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Q: If someone were to ask you to briefly sum up what The 500 is about, how would you describe it?
A: The 500 is about Henry Davies, a political powerhouse who has spent decades collecting the secrets of the 500 most influential men and women in Washington, and his protégé, Michael Ford, who must choose whether or not he’s willing to make a deal with the devil to earn the respectable life he’s always wanted.
Q: While writing The 500, did the plot ever take a turn even you didn’t expect?
A: I let the characters and fate pull most of their surprises while I’m laying out the plot. That way, by the time I sit down to write it out, I can keep the pace up and craft the twists for maximum effect. The characters are cagey, so even with all my planning, I was never one hundred percent sure what temptations Mike would resist, and who would stay alive to the end.
Q: How closely do you think The 500 reflects on the way politics are played in Washington today?
A: It’s a thriller, so things are taken to extremes. Murder is not part of the domestic political playbook (though it plays a role in international intelligence). The first two-thirds of the book hews closely to real life, and even when I go beyond that, I stay true to the everyday grit and personalities of contemporary Washington. What’s most surprising about politics is how much graft is perfectly legal. No one man has the sort of sway Henry Davies does, though there are individuals who, over decades, have deliberately plotted out and built movements, put like-minded people in key positions of power, and dramatically changed the shape of American democracy.
Q: Movie rights have been sold. Who would you like to see cast as Mike Ford, Annie and Henry Davies?
A: I try to keep my head down and not to get ahead of myself with the movie, but for your members, I’ll play along. Maybe Tom Hardy or Ryan Gosling for Mike Ford. Gary Oldman for Henry Davies, or Dustin Hoffman—the novel Marathon Man was an influence, so that would be a fun choice. And Rachel McAdams or Scarlett Johansson for Annie.
Q: How did your journalistic background influence the idea for this book?
A: Almost all of the material in the book comes from being a reporter, either actual stories I researched or the experience of living and working among journalists in DC. It’s a very cool job for a young man because you’re given access it would take decades to earn as a political player. The whole whiplash experience of being plucked up from Harvard and initiated into DC politics I took from my early days at The Atlantic. The “underbelly of DC” material comes, unfortunately enough, from paying attention to the papers and staying on top of political scandals and dirty tricks (there are plenty of real-life stories from Washington that are just as outrageous as what happens in the book). The cocktail parties, the intense dynamics of protégés and mentors, the elaborate game spies play to turn human assets, the politician who used vetting dossiers to blackmail his peers: it’s all material I came across as a reporter.
Q: What can you tell us about your future plans for Mike Ford?
A: I’m deep into the sequel right now. A conspiracy draws Mike into the world of private security firms. He has to venture into the criminal underground and face his past in order to save his brother. I’m having a blast with it, and I can’t wait to get it out to readers.
Matthew Quirk makes his gripping thriller debut with The 500, a riveting page-turner set deep in the heart of the world’s most powerful political arena.
Mike Ford is a former con artist who’s been plucked from his Harvard Law School classroom to be an associate at The Davies Group, Washington’s most high-powered and well-respected strategic consulting firm. Their specialty: pulling strings and peddling influence for the five hundred most powerful people inside the Beltway, the men and women who really run Washington—and by extension the country, and the world.
The formidable namesake of the firm, Henry Davies knows everyone who matters; more importantly, he knows their deepest, darkest secrets. Davies’ experience goes back 40 years—he worked for Lyndon Johnson, jumped shipped to Nixon, then put out his own shingle as the Hill’s most cut-throat and expensive fixer. Now he’s looking for a protégé to tackle his most high-stakes deal yet, and Mike fits the bill.
Quickly pulled into a seductive, dangerous web of unimaginable power and corruption, Mike struggles to find his way out. But how do you save your soul when you’ve made a deal with the devil?
Hardcover Book : 304 pages
Publisher: Hachette Book Group Usa ( June 05, 2012 )
Item #: 13-544748
Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.25 x 0.76inches
Product Weight: 12.0 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
Adore Matthew Quirk's writing style. Love the way, you, the reader becomes apart of the story. Mike Ford is an excellent character. A real page turner... Cannot wait for Quirk's next book.
Fast read and a good thriller. As a woman who reads a great deal, passed my book onto a
fellow man friend as I thought
a man would enjoy the story line more.
Reviewer: Moe G
Excellent, I look with great anticipation to Matthew Quirk's next book and with hopes that he continues the character Mike Ford. Absolutely the best read I have had in a long time. Do not miss this one, do not think twice about ordering it you will not be disappointed.
I just finished The 500. It is a fast read - moves quickly throughout the story. Interesting characters - enjoyed the main characters "asides to the reader". I would recommend this book and look forward to future books from this new author.
Reviewer: Linda F
I didn't get this book yet but after reading level 26 I want all BOMC2 black label books. Level 26 taught me BOMC2 knows now to pick-em. I'll buy all their super specials. In fact I did.
Reviewer: bob k