Washington, D.C., is the setting for this John Grisham-style thriller about a recent Harvard Law graduate who gets in way over his head at a sinister consulting and PR firm that will stop at nothing to control all 500 of the capital's top movers and shakers.
Mike Ford thinks he's got it made working for Henry Davies, who shuttles between jobs as a distinguished Harvard professor and a seasoned "fixer" in Washington who worked for Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon. Ford's $200,000 salary will chase away his massive college debt, Davies' influence promises to get his con-man father out of prison, and a beautiful senior consultant named Annie is his for the asking. Not bad for a scuffling blue-collar kid whose life seemed headed in another direction when he joined the Navy at 19. But it isn't long before Ford detects hidden agendas behind his assignment of cozying up to and collecting secrets about a congressman. He starts spying on his bosses, attaching GPS devices to cars, and getting himself threatened and hurt. The players include a Serbian war criminal called Rado; a Supreme Court justice with a Beretta and a human rights case before him; and Rado's seductive 23-year-old daughter, whom the justice is accused of abusing. Quirk's first novel is a breezy but not always sure-footed tale. As first-person narrators go, Ford doesn't make much of an impression, offering the usual mix of self-consciousness, regret and callow determination. If this book is filmed (20th Century Fox acquired the screen rights), it likely will lose its cheaper plot devices and rely less on a letter containing the only piece of dirt that can bring its villain down.
A book that offers lots of action and gloomy shadows but not much dramatic traction.