Book Review: The 500 by Matthew Quirk

The Booklover’s Rating:

There is a new thriller writer on the block!  The 500 is a fast-paced read, reminscient of The Firm by John Grisham.  The book opens with a Range Rover and Sig Sauer in the first paragraph – need I say more? 

Mike Ford grew up learning from small-time con men, one of which was his father.  Leaving that world behind was at the top of his list and he had worked hard to get to law school and prove his worth. Mike, fresh out of Harvard Law School, lands a dream job with the Davies Group, a political consulting/lobbying firm in Washington, D.C.   Everything comes with a price as Mike soon learns, and that price can be steep!  It isn’t long before the Davies Group’s rising star, is enemy number one, and is being pursued by some of the world’s most elite criminals.  

This book doesn’t really read like a first novel, which makes it that much more enjoyable and the plot is complicated enough to keep you interested.  I recommended this book to my Dad – he loved it and anyone who likes a good, fast-paced thriller will find this book hard to put down. 

Book Details:  Published by Reagan Arthur Books (June 5, 2012), 336 pages, ISBN: 0316198625.

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Book Review: The Map of Time

The Booklover’s Rating:  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

This book caught my attention because I find European writers to be excellent story tellers and because it had already won the 2008 Ateneo de Sevilla XL Prize.  At 600 plus pages it seemed a little daunting for a summer read, but it is definitely worth the time.

The story is told by an unknown narrator who knows and willingly shares the details and mystery of three interrelated stories.  The stories are related by their time travel thread and by the wonderful characters, many of whom are well-known literary characters.

Palma begins the story in Victorian London, where the wealthy Andrew Harrington is planning to commit suicide.  It turns out that he cannot live without the married prostitute he was in love with.  A married prostitute who was killed by Jack the Ripper.  What a beginning!

Andrew’s cousin Charles works to persuade Andrew, with the help of H. G. Wells, to go back in time to kill Jack the Ripper before he brutally murders Maria, Andrew’s love.  Does Andrew change history?  What happens when Andrew returns after his mission?  There are so many twists and turns that you will have to read The Map of Time to find out.

In Part Two, we meet Claire Haggerty, fed up with all of Victorian England, who too wishes she were dead, or living in another time. She will fall in love with a hero from the future, and Wells will come into the picture again.  Wells returns again in Part Three, where he be comes involved with Scotland Yard and a very unusual  murder.

Palma is a much-loved writer is Spain and writes a wonderful historical-fiction novel with a twist.  The writing is superb, even if the all-knowing narrator is a little too verbose on occasion.

Book Details:  Published by Atria Books (June 28, 2011), 624 pages, ISBN: 1439167397.