Monday, May 28, 2012
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. -- Reagan Arthur
It's no surprise to many of you that I'm a big fan of the Reagan Arthur imprint. So much so, that I co-host the Reagan Arthur Books Challenge with Bermudaonion. I love the uniqueness and diversity of the Reagan Arthur books, and they definitely have accomplished their goal -- "to give readers what they want most: the unique and lasting pleasure of sitting alone with a good book, being moved and entertained and even changed forever" -- in my mind. The latest Reagan Arthur book that I read and LOVED was THE 500 by Matthew Quirk.
THE 500 is an incredible thriller set in the political environment of our nation's capitol -- Washington D.C. Mike Ford is fresh out of Harvard and accepts a job at the Davies Group, Washington's most prestigious (and powerful) "consulting" firm. (Notice the quotation marks around the term consulting...) For the first time in his life, Mike seems to have it all -- a great job, financial security, and even the perfect girl. However, when he becomes involved with a project that is much more "complex" than he first thought, he finds himself scrambling for his life and using all of the "survival" skills he learned growing up.
I thought THE 500 was an outstanding example of everything a thriller should be, and I pretty much read this book straight through without setting it down. I'm warning you now, this book is addictive so you better have a few hours to just read it! I hesitate to say this because I don't like to make comparisons, but elements of this story reminded me of Grisham's THE FIRM... only I thought THE 500 was even better. I loved the writing, the storyline, the setting, and the suspense; and it's probably going to be one of my favorite thrillers of the year.
One of the reasons I enjoyed this book so much was the character of Mike. The story is told in his voice and I thought he was an excellent narrator. Not only did I genuinely like him as a person and admire him for turning his life around, but I loved his sense of humor, especially when it was at his expense. While the book was definitely filled with lots of high pressure scenes, I thought the author used the element of humor effectively to deflect the tension. In fact, there were times that I actually laughed out loud at Mike and some of his predicaments.
As far as suspense goes, THE 500 had a lot of it and it was very well done. I loved the intrigue as well as the action-packed scenes and I thought the pace of the novel was excellent. (That's probably why I couldn't put it down!) It became pretty obvious early on who the real "bad" guys were, but there was enough question about some of the other characters that I was kept guessing. In addition, Mike found himself in such a precarious situation that I couldn't possible figure out how he was going to get out of it. I don't want to give to much away but it's a good thing he was brought up by a con-man and extremely intelligent because the final outcomes were very creative... and very risky!
The entire time I was reading this book, I kept telling myself that this book would make a fantastic movie. So it shouldn't have come as any surprise to me that THE 500 is in development for a major motion picture by Twentieth Century Fox. The characters, especially Mike, are so interesting; and there is so much action and suspense that I have no doubt that this novel is perfect for the big screen. I keep trying to figure out who should star in it, though, and I'm just not sure. For those of you who have read this novel, do you have any ideas?
I thought THE 500 was an excellent suspense book and I highly recommend it to fans of this genre. I can pretty much guarantee that you won't be disappointed.
Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this novel.
Mystery Mondays is a regular feature where I review all types of mystery books -- traditional mysteries, suspense/thrillers, and even cozies! Please feel free to share your thoughts on any recent mystery books that you've read.