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Matthew Quirk Books In Order

Publication Order of Mike Ford Books

The 500 (2012) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Directive (2014) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Cold Barrel Zero (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Dead Man Switch (2017) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle


Matthew Quirk makes his home in San Diego, California. He went to Harvard and studied both history and literature. After he graduated, he went to The Atlantic where he worked for five years reporting crimes, terrorism prosecutions, international gangs, and private military contractors. He used all this to write his novels. His novels are considered political, legal, thriller. They include the “Mike Ford” series. Matthew Quirk’s novels have found their way on to the New York Times Bestseller list.

“The 500” is the first book in the “Mike Ford” series. Just a year after graduating from Harvard Law School, Mike Ford landed a great job with the Davies Group. Which is a large consulting firm in Washington, D.C., and they pull strings and help very powerful people. It is also led by a man who knows all the dirty secrets of the people he defends. Now, Mike Ford is staring down two men who want him dead, and he may end up doing things he thought he would never have to do again (cheating, lying, and stealing, maybe even killing). He once was a kid amongst people who were con men, and was taught by his father how to do all these dirty things. His experience in law school and college was his way for something better, and honest. In the Davies Group, Ford is their rising star and he rubs shoulders with “the 500”; they are the people who actually run Washington as well as the world. Even with prestige and status, he learns that a con man is still just a con man.

Fans of the novel enjoyed the fast pace of the novel. The twisting and turning plot made the novel hard to put down and made for a great summer read. Some readers were able to read the entire book in just a day. The suspense in the novel required most to devote their reading time to nothing but this one novel. It made some people have feelings of paranoia. Readers enjoyed the way the novel pulls them in for the ride, and the way Quirk writes his flawed character and made them care about him. They enjoyed the way that Mike was flawed just right to make him sharp enough for readers to enjoy reading about him from the very first page of the novel. The opening of the novel creates the perfect hook to pull readers in, with large stakes and then pulling back to talk about all that is going on.

Some felt that the book was a rip off of John Grisham, and found the writing to be poor, as well as the characters and plot. Some also felt that the narration felt a little manufactured and forced and not organic. It was not very connected to reality, and features too many coincidences that help Mike Ford get through his tough luck situations that most people would not get through without much more difficulties. Readers hoped for something with more nuance and more reasons to care about Ford, but there really was not anything to help them like the guy or the novel more.

“The Directive” is the second book in the “Mike Ford” series. After the events of “The 500”, Mike Ford now has a fiance, and is set to get married; even though her parents think she should try to do better, and get with someone who has the same status as them. Mike Ford also has a brother and his brother is caught in the middle of a conspiracy put together by people with a lot of power. It involves a plan to steal something worth billions of dollars that is located at a hidden linchpin in a place that no one really looks. A desk at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Mike Ford realizes he must choose between his new and honest life or the only brother that he has. After choosing, he works every skill his dad ever taught him as a child and goes to work to find his brother. Like him, his brother is a criminal and has the same background. Also like Mike, his brother has tried to put his life on the right track, but has had more mixed results in doing so (unlike his brother, he seems to have a much worse time getting his life straight). He has to fight the men in high places to beat them at their own game or die trying.

Fans of the novel found that the plot of the novel moved along at a fast pace, and used dialogue and narration that was realistic to keep readers interested. Readers enjoyed the way the novel keeps you on the edge of your seat, making you ready to find out what is going to happen next. Fans of the novel found themselves liking Mike even though he has a murky past. His sense of humor, intelligence, how he is able to use what is available to him to get by- all things that people liked about him. Readers were interested in Mike Ford enough that they could not wait for more about the character. The novel was even enjoyed by people who do not usually read thriller novels.

Some found the relationships in the novel to be weak and what the motivation for what the characters did was a little thin. Some felt that the novel was the work of an amateur. Some felt like they were wasting their reading time by reading this novel. The novel, they felt, was full of nothing but slimy people using each other to get further in life. Some felt that some of the characters in the novel were weak. Some felt that the novel was a waste of their reading time; the twists in the novel were predictable, the language and situations were repetitive, and the novel was full of characters that were pretty average, and there was nothing special about any of them.

“The 500” won the best debut thriller award (Black Ribbon Award) from the Book of the Month Club. “The 500” also won the International Thriller Writers’s Award for best debut novel, and the Strand Critics Award for best first novel. It has also been translated into twenty languages, and was nominated for an Edgar Award.

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