Thursday, June 14, 2012

Book Review: "The 500" by Matthew Quirk

Mike Ford has struggled for most of his life. After his father went to prison, he tried to support his mother, but found himself quickly drawn into the same criminal world that attracted both his father and his brother. A stint in the military helps point him in the right direction, and he is pursuing two degrees at Harvard Law School while working to pay off all of his debts. When he is tapped by a visiting lecturer to join The Davies Group, a high-powered lobbying and consulting firm in Washington, DC, it seems to be the answer to all of his problems.

But things are seldom what they seem. The Davies Group specializes in pulling strings for its clients by leaning on the most powerful people in Washington—all of whom owe something to the firm's founder, Henry Davies. Davies sees in Mike a kindred spirit, one willing to try and risk anything in order to succeed. And as Mike gets further embroiled in the firm's dealings, he realizes just how corruptible this type of power is—and how risky it is to try and make things right.

While this book is being billed as a Washington version of The Firm, I found this even better than that, because Mike Ford is a flawed character not above leaning on his past criminal life to do what he needs. While he struggles to decide whether to do what is right or what is easier, you can see just how tempting the wrong path is. Sure, this book isn't completely realistic by any means (at least I don't think so), but the plot and the action gripped me from the very first page, and I found myself racing through the book. Matthew Quirk knows how to tell a great story, and I hope a sequel is in the works. Looking for a great beach book? You've found it right here.

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