Summary and book reviews of Zero Game by Brad Meltzer

Zero Game

By Brad Meltzer

Zero Game
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  • Hardcover: Jan 2004,
    480 pages.
    Paperback: Feb 2005,
    496 pages.

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Book Summary

Want to play the world's most dangerous game?

With New York Times bestsellers The Millionaires and The First Counsel, Brad Meltzer captivated thriller readers with his breakneck plotting, unforgettable characters, and razor-sharp dialogue. Now the acclaimed author returns to Washington, D.C., taking us behind closed doors and into the clandestine world of...The Zero Game.

Matthew Mercer and Harris Sandler are playing a mysterious game. It's a game almost no one knows about--not their friends, not their coworkers, and certainly not their bosses, who are some of the most powerful senators and congressmen on Capitol Hill.

It's a game that has everything: risk, reward, mystery, and the thrill of knowing that--just by being invited to play--you've confirmed your status as a true power broker in Washington.

But as Matthew and Harris quickly discover, the Zero Game is hiding a secret so explosive that it will shake Washington to its core. And when someone close to them winds up dead, Harris and Matthew realize this game is far more sinister than they ever imagined. As the bull's-eye turns their way, it's clear they're about to become the game's next victims. In a frenetic chase from the secret tunnels under the Capitol to an abandoned gold mine halfway across the country, the two friends realize they're no longer players in the game--they're pawns. 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 young page not only holds the key to their safety, but is the one person who can redeem them in the process.

Packed with high-octane suspense and heart-pounding action, The Zero Game is Brad Meltzer at his supercharged best.

Chapter 1

I DON'T BELONG HERE. I haven't for years. When I first came to Capitol Hill to work for Congressman Nelson Cordell, it was different. But even Mario Andretti eventually gets bored driving two hundred miles an hour every single day. Especially when you're going in a circle. I've been going in circles for eight years. Time to finally leave the loop.

"We shouldn't be here," I insist as I stand at the urinal.

"What're you talking about?" Harris asks, unzipping his fly at the urinal next to mine. He has to crane his neck up to see my full lanky frame. At six feet four inches, I'm built like a palm tree and staring straight down at the top of his messy black hair. He knows I'm agitated, but as always, he's the perfect calm in the storm. "C'mon, Matthew, no one cares about the sign out front."

He thinks I'm worried about the bathroom. For once, he's wrong. This may be the rest room right across from the Floor of the ...

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Media Reviews
Kirkus Reviews

Nothing that follows the monster shock on page 64 is remotely credible, not even in a thriller about hyperadolescent congressional staffers at play. It all ends up as a series of efficiently managed chase sequences that'll leave you breathless for no reason that you'll remember the next day.

Booklist - May Frances Wilkens

Packed with plenty of backroom D.C. ambience and lots of action, the novel also boasts improved plotting and character development since Meltzer's last high-concept best-seller, The Millionaires (2001).

Library Journal - Jeff Ayers

Meltzer has outdone himself; this is his best book yet. For all popular fiction collections.

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