Excerpt from Zero Game by Brad Meltzer, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Zero Game

by Brad Meltzer

Zero Game
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jan 2004, 480 pages
    Feb 2005, 496 pages

  • Rate this book

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

"I told you, you can't have the mustache and the Trans Am—it's one or the other," Harris adds.

LaRue laughs, and I shake my head. When the Founding Fathers set up the government, they split the legislative branch into two sides: the House and the Senate. I'm here in the House, which is in the south half of the Capitol. Harris works in the Senate, which is all the way over on the north. It's a whole different world over there, but somehow, Harris still remembers the latest update on our shoeshine guy's facial hair. I don't know why I'm surprised. Unlike the monsters who walk these halls, Harris doesn't talk to everyone as a political maneuver. He does it because that's his gift—as the son of a barber, he's got the gift of gab. And people love him for it. That's why, when he walks into a room, Senators casually flock around him, and when he walks into the cafeteria, the lunch lady gives him an extra ladle of chicken in his burrito.

Reaching Enemark's gray suit jacket, Harris pulls it from the coat-rack and fishes for the lapel. The toilet flushes behind us. We all spin back toward the stall. Harris is still holding the jacket. Before any of us can react, the door to the stall swings open.

If we were brand-new staffers, this is where we'd panic. Instead, I bite the inside of my cheek and take a deep gulp of Harris's calm. Old instincts kick in. As the door to the stall opens, I go to step in front of the Congressman. All I have to do is buy Harris a few seconds. The only problem is, Enemark's moving too quickly.

Sidestepping me without even looking up, Enemark is someone who avoids people for a living. Leaving the stall, he heads straight for the coat-rack. If Harris is caught with his jacket . . .

"Congressman . . . !" I call out. He doesn't slow down. I turn to follow, but just as I spin around, I'm surprised to see Enemark's gray coat hanging lifelessly on the coat-rack. There's a sound of running water on the right side of the room. Harris is washing his hands by the sink. Across from him, LaRue rests his chin in his palm, studying C-SPAN with his fingers covering his mouth. See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.

"Excuse me?" Enemark asks, taking his coat from the rack. The way it's draped over his forearm, I can't see the lapel. The pin's nowhere in sight.

I glance over at Harris, who's wearing a calm that's almost hypnotic. His green eyes disappear in a soft squint, and his dark black eyebrows seem to take over his face. Japanese is easier to read.

"Son, did you say something?" Enemark repeats.

"We just wanted to say hello, sir," Harris interrupts, leaping to my aid. "Really, it's an honor to meet you. Isn't that right, Matthew?"

"A-Absolutely," I say.

Enemark's chest rises at the compliment. "Much appreciated."

"I'm Harris . . . Harris Sandler . . ." he says, introducing himself even though Enemark didn't ask. Leaving the sink, Harris studies the Congressman like a chessboard. It's the only way to stay ten moves ahead.

The Congressman extends a handshake, but Harris pulls away. "Sorry . . . wet hands . . ." he explains. "By the way, Congressman, this is Matthew Mercer. He does Interior Approps for Congressman Cordell."

"Sorry to hear that," Enemark jabs with a fake laugh as he pumps my hand. Asshole. Without another word, he opens his coat and slides an arm into the sleeve. I check the lapel. There's nothing there.

"Have a good day, sir," Harris says as Enemark slides his other arm in. Enemark rotates his shoulder blades and pulls his suit jacket into place. When the other half of the jacket hits his chest, a tiny flash of light catches my eye. There . . . on his other lapel . . . there's a tiny American flag pin . . . a little triangle with an oil well on it . . . and the Lorax, whose big Dr. Seuss eyes smile at me.

Copyright © 2004 by Forty-four Steps, Inc.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Crossing the Horizon
    Crossing the Horizon
    by Laurie Notaro
    In Crossing the Horizon, Laurie Notaro takes us back to a time when flying was a rare and risky ...
  • Book Jacket
    Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
    by Mario Giordano
    Munich matron and self-described worldly sophisticate, Isolde Oberreiter, has decided to retire to a...
  • Book Jacket: Of Arms and Artists
    Of Arms and Artists
    by Paul Staiti
    In the late eighteenth-century, the United States of America was still an emerging country, ...
Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Bone Tree
by Greg Iles

An epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Comet Seekers
    by Helen Sedgwick

    A magical, intoxicating debut novel, both intimate and epic.

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win The World of Poldark

Win the book & DVD

Enter to win The World of Poldark and the full first series on DVD.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One S D N M A S

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.


Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!

Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.