hired for a low pay, no visibility job as a researcher for an invisible firm located in the middle of nowhere Illinois. Most of what he does is internet work that could be done just as anonymously by researchers from any of the online gig work sites. I've hired similar researchers from Upwork, for example. To do deep research, of the kind that skirts on illegal, other skills are needed, and they must be exercised by a person with money and a reputation, and who is based in a financial hot-spot city. Jamison's personal reputation was damaged by an inside trading scandal but that is not the kind of damage that worries many investment types. Some kinds of inside trading that are illegal in the USA aren't illegal in other countries. The damage to Jamison's reputation is more likely to be that he got caught.  He would not be able to work for the big firms, but there are lots of little ones that do specialized work that could use his high-level skills. Regardless of who hired him, Maddox can't get the goods on firms and people without schmoozing and he needs to be in a city for that. He needs good clothes and an open pocket.  So while the rest of the book is a good thriller, I don't find it satisfying.
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Jamison Maddox is a high-flying Wall Street financier whose life comes crashing down.  He manages to avoid jail time but as a felon he is now all but unemployable.  Until he receives a job offer for a company in the aptly-named Redemption, Illinois.  He soon realizes all is not above-board at his new company, and he and his mistress go on the run, staying one step ahead of his crooked employer.  A fast-paced romp which had me frantically flipping the pages to find out whether Jamison would be able to extricate himself from this predicament before the bad guys got to him.
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First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Mike Lawson, Grove Atlantic and Atlantic Monthly Press for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

Long a fan of Mike Lawson and his writing, I was eager to get my hands on his latest book. A standalone, rather than his long-running Joe DeMarco series, I wondered how Lawson would handle this chance to step away from the world of politics and ‘fixing’. Jamison Maddox had it all in the world of finance, but got a little greedy and it almost cost him everything. When he receives a random invite to join a company in the middle of nowhere, he is leery, but accepts the offer. What follows is a job where he does odd research for his boss, without knowing much of anything, nor is he allowed to share with anyone. After falling for someone in town and agreeing to flee, Maddox risks it all, his life included, to stay one step ahead of his crooked employer and those sent to find him. Lawson does a magnificent job with this standalone and offers the reader a real treat in his latest novel. 

Jamison Maddox lived the high life of finance in New York, all before it came crashing down and he faced jail time. Able to weasel his way out of prison, Maddox seeks a new life to reinvent himself. When he is approached to join an elusive company in Redemption, Illinois, he reluctantly agrees. It is only then that he realises that this is not your usual company.

Tasked with completing research without asking questions about clients or colleagues, Maddox begins to wonder if everything is entirely above board. Still, he does the work asked of him, though he soon finds himself drawn to his colleague, Gillian Jamison, who happens to be the wife of his immediate superior. Together, they agree that something is off and they can no longer stay in Redemption, worried that they might get caught up in a web of lies and illegal activity. 

While many would think leaving a job would be the end of it, Maddox and Gillian soon learn that the work they did was part of a larger criminal scheme, and death is the only way to ensure their silence. While they remain on the lam, both must dodge those sent to terminate them once and for all. Unsure who he can trust, Jamison Maddox tries to find safety and must devise a plan to share what he knows before he, or his family, face the ultimate consequence. Mike Lawson does a fabulous job spinning this tale and it is sure to keep the reader up well into the night.

I have long enjoyed the Joe DeMarco series that Mike Lawson has been developing for many years. Still, it was nice to get out of that framework for a new and unique thriller by the author. Lawson has invested a great deal of time and effort into making this as strong as his series work, succeeding in ways I could not imagine. A strong story with well-established characters, Lawson offers the reader a gem in this piece, which is sure to make a mark within the genre!

Jamison Maddox might not be entirely unique as a character, but his impact is seen throughout this story. His backstory is developed in the early part of the novel, which sets the stage for some great advancements. Lawson develops his protagonist well, without going over the top. There is much to the man and his skills, but also some of the weaknesses work well to establish relatable flaws. Maddox assumes the role of hero, whistleblower, and man on the run in equal measure throughout, while also falling into the odd trap when blinded by lust. Lawson has done well with him, as well as many of the other key characters in this piece.

Authors who are well-established can sometimes rest on their laurels and use fame to push them forward, Mike Lawson does not do that, choosing to keep reinventing himself with ease novel he releases. This was another winner, with a great narrative that flowed throughout the ups and downs of the story. Developing some key characters helped set the foundation for a strong story and permitted key plot lines to push the novel in various directions. Mike Lawson has something for everyone in this piece, which takes the reader on an adventure like no other. Those who love his series work will likely also enjoy this piece, which has some of the same high-impact action throughout its pages.

Kudos, Mr. Lawson, for another great novel. I can only hope others will see what I did and grab this book when time permits.
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When I saw Redemption by Mike Lawson on Net Galley, I was so excited.  I have read all the Joe Demarco books and enjoyed all of them.  This book is different.  Jamison Maddox is a convicted felon who gets a job in Redemption. There are a lot of restrictions – no personal cell or computer but it is his last chance.   He does research for the company, but he quickly realizes that something is not right 
When Jamison falls in love with Gillian a beautiful co worker who is married to his boss, they decide to run away together.   Now the story really starts. 
I enjoyed the story – Jamison reminded me of Joe Demarco in a way.  I read quickly and recommend it.
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I have read many of Mike Lawson political thrillers and liked them.  This one is totally different but fantastic.  Our protagonist, Jamison, is a young man with a felony record who can't find a job in his field.  He is recruited to work for a company in a small town in Illinois.  It's a cheaper place to live so he can afford to take a lower salary.  He has to promise secrecy plus a lot of other odd things like no private cell phone.  As I started reading this it reminded me of the Stepford Wives.  But, it takes a turn that is very dark.  People from the company die or disappear.  The CEO seems to know every ones' secrets.   Jamison runs away and we learn more about the company.  Suspenseful!
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This is a well written story, entertaining to read, even if the plot isn't very believable and not always logical.
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I was a fan of Lawson's early Joe DeMarco novels, but I thought the series had rather lost its way in the last few titles. It felt like he'd become bored with DeMarco and was trying to write about a new character without changing DeMarco's name by putting him in places wildly out of sync with the political context that was the core of the early novels. It was therefore with equal amounts of interest and trepidation that I approached Lawson's new standalone novel. Was this going to be something fresh that sparkled the way the early DeMarco's did?

Nope. Not a bad novel, really, but not nearly as good as the early DeMarco's either. The setup and the plotting are the book's strengths. The characters and their often flat dialogue are its weakness. The characters did some interesting stuff in a narrative that kept you reading to see what the next plot twist would be, but they just weren't interesting people with whom you could establish a relationship you much cared about. I could relate to Joe DeMarco, but the characters here were all too much to the cartoony side to produce anything like the same feeling. 

Halfway between three and four stars really, but I'll call it four out of respect for Lawson's earlier work.
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Truly gripping, this book offers a fast paced and credible plot line with a range of intriguing and engaging characters.
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After testifying against fellow Wall Street workers, a largely unemployable Jamison Maddox takes a smaller job in Redemption, Illinois, for a mysterious company. Author Mike Lawson, famous for his Joe DeMarco novels, tries something different in Redemption, and it is a success.
Just about everyone who works with Jamison is up to no good. When he falls in love with a married co-worker, he begins to escape the confines of his new job. Lawson takes the story through some interesting developments, and I was eager to read along. Kudos!
Thanks NetGalley for the ARC.
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In taking a break from his hugely successful Joe DeMarco series, the author is taking a chance. but it was a chance we’ll worth taking. When convicted felon and money man Jamison is released from prison, no one will risk hiring him except a secretive firm In Redemption, Illinois. The longer he works, the more he questions their activities. When he and his “girlfriend” escape, all ‘heck’ breaks loose. Staying a step ahead of the bad guys leads to some scary situations which the author handles expertly.
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