When Harvard graduate Matthew Quirk burst onto the literary scene in 2012 with his first novel, THE 500, instant comparisons were made to John Grisham's initial success, THE FIRM. Set amidst the movers and shakers of Washington, D.C.'s power brokers and consultants, young Mike Ford barely escaped alive from a situation that spun quickly out of control.
Quirk's debut was so effective that it already has been optioned for a film treatment. This time around, in THE DIRECTIVE, the person in trouble is Mike's brother, Jack, who finds himself in serious hot water. He is in the middle of a conspiracy at the Federal Reserve Bank in New York City and a billion-dollar secret that some would kill for.
"THE DIRECTIVE is smart and exciting, and Matthew Quirk has proven he is not a one-hit wonder."
Jack is a loser many times over, and Mike has consistently bailed him out of financial jams. It won't be that easy for the Ford brothers this time. In Jack's role as a trader, he got himself into bed with some really sketchy people. These bad guys are deadly and have money to throw around ---- but need Jack to be their patsy. When Mike visits Jack at his NYC apartment, they are both roughed up by two well-dressed goons, sending Jack to the hospital.
Mike realizes this is not a mere shakedown, and the stakes are much higher than any previous gamble in which his brother had gotten tied up. With Mike now firmly involved in the situation, the bad guys turn their sights towards him. They pop up outside Mike's fiancée's home in D.C. and follow him around town. He eventually concedes and agrees to do whatever they need to get out of his and Jack's life.
The bad guys are after something referred to as the directive, the playbook for the American economy. It is the most closely held secret in capitalism, and these men --- for whom Mike is now an unwilling employee --- want him to steal it. Knowing his way around the political circus of D.C. and still regrouping from the corrupt environment in which he previously had been involved has made Mike a shrewd operator. It has also made him risky, a trait he will need to get out of this jam and keep himself and his family/loved ones unscathed.
Mike attempts to cover all bases by working with a corporate intelligence firm that might be able to assist him in his current predicament. All of this will come at a price, and as Mike gets deeper into the quagmire of modern international finance to commit the ultimate heist, he will have to call upon all of his previous criminal activity to dig his way out.
THE DIRECTIVE is smart and exciting, and Matthew Quirk has proven he is not a one-hit wonder. This novel will confirm that he is a top-notch thriller writer with the skills to keep producing intelligent fiction.
Reviewed by Ray Palen on May 30, 2014