For The Associated Press

“The 500,” a gripping debut novel by Matthew Quirk, is reminiscent of John Grisham’s “The Firm” and will have readers enthralled from the opening sentence.

Mike Ford lands his dream job at the Davies Group, the largest consulting firm in Washington, D.C. The company handles his massive debt and housing needs, and he soon finds himself hobnobbing with the elite. He also begins to fall in love with a co-worker.

As he becomes more invested in the company and is given more responsibility, Ford begins to realize that everything is not as it seems. The Davies Group has potentially unlimited power over the key decision makers in Congress.

Questioning how the firm developed such influence over so many lawmakers, he initiates a clandestine effort to uncover the truth. Soon Ford sees his perfect life spiraling out of control. To escape with his life and his reputation, he will have to outwit the master manipulator.

Quirk writes a compelling story. The action never lets up for a second, and the pages cannot be turned fast enough as Ford’s life begins to unravel.

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