Matthew Mercer and Harris Sandler are best friends who have plum jobs as senior staffers to well-respected congressmen. But after a decade in Washington, idealism has faded to disillusionment, and they're bored. Then one of them finds out about the clandestine Zero Game. It starts out as good fun - a simple wager between friends. But when ...
Matthew Mercer and Harris Sandler are best friends who have plum jobs as senior staffers to well-respected congressmen. But after a decade in Washington, idealism has faded to disillusionment, and they're bored. Then one of them finds out about the clandestine Zero Game. It starts out as good fun - a simple wager between friends. But when someone close to them ends up dead, Harris and Matthew realise the game is far more sinister than they ever imagined - and that they're about to be the game's next victims. On the run, they turn to the only person they can trust: a sixteen-year-old Senate page who can move around the Capitol undetected. As a ruthless killer creeps closer, this idealistic page no only holds the key to saving their lives, but is also determined to redeem them in the process. Come play the Zero Game - you can bet your life on it...
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I'm a fan of a good mystery...and this one didn't fit the bill. To begin with, the dust jacket copy led me to believe something other than what transpired in the book. When the description says, "...And when someone close to them winds up dead, Harris and Matthew..." I expect the decedent to be a friend of theirs, not one of the characters named. Also, the author begins the book writing from Matthew's perspective in the first person, but later in the book switches to writing in first person from Harris' perspective. That's confusing, to say the least. I did finally finish the book, but it certainly wasn't a "gotta read it NOW!" type of book. I had no trouble putting it down, but did have trouble picking it up again.
Publishers Weekly, 2004-05-03 After just a few chapters, Meltzer's latest (after The Millionaires) completely throws the listener for a loop when the main character and narrator, Capitol Hill staffer Matthew Mercer, is murdered. Harris Sandler, his best friend and fellow senior staffer, picks up the narrator's reins as he launches into an investigation of his friend's death. The two had been involved in a secret and, until now, harmless game of placing wagers on congressional votes, but Matthew's murder reveals a conspiracy so entrenched in Sandler's world that the only person he can trust is Viv Parker, a young page that he has just met. Pursued by a professional killer almost as relentless as the Terminator, the two race to stop a plot that literally threatens the planet. In an interview with Crackerbarrel.com, veteran audiobook reader Brick states that Meltzer concocted the radical change in narrative voice just "because he couldn't wait to hear how different I would make the two characters sound." Brick does not disappoint. His acumen for subtle nuance and his obvious comfort with the demands of Meltzer's pace allows this Shakespearean actor to provide the listener with the highest level of audio suspense and entertainment. Simultaneous release with the Warner hardcover (Forecasts, Jan. 12). (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 2004-01-12 Meltzer credits 143 people in his acknowledgments, a testament to massive research involving everything from the smallest details of our government's inner workings to the scientific complexities of chaos theory and advanced neutrino research. He's far too seasoned a pro (The Tenth Justice; The Millionaires) to ever let readers bog down in minutiae, though, using his impressive background material as rocket fuel for this rip-roaring novel of government intrigue. Best friends Matthew Mercer and Harris Sandler have worked for years as professional Capitol Hill staffers. With boredom and burnout threatening, they've joined a secret group of other like-minded workers to play the Zero Game, which uses congressional voting and government administrative procedure as the basis for placing bets. "We don't change the laws, or pass bad legislation, or stroke our evil goatees and overthrow democracy as we know it. We play at the margins; where it's safe-and where it's fun." The two decide to bet their life savings when a seemingly innocent appropriations item, the sale of an abandoned South Dakota gold mine, becomes part of the game. Because of his senior position as an appropriations committee staffer, Matthew is sure he has a lock on this one. Things go horribly wrong, and soon Harris and Viv Parker, a young Senate page, are on the run, fleeing from hired killer Martin Janos. Their flight takes them to the abandoned gold mine, where they find more mystery and near death 8,000 feet below the surface of the earth. Janos, their nemesis, is relentless, as is the action, and readers will be left breathless. (Jan.) Forecast: A clever plot hook, nonstop action and Meltzer's built-in fan base will make this one a shoo-in at the polls. The Zero Game was recently bought by Universal for producer Kathleen Kennedy and director Gary Ross, whose most recent film was Seabiscuit. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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