The 500 is a Gripping Legal Thriller
- Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Author: Matthew Quirk
Title: The 500
Publisher: Reagan Arthur Books
Now that sweeps are a wrap, and television has settled back into reruns, anyone jonesing for some action-packed entertainment that's not embarrassingly mind-numbing (like anything involving Transformers, for example) will likely find a welcome friend in Matthew Quirk's fantastic debut novel, The 500.
While comparisons to John Grisham's The Firm are inevitable considering the protagonist, Mike Ford, is fresh out of law school and now in possession of his "dream job" at a prestigious firm with a rather shady underbelly, Quirk's journalistic background and an apposite eye for detail helps paint a far more vivid picture of what it's like to have noble intentions in a world so much scarier than you'd ever imagined.
No doubt, Quirk is a whiz at spinning a compelling legal plots with real-life resonance, but sometimes his sheer economy of words makes it hard to picture—or identify with—what's going down. But like a great popcorn movie, you jump right into the action in The 500, and thanks to his intriguing backstory, Mike's motivations—and shocking naiveté—aren't cut from the usual stock character cloth either.
Fast-paced, funny when it needs to be and thoroughly addictive, The 500 also has a strong sense of place. Allowing readers to feel smack dab in the middle of the Washington D.C. scene, you'll probably even feel a little like a local once the story has drawn to a close—the sign of a writer who really knows what he's talking about.
And just in case you've ever wondered how to crack a safe from the inside, how to bypass a password on someone's iPhone or better yet, how to snag yourself a late-model Audi, well, you're in luck as one of the characters in The 500 has a background in thievery.
Lighter moments aside, what ultimately makes The 500 such a standout, however, is that it gets you thinking about what really goes on in Washington—and who these characters might actually be patterned after. While it's probably no surprise to anyone that not everything's exactly on the up and up (or even close), it can't help but make you wonder how many miles separate right from wrong and fact from fiction—just one of the story's intriguing themes.
*This Review First Published 6/20/2012
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