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The Rules of the Game

2.83 of 5 stars 2.83  ·  rating details  ·  47 ratings  ·  16 reviews
From Leonard Downie Jr., longtime editor of The Washington Post, an eye-opening novel of corruption, deception, and intrigue in our nation’s capital.

Sarah Page, a rising star at the Washington Capital, has been assigned to cover the dark world of politics and money in Washington. But when she begins to investigate an influential lobbyist and his clients, she realizes that
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published January 13th 2009 by Knopf (first published January 1st 2009)
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Esme Pie
Awful book to pick up just AFTER you've finished one of the best novels you've ever read . . . oh well . . . I was interested in this after a Fresh Air interview with the author, and, I will say the premise and political intrigue could have made a wonderful story. But . . . Downie is a really bad writer. Probably a great journalist, but not a novelist. Stilted language (leaves that flutter gently, men that are burly AND big), horrible dialogue, plot contrivances that were just too much to take-- ...more
Paul Pessolano
Although "The Rules of the Game" is classified as a mystery, it is mainly a story that is political in nature.

Sarah Page is a reporter for the "Washington Capital" who is trying to make it big in the newspaper business. She begins to work on a story that will uncover the political and financial corruption in the United States Government.

Susan Cameron, who has just been elected Vic-President of the United States, finds herself the first woman President when the President dies.

Sarah finds herself

Read just after Alexandra Berzon of LV Sun won (as part of team) the public service Pulitzer for coverage of construction deaths at CityCenter in LV and on LV Strip.

Main character is a young aggressive woman reporter at Washington Capital. (Downie is former editor at WashPost, which won many Pulitzers during his tenure).

Sarah Page is the heroine who uncovers corruption, almost gets killed several times, gets stymied on several stories by the female U.S. president herself.

Jan 05, 2015 Julie marked it as dnf
Recommends it for: Fresh Air
It's really unnecessary to rate this- my motivation to read was not based on expectations of literary anything (though the author, a former long-time editor of the Washington Post was on Fresh Air several months ago; he was terrifically articulate on air!). I needed a temporary escape, a quick and brainless read- a beach book without the beach. This politico-thriller with prose as nuanced as sledgehammer slung about a Waterford crystal gift shop, a plot ripped clean from Al Franken's imagination ...more
Bookmarks Magazine

Let's be clear: newspaper critics like books written by newspaper editors about newspaper reporting. With that filter in place, critics agreed that this smart debut novel provides an engrossing take on Washington politics; Downie's years of experience at the Washington Post and as a Washington insider give the novel an authenticity -- from the setting to the characters, all of whom seem to play by their own rules -- rarely found in the genre. But it is Downie's first work of fiction, and a few r

Caroline Mcphail-Lambert
Enjoyable read although at times I wasn't exactly sure what was going down.

The characters were believable although the protagonist spent too much time not listening to her inner voice. Immaturity perhaps, but disappointing.

Love the idea of a female president although not sure why author had to dis her near the end after building her up so much.

Mar 18, 2009 Lobstergirl rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Post employees, so they can see what a crappy writer Len Downie is.
Two stars is probably too generous. Why is Downie's prose so leaden and pedestrian? He retired from editing the Washington Post to write crap liks this? The plot is deeply ordinary, even by crappy thriller standards. Will a slutty young investigative reporter, who mysteriously wears the same sexy sleeveless black dress on every single date and interview, sleep with every single one of her sources on the way to uncovering bribery, corruption and murder reaching the highest levels of government? N ...more
How journalism can uncover corruption and save the world. Or at least save the American psyche. The basic plot is believable and timely - the US Government outsources to contractors military and intelligence activity that would normally be considered, uh, illegal. But there was too much that was verging on the unbelievable. I guess stories like this have to go there - the written equivalent of movie car chases, but it was a bit much for me.
I stopped reading this book at about 50-75 pages because it seemed like it was written from a formula: insert subplot here and a new character there; let there be a predictable affair here and a surprise character behavior there. I was looking forward to reading about the background politics and intrigues in Washington DC. I gave up when the stilted nature of the story didn't go away.
You can tell that Downie knows a lot about Washington politics and lobbyists and all of the smarmy slimy people that make politicians.

The story is meant to be a thriller and there are some interesting moments, but sometimes gets too bogged down in trying to get it "real" over building a story.
Cyndie Todd
Aug 07, 2011 Cyndie Todd rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: journalists
Recommended to Cyndie by: Fresh Air/NPR
I don't ordinarily care for fiction, but for me this book combined the perfect elements to really draw me in - investigative journalism and high profile politics. Maybe not the best book I've ever read, but one that I have to say I enjoyed.
The journalist turned novelist in this case is a bad idea. Either have the courage to write what you know from your insider view as a real news story or learn how not to write predictable plots with bland dialog and cookie cutter action.
Brian Indrelunas
A good, intriguing novel that makes me miss reporting... and wonder if there's a Stetson-based sequel in the works.
ok, good on the politics, soft on intrigue

the tension seemed to drain out of it about two thirds thru
Jul 25, 2011 Kevin added it
Pretty weak book. No one writes good fiction about DC.
Apr 06, 2009 Hilary marked it as to-read
Gift for Eugene?
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