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The 500: A Novel Hardcover – June 5, 2012

3.8 out of 5 stars 193 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the Mike Ford Series

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Editorial Reviews


"A thundering David-and-Goliath tale of corruption...This is a real page turner, with high stakes action that doesn't stop. Expect this to be one of the season's most talked-about debut thrillers. A sequel is in the offing and will be much anticipated."―Michele Leber, Booklist (Starred Review)

"Quirk's engaging first novel transplants the milieu of Grisham's The Firm to the world of political lobbyists...Quirk supplies just enough characterization and journalistic detail of Washington, D.C. life to ground his story as he launches into a streamlined, gripping man-on-the-run thriller."―Publishers Weekly

About the Author

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.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Reagan Arthur Books; 1 edition (June 5, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780316198622
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316198622
  • ASIN: 0316198625
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (193 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #810,655 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I admit I didn't get past the first 50 pages because the author's style was not to my liking -- pedestrian thriller stuff and not very believable. But that's not why I'm writing. I looked over the Amazon reviews and I was struck by the similarity of the five star reviews, all gushing gee whiz-this-book-is-so-exciting-I-couldn't-put-it-down, with little else to say except for maybe a brief plot summary straight out of the press release. All of which makes these "reviews" seem suspicious, don't you think? I'm sure a few are from real readers who enjoyed the book, but most of them seem fake. Heck, even some of the three star reviews are glowing recommendations, as if they were planted on purpose so as not to make them appear like obvious put up jobs. I usually find Amazon reader reviews informative and entertaining, but what I smell is a disingenuous marketing campaign in a forum where it does not belong. Boo.
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Format: Hardcover
It takes a bad book for me not to finish reading it but in this case it was a relief. If Grisham wasn't so wealthy he could sue for copyright infringement because this book is an blatant ripoff of The Firm. Instead of Mitch having a brother in jail in the 500 it's the father. Too many similarities to overlook and poor writing, characters, plot, etc.
I did not read any reviews before taking this book out of the library so had no preconceptions.

I can understand why some people would like this book if they hadn't read any Grisham but once you've read good writing you will not be able to put up with a poor copy job. (I will stipulate that not all of Grisham novels are top notch, just the majority).
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Every man has a price". That seems to be the motivating factor in the debut novel, "The 500", by Matthew Quirk. In the book, Quirk depicts the inner workings of Washington D.C.'s five-hundred most influential people, through an imaginative and engaging thriller.

Mike Ford is an outsider. As a student at the prestigious Harvard Law, Mike works hard to live up to the societal standards of his affluent classmates. Unlike his peers, Mike, the son of a convicted felon, has grown up in a world of crime. After his disease stricken mother passed away, he was left with a jailed father, his mother's medical bills, and the choice to either make a better life for himself or meet the same fate as his father.

A standout at Harvard, Mike is given the opportunity to be an associate at The Davies Group, a powerful consulting firm in Washington. The group is paid by individuals, corporations, and special interest groups to influence the movers and shakers of Washington, the 500. Henry Davis, who formed the company, sees a spark of himself in Mike and quickly appoints him to a high profile deal that could lead to his partnership.

Essentially, The Davies Group uses the knowledge that "every man has a price" to find ways to "influence" the heavy players in the D.C. scene. Mikes street knowledge helps him to climb the ladder, providing more fortune, connections, and prestige than he could ever have dreamed of. When Davies pulls Mike off of his major deal, Mike immediately suspects foul play. He enters a conspiracy that threatens everything he has worked for and even his life.

Matthew Quirk has been compared to veteran legal thriller author John Grisham.
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Format: Hardcover
Matthew Quirk's debut novel, The 500, has arrived just in time to please those summer readers who love a heart-pounding fast-paced plot. Protagonist Mike Ford has been recruited out of Harvard to work for the Davies Group, the most powerful consulting firm in D.C. Much of the action in the novel is so implausible that every reader's willing suspension of disbelief is severely tested. I can almost imagine Quirk's strain in deciding how to place Ford into a particular sticky situation, and then struggling to get him out. I kept reading because I found the excitement to become fun as the novel progressed, and once I gave in, it was easy to reach the end. I'm always willing to overlook a few clunky elements in a debut novel, and I was entertained by this one. Readers willing to give a first-time novelist a try should consider reading this novel.

Rating: Three-star (Recommended)
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Format: Hardcover
I have often heard it said that if you place a frog in boiling water, he'll hop right out. But if you place him in cold water and turn up the heat slowly enough, he'll cook to death. The "frog" in Matthew Quirk's debut novel would be grad student Mike Ford. Coming from the wrong side of the tracks, this kid has pulled himself up by his bootstraps. Despite losing his mom to cancer while in his teens and his dad still in prison, Mike's about to graduate Harvard Law--up to his ears in debt--but having turned his back on his youthful criminal past. When a visiting professor offers Mike a lucrative job at his DC firm, it seems like a dream come true.

The Davies Group is a "high-end strategic consulting group." After four months on the job, Mike elaborates, "The firm was a strange place, opaque by design. If you asked, they told you they did government affairs and strategic consulting. Usually, that's a euphemism for lobbying." It's a little more euphemistic than usual in this case. In addition to being hired for his smarts and business savvy, Mike was hired for some of the skills he acquired on the street. He knows a few tricks that average Harvard Law grad doesn't have up his sleeve. He acknowledges, "It never seems obvious when you cross the line." But cross the line he does, in order to succeed and prove himself. And by the time he realizes that things at The Davies Group are not as they seem, he's deep in the boiling water.

That's all you really need to know. This book has been compared to novels like John Grisham's The Firm and Joseph Finder's Paranoia for fairly obvious reasons. The comparisons are apt, but while this debut is strong and enjoyable reading, I don't think it's quite up to par with those two excellent thrillers.
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