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The Zero Game [Large Print] [Hardcover]

Brad Meltzer
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 57.00
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Book Description

Jan. 20 2004 Meltzer, Brad (Large Print)
The New York Times bestselling author of The Millionaires and The First Counsel returns to Wash-ington, D.C., with the story of an insider's game that turns deadly.

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 realize 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 16-year-old Senate page who can move around the Capitol undetected. As a ruthless killer creeps closer, this idealistic page not 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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From Publishers Weekly

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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

When Matthew Mercer confides to his best friend, Harris Sandler, that he's thinking of leaving his cushy job as a senior staffer on Capitol Hill, Harris convinces him to stay by inviting him to play the Zero Game, an anonymous wagering game where you bet on the likelihood of some piece of legislation passing. It's a silly game, but the stakes are minimal, so Matthew joins in, enjoying the diversion and finding the anonymity intriguing. The bet in front of them now is a gimme, especially since Matthew can control its outcome, so the pair decides to up the ante and go for broke. Trouble is, there's another bidder out there (Who else could have such an interest?), and both Matthew and Harris sense that this bet just might be their last. They've learned the hard way that there's no one they can trust and have no choice but to find out who's behind the now-murderous game. Coming to their aid is an unlikely savior, a teenage Senate page who can duck in and out of private offices without raising suspicion. 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). Mary Frances Wilkens
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast paced Read Feb. 17 2005
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The book starts off slowly and within the first 50 pages Meltzer sucks you in and never lets you go. Harris and Viv are running for their dear lives after Matthew dies and hARRIS discovers the game he was playing was in fact non at all.It wouldn't surprise me if this was made into a movie. This book is a perfect antidote to a weekend afternoon with nothing to do. The Zero Game is one of Meltzer's best books and even better than his last effort. (The Millionaires)
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4.0 out of 5 stars Capital Fun at a Thrill a Minute July 2 2004
Format:Hardcover
When I first started listening to this novel on unabridged audio cassette, I admit to being confused and having to rewind the first 45 minutes in order to listen to the opening sequence a second time. But after this bout of fuzzy thinking, the fast pace and non-stop excitement narrated in the intelligent and frat boy confident voice of Washington staffer Harris Sandler. moved me along at breakneck speed, unraveling a mystery as labyrinthine as the old gold mine in one of the novel's most exciting sequences. Bored to an unhealthy cynicism with the Washington CYA scene of political manuevering, Harris and his best bud Matthew have spiced up their otherwise mundane careers by doing the unethical: gambling on Congress in a little wagering fun known only by a select few as the Zero Game. Very early on in the novel, the sure thing turns bad, and Harris finds himself in an unthinkable position: on the run for his life from a maniacal assasin with a black box tool that simulates a heart attack when used on its intended victim, with 17 year old Viv Parker, a senate page from Michigan as his only ally.

As Harris and Viv weave from DC to South Dakota and back attempting to uncover the secret of the Zero Game, the reader unearths vital information about the smooth and clever Harris Sandler whose pin-striped perfection hides a disillusioned knight unhorsed by over ten years of back-stabbing DC wheeling and dealing. The innocent, idealistic and religious Viv plays the light to his shadow and together they make a wonderfully precocious and unforgettable team.

The denouement is not predictable, the science interesting, the Washington insider scenes informative and the thrills lasting until the epilogue.
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4.0 out of 5 stars lots of action and suspense !! June 30 2004
By anita
Format:Hardcover
I really enjoyed reading this book it is a page turner and is very hard to put down. Meltzer is as good a Grisham! The gane "Zero Game" is clever and truns deadly for Matthew and Harris they have been friends since college days. Harris persuades MAtther to join the Zero Game. All is well until Matthew is killed . Harris is on the run for his life and career. This book is a must read !!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Destined for the big screen? Let's hope! June 4 2004
By Brenda
Format:Audio Cassette
Every great once in a while I come across a book meant for the big screen. _The Zero Game_ has what it takes - action, suspense, compelling characters, and best of all, an exceptional plot packed with some striking, fascinating twists.
Matthew and Harris have been friends since college. The friendship is strong, even though the two are opposite in personalities: Matthew is a follower, whereas Harris, the son of a barber, is a born leader with the gift of gab. These two senior staffers have some humorous stories to share, but the most interesting Harris has saved for the right moment. Matthew is bored and dissatisfied by his job. Harris tells him about the Zero Game and talks him into joining him. Each person is allowed to invite only one other person. No one is allowed to know who is leading the bet or those joining in on the bet. It's as blind as betting can get. The subject of betting is whether or not one can get an unusual piece of Legislation passed. Matthew gets carried away with one particular bet, and changes the game into a life and death situation. Matthew and Harris are trapped in the game and eventually drag a young African-American Senate page into the danger after her name badge is found at a crime scene. This gal is one tough cookie and she steals the show.
The first four chapters set up the story and some may find them a bit slow, but trust me, once it is over, it all becomes clear. I listened to _The Zero Game_ while working. Needless to say, I gave up because the further I got into the storyline the more I automatically stopped to listen.
_The Zero Game_ has the kind of heart-stopping suspense that takes your breath away.
Kudos to the reader, Scott Brick, for a suspenseful listen.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Layers of suspense and thriller intrigue May 24 2004
Format:Hardcover
After his taut mystery thrillers, The Millionaires and The First Counsel, Brad Meltzer again takes you by the throat for a game and a chase through the corridors of the U.S. Congress for a new and original take on how human weakness can affect the governance of our nation and allow it to become an unwilling provider for a treasonous operation. If you don't get caught up in the drama (but you will), you'll come away from this read with an insight into how congressional staffers negotiate appropriations for bills. It's our money, so it pays to have some idea.
The weakness is in being a sucker for an insider's game -- a secret game for the privileged. Matthew Mercer and Harris Sandler his mentor who helped him get on Congressman Nelson Cordell's staff and in on the game, are players. It's a secret game that gives you a sense of importance because you don't know who else in Washington might be playing. The object is to bet on such things as getting unsuspecting legislators to do or say specific things, or guess the final tally on a vote. The stakes are based on a preceding round of betting and, so far, the it's been little more than dinner money, but the real payoff is establishing yourself as a true power broker in Washington.
To win the latest Zero Game, Matthew has to insert his Congressman's land sale project into the Interior House Appropriations bill, which has to do with the transfer of land rights for a closed gold mine in South Dakota, little more than the usual pork and a simple matter for him to do. He can taste victory and wavers only when the bet rises to a couple of thousand dollars. Greed and the intoxication of a sure thing drives him to ignore the fact that a loss could put him in the poor house.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Layers of suspense and thriller intrigue
After his taut mystery thrillers, The Millionaires and The First Counsel, Brad Meltzer again takes you by the throat for a game and a chase through the corridors of the U.S. Read more
Published on May 24 2004 by Jules Brenner
4.0 out of 5 stars Great premise
I absolutely loved the premise of this book, but wish that the execution could have been a little different. Oh well, everyone is a critic, I suppose. Read more
Published on May 11 2004
1.0 out of 5 stars Dreadful
This is my first Meltzer novel, I believe. I also believe it will be my last. It begins with a mildly interesting tour of the arcana that may fill the lives of Congressional... Read more
Published on May 11 2004 by Jerry Saperstein
2.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't give it three stars
This is the first Meltzer book I have read. Although I really enjoyed reading the book, I found I had a hard time suspending my disbelief with much of the plot. Read more
Published on April 22 2004 by Brendan
5.0 out of 5 stars ENTHRALLING, ENTERTAINING LISTENING
Audie and Earphone Award winner Scott Brick is one of the most versatile and accomplished voice performers to be found. Read more
Published on April 20 2004 by Gail Cooke
5.0 out of 5 stars ENTHRALLING AND ENTERTAINING LISTENING
Audie and Earphone Award winner Scott Brick is one of the most versatile and accomplished voice performers to be found. Read more
Published on April 19 2004 by Gail Cooke
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid Book. Good Story
This was my first Meltzer book. I thought it was well written, although some of the dialogue was stilted. Read more
Published on April 12 2004 by Jason A. Myers
5.0 out of 5 stars Another fastpaced story from Meltzer
Matthew Mercer has been working in politics in Washington D.C. for the last eight years for a congressman but the job is getting old not much fun any more and he is ready to call... Read more
Published on April 4 2004 by T. A Kelley
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