Following a career in the Navy, expat Jay Bradley finds himself in the Philippines working as a papasan at The Lounge, a go-go club in Angeles City. He takes his job to watch over the girls in the club seriously, but gets especially close to young Isabel, who reminds him of the step-daughter from his failed marriage.
Like most of the girls working the clubs of Angeles City, Isabel dreams of meeting a man who will sweep her off her feet and take her away from the life of a club dancer – and “escort” – on infamous Fields Avenue. When businessman Larry Adams comes into their lives, suddenly both Jay and Isabel are complete. The three of them form a bond – Larry and Jay as friends, Isabel and Larry as lovers – that seems too good to be true.
And of course it is. Told primarily in flashbacks, the book opens and sets the scene with an older Jay returning to the Philippines to sell his part-ownership in The Lounge, as well as to track down Isabel to find closure about the events that ripped their lives apart, and cost Larry his. (That is not a spoiler.)
For most people (I presume) the seedy world of the sex-trade in the Philippines is about as foreign as it gets. Author Brett Battles, however, manages to paint such a vivid picture of Angeles City and Fields Avenue the reader not only feels as if they were there, but actually has a feeling of comfort about what should be an uncomfortable locale, coming to both love and hate the place as much as the characters. Battles also pays such amazing attention to character development I honestly not only felt as though I knew these people, but I legitimately cared about them. Reading the flashbacks about how their lives unfolded – and knowing something ominous was going to happen to destroy it – became an exercise in both love and dread.
The Pull of Gravity is a candid look at love, loss, and healing, and though it is undeniably a very different work than Battles’ previous action/thriller novels such as the Jonathan Quinn and Logan Harper series, it stands as irrefutable proof that a talented author isn’t hemmed in by a genre… a good writer can just flat out write, and The Pull of Gravity is just flat out good.