Mike Ford was following his father into a life of crime, when he chose to go straight and instead worked his way through Harvard Law School. Now he’s landed the ultimate job with the Davies Group, a powerful political consulting firm run by the charismatic Henry Davies. Rubbing shoulders with Washington’s heavyweights and with more money and privileges than he’s ever imagined, Mike believes that everything has finally come right.

But he’s about to discover that power comes with a price. Henry Davies is looking for a protégé for a crucial deal and one that must go right no matter what. Mike soon learns that being on the side of the lawmakers doesn’t mean your work is legal. And there’s no place for a moral code when you’re on the devil’s payroll.

For as long as I can remember I’ve had an interest in American history, Washington politics and The West Wing – both TV and real life – and when I heard that Matthew Quirk’s The 500 had been acquired by 20th Century Fox last year I couldn’t wait for the book release (or the film for that matter). Fortunately I didn’t have too long to wait until the proof copy arrived.

I began reading the book a couple of days ago and although I couldn’t dedicate a whole lot of time to the book over the weekend it proved to be more than enough, The 500 is a rip roaring edge of the seat thriller that just begs to be devoured and read. Had I had more time on my hands I would have finished the book in one day, this is without doubt a very quick read and includes a first person narrative that simply reaches out and grabs you by the scruff of the neck beating you into submission at the same time.

UK – The 500 is available to buy in Hardback and Audio CD formats.

USA – The 500 is available to buy in Hardback and Audio CD formats.

The 500 by Matthew Quirk

The 500 by Matthew Quirk

Along with the daily political shenanigans and skulduggery that appears to have infested the corridors of power in Washington and the constant back stabbing that naturally occurs when billions of dollars are at stake, it was the narrative that held me captive. Mike Ford, the protagonist in Matthew Quirk’s book, simply talks to the reader and on numerous occasions I felt as if he was personally leading me through the last twelve months of his life, speaking just to yours truly. The narrative – as I previously mentioned is entirely in the first person’s perspective – is relaxed, personable and natural, the story benefiting with an unhindered fluidity from beginning to end.

The way The 500 is written I felt as if I had a vested interest in what happened to Mike Ford and his cohorts. I just love it when a book can hook you in from the off and you care what happens to the people involved at its conclusion. That doesn’t always happen and of course it depends on the person reading as to whether they connect with the characters in the same way as I did but it certainly happened for me in this thriller. You can’t ask for much more than that. When you turn over the final page of a book and you’re left wondering – and wanting to know – what happens in the future then as far as I’m concerned the book – and the author – has done its job.

The storyline itself is fast paced, believable and fairly shocking – I had no idea corruption occurred on this scale in the nation’s capital, who knows what money can buy! When we first meet Mike Ford he’s in a world of trouble and fighting for his life but as soon as Quirk laid down a formidable foundation he promptly takes the rug from under our feet and we are transported back in time – pre Davies group employment. There are a number of twists along the way and you never quite know where it’s going to lead and who Mike can be trust.

If there’s money to be made then Henry Davies and his group of associates will be at the front of the queue and with the credibility and reputation of politicians and the Supreme Court at stake no person or government is safe.

Mike Ford unquestionably carries The 500 but fortunately for the reader he’s strong and enigmatic enough to pull this off. He comes into the story with a fair amount of baggage; he certainly has his faults and belongs to a family with a colourful past to say the least. It’s this past that has shaped him into the man he is – determined and resolute in survival.

A superb and thrilling read, The 500 will make you sit back and question who really is in charge of not only Washington DC but the United States as a whole, one thing is certain; it’s not the President! No one is safe from the sharp end of Henry Davies’s sword, only time will tell who comes out stronger for the experience. A gripping read, this is one book not to be missed in 2012.

UK – The 500 is available to buy in Hardback and Audio CD formats.

USA – The 500 is available to buy in Hardback and Audio CD formats.

336 pages

Publisher: Headline (June 2012)

ISBN-10: 0755387406

ISBN-13: 978-0755387403

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