A year ago, fresh out of Harvard Law School, Mike Ford landed his dream job at the Davies Group, Washington’s most powerful consulting firm. Now, he’s staring down the barrel of a gun, pursued by two of the world’s most dangerous men. To get out, he’ll have to do all the things he thought he’d never do again: lie, cheat, steal-and this time, maybe even kill.
Mike grew up in a world of small-stakes con men, learning lessons at his father’s knee. His hard-won success in college and law school was his ticket out. As the Davies Group’s rising star, he rubs shoulders with “The 500,” the elite men and women who really run Washington — and the world. But peddling influence, he soon learns, is familiar work: even with a pedigree, a con is still a con.
Combining the best elements of political intrigue and heart-stopping action, THE 500 is an explosive debut, one that calls to mind classic thrillers like The Firm and Presumed Innocent. In Mike Ford, readers will discover a new hero who learns that the higher the climb, the harder — and deadlier — the fall.
About Matthew Quirk
Matthew Quirk studied history and literature at Harvard College. After graduation, he spent five years at The Atlantic reporting on crimes, private military contractors, the opium trade, terrorism prosecutions, and international gangs. He lives in Washington, D.C.
Mike Ford thinks he’s got it made working for Henry Davies, who shuttles between jobs as a distinguished Harvard professor and a seasoned “fixer” in Washington who worked for Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon. Ford’s $200,000 salary will chase away his massive college debt, Davies’ influence promises to get his con-man father out of prison, and a beautiful senior consultant named Annie is his for the asking. Not bad for a scuffling blue-collar kid whose life seemed headed in another direction when he joined the Navy at 19. But it isn’t long before Ford detects hidden agendas behind his assignment of cozying up to and collecting secrets about a congressman. He starts spying on his bosses, attaching GPS devices to cars, and getting himself threatened and hurt. The players include a Serbian war criminal called Rado; a Supreme Court justice with a Beretta and a human rights case before him; and Rado’s seductive 23-year-old daughter, whom the justice is accused of abusing. Quirk’s first novel is a breezy but not always sure-footed tale. As first-person narrators go, Ford doesn’t make much of an impression, offering the usual mix of self-consciousness, regret and callow determination. If this book is filmed (20th Century Fox acquired the screen rights), it likely will lose its cheaper plot devices and rely less on a letter containing the only piece of dirt that can bring its villain down. – Kirkus Reviews
Book World: James Grady reviews ‘The 500,’ by Matthew Quirk
The Washington Post Book Review – June 24, 2012 (Excerpt)
Matthew Quirk’s first novel carves its title from a cultural cliche: that there is “a list of the five hundred people inside the Beltway with real power, the select who [run] Washington and, by extension, the country.” That conceit has more in common with Facebook lists of the Greatest Rock Guitarists or Hollywood’s Hottest Superstars than with the chaos in which things get done in this country. But millions of Americans accept the cliche as true, and Quirk, a former writer for the Atlantic, has cleverly constructed his novel upon it.
“The 500” begins with a gun-waving confrontation and a thrilling timeline of flashbacks. Mike Ford, a freshly minted Harvard law grad with a complicated past, jumps at the chance to move to Washington and work for “a high-end strategic consulting firm” that’s far more powerful and influential than a mere bunch of lobbyists or K Street lawyers. This is the Davies Group, which thinks of itself “less as a business and more as a secret society or shadow government.” It represents clients such as Rado, a Serbian criminal mastermind called the King of Hearts “because, well, he ate people’s hearts.” [Read the full article...]
THE BLEEDING HILLS A Novel by Wilfried F. Voss
I have fought a good fight,
I have finished my course,
I have kept the faith. - 2 Timothy iv. 7
The Irish War is officially a part of history, but not for Finnean Whelan, an IRA veteran of almost 40 years. British Intelligence has produced evidence that he is the mastermind behind a conspiracy to assassinate the First Minister of Northern Ireland. For Whelan this is not only a mission of revenge, but marks the beginning of a journey into the past and the return to the one true love: Ireland. [More...]
We are the only country that makes guns, including military-style assault weapons, available to anyone who wants to buy them. This is not freedom. It is a tyranny of death and destruction — a tyranny of which the National Rifle Association is proud. The Washington Post
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