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The Zero Game

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  7,502 ratings  ·  301 reviews
The New York Times bestselling author of The Millionaires and The First Counsel returns to Washington, 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....more
Paperback, 468 pages
Published February 1st 2005 by Grand Central Publishing (first published January 1st 2004)
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Community Reviews

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Good political thriller with a semi-realistic tone. Meltzer keeps the pace going although at times it's at the sacrifice of the writing. How many times can a character "smash" through the door way? Really? A nicely done cave sequence mid-story that adds the last needed reader momentum to get to the finale and tie up all the loose ends. Don't expect the book to stay with you after completed, nor to learn anything insightful about the inner workings of DC. Overall, exactly what the cover advertise...more
Apr 16, 2011 Megan rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Megan by: liked other books by author
Shelves: suspense
ok read...liked other Meltzer books better...

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 g...more
I don't know, I wanted this to be so much better than it was. Two staffers, bored with their jobs join a game being played in Washington. No one truly knows who's playing the game, just the person who sponsored you and the one you sponsor. Bets placed on mundane or small matters definitly keep you more interested in the day to day of your job in Washington. Especially the curiosity about who else is playing. Could that sentor being playing, is he too involved in the outcome of this vote? That st...more
If you love thrillers, don't miss this one.
My husband and I "buddy" read this one together. We were both into it right away.
A pretty much harmless, albiet illegal, game is being played by a few workers on Capitol Hill. It's pretty low stakes stuff, but one bet in particular becomes very high stakes. Although confident, Matthew starts to feel a little nervous about this one. So, he keeps his eye on things this time. But, someone doesn't like that too much.
Matthew's sleuthing sets off a chain re...more
Πάνος Τουρλής
Προσοχή, μπορεί να περιέχει SPOILERS!
Είμαι λίίίγο διχασμένος. Ακροβατεί ανάμεσα στην επιστημονική φαντασία και την αμερικανιά. Ο Χάρις και ο Μάθιου, υπάληλλοι με σημαντική θέση στην Επιτροπή Διανομής Κονδυλίων του Καπιτωλίου, μυούνται σε ένα παιχνίδι στοιχημάτων με κωδικοποιημένα μηνύματα. Αθώα στοιχήματα, χαζά σχεδόν, που όμως μπορούν να στοιχίσουν ζωές. Στον Μάθιου κάτι δεν αρέσει και ακολουθεί έναν νεαρό που τελικά δεν είναι κλητήρας ούτε της Γερουσίας ούτε της Βουλής. Και δολοφονείται. Ο Χάρ...more
Thomas III
I read my first Brad Metzer book, “The Zero Game”. I like this type of political action genre and thought it was worth the read. The concept of having games played over legislative results is almost comical until you step back and realize how many people have a hand in the real game. It was an interesting look into the deeper and darker pieces of politics and how everyone wants a piece, especially lobbyists. What I liked about the book is that it wasn’t political. You didn’t have to be on one si...more
I have been reading Mr. Meltzer's books in order from the first book he wrote. I believe every review I've written has been largely positive but lamented the fact that the main character always made one hugely bonehead move that was not very plausible to me. Well...that is NOT the case with this book. This is definitely the best of the bunch so far. The story is interesting and there's a surprise at the beginning that I thought was nicely done.

So basically if you like a good mystery with a litl...more
This book was more exciting and more alluring than your typical "political thriller"...while you get some sense about the politics, and how things happen around Capital Hill, this story is more about a mystery surrounding current scientific studies, and the adventure of a great chase. This book starts with a small idea (the Zero Game) and quickly explodes into the unraveling of a conspiracy. I can easily see inspirations for this book in the likes of John Grisham and Michael Crichton, there is...more
Linda C.
I came by The Zero Game several years ago at a writing conference I attended in Ft. Lauderdale. Brad Meltzer spoke. He was quite the funny and entertaining speaker as I recall. I took that as a good sign and a good excuse to buy an autographed copy of his book. Well, I'm learning.

The Zero Game is fair in my mind. It's full of mystery and intrigue set in Washington, DC amid the political world. Harris and Viv are very complex yet likeable characters. Yet I constantly found myself rereading in ord...more
Some suspense, but uneven pace and preposterous chase scenes spoil indifference-breeding thriller.

This was our first Brad Meltzer, the author having been recommended by a friend. We're usually game for any kind of mystery or thriller, but this one fell short of expectations. The "Zero Game" in question turns out to be a silly betting scheme that consumes/wastes the first third of the novel. The incredulous exploits of protagonist Capital staffer Harris, with 17-year-old senate page Viv his somew...more
Just started reading another book by Meltzer and remembered the reason I even picked it up. The Zero Game is a really thrilling read about a group who play a game with congressional bills. The bet is usually whether they can insert some nonsense into the a bill, a weird sentence or strange appropriation (pork) with no real meaning that they can sneak by. The game is run secretly in an extremely clandestine fashion until one of the aides is murdered-- it seems the game has more meaning than anyon...more
Brad Meltzer- The Zero Game (Coronet Books 2004) 3.75 Stars

Matthew and Harris are both senior staffers on the capital. They have both just started in on the secret Zero Game, where they place secret wagers on the capital. Now they have discovered that it is becoming deadly and may just cost them their lives. Now they must redeem themselves and get to the bottom of this while running for their lives.

It took me awhile to get into this one; it could have had a better introduction. It did slowly pic...more
Matthew and Harris are 10 year veterans of the Hill (which, trust me, is a LONG time!). Matthew is a staffer on the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee and Harris is the Chief of Staff for a Senator. They both are really good at their jobs, enjoy them well enough, but are looking for something to spice it up. Enter: The Zero Game. A highly secretive and exclusive group of people who place bets on trivial legislation and work to skew things in their favor. But, when Matthew and Harris deci...more
Dec 04, 2012 Jason rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Wouldn't
Recommended to Jason by: No one
A fair read. I had heard Brad Meltzer speak on the radio and seen one of his shows. Based on that I wanted to read his books. I was going in hoping for something wonderful, but got something mediocre instead. I read through the whole book, the story kept me interested. I will probably read another one of his books again, just not anytime soon. The potential for a great story was there, but it never really sucked me in or engaged me to really think.

The good points:
His information on real places...more
The story: A young staffer at Capitol Hill takes part in a "game". The game is to trick senators and house members into doing something publicly, without knowing they've been tricked. The game presumably started innocently enough, with a senator saying something in a speech that was not supposed to be part of the speech. As this story opens, the challenge is to insert something into a bill that will become law. The little insertion is the approval of the sale of an old non-functioning mine in a...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shelley aka Gizmo's Reviews
Synopsis: 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, especiall...more
This book was packaged with another eBook I purchased. It was an un-advertised, free companion book. I almost didn't read it, as I was not pleased with the book it came with, but I'm so glad I did, as I liked it much better than the book I bought!

It started out as a drama centered about the working staff of Congress, the people who approve the funds to get things done. The author’s wife is a Washington lawyer, and has supplied a lot of factual background. It is fascinating to learn about how Was...more
Aug 21, 2008 Sheila rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sheila by: Shannon Lane
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Debra Chapoton
The unelected underlings are the ones who really seem to run Washington in this very fast moving murder/suspense/mystery novel by Brad Meltzer. The "game" in THE ZERO GAME is a risky top secret gamble that is played by the real power brokers of D.C.: Senate staffers. The action is told in the first person present tense when the heroes are plotting, discovering, running and then switches to the third person past when the sinister evil forces do their deeds. This clever style kept me reading at br...more
Saw it at Wal-Mart, read the jacket and it sounded good, so I did a bit of research and decided to give Brad a try. Boy, am I glad I did!

This book is unbelievable! I'm extremely glad I decided to 'gamble' on it. Brad knows how to write, and I can't wait to pick up his other novels. His characters are colourful, with completely different personalities. His plot twists are awesomely written; heck, the plot turns again in the Epilogue, and it was awesome to see a twist thrown in that way. I'd never...more
This could have been a great book but too many things dragged it down. 1st, the summary of the book is inaccurate regarding the main characters. I won't say what to avoid spoiling for the reader. The chase scenes are unrealistic given that the villain somehow has extraordinary strength, skills, razor sharp perception to anticipate which direction someone has gone that he's lost sight of during a chase. Don't get me started on the little device he's got to simulate a heart attack that supposed to...more
Rossrn Nunamaker
I'd read Meltzer's The Book of Fate and with three books I wanted to read checked out or over due at the library I gravitated to the M's and found the Zero Game.

A suspense thriller set on Capital Hill grabbed my attention and the book turned out to be a fun read, but not much more.

Meltzer provided in-depth understanding of the operations on the Hill and set up a story about a pair of staffers, a lobbyist, a high-ranking official in the Attorney General's office, and a hired killer.

He also covers...more
This was my first Meltzer book, and I decided to give it a try because I love the conspiracy/thriller books so much. No offense intended, but I picked it up because I wanted to read this type of book while I'm waiting for the next Steve Berry. I was very impressed.

The pace moved quickly, which I love - I don't need a lot of blah blahing - get it moving please! Right on. Even if the inner workings seem to be fictional, you can't help but wonder "hmm..I bet this stuff really happens." Another reas...more
A fun thriller that pits a jaded Appropriations Committee staffer, Harris, and an idealistic black teen page, Viv, against professional killer hired to keep a nefarious plot secret. It all gets started when a gambling game over success of earmark deals leads to inclusion of sales of an old government owned gold mine in South Dakota in bill. Harris� friend and fellow staffer, Matthew, gets curious about the mine, which leads to his murder. Harris knows he�s next on the hit list, so he must pursue...more
Michelle Reynoso
This book is a fast-paced political thriller filled with so many details it's almost a lesson in the ins & outs of Capital Hill at the same time. Loved, loved, loved this book, and I can tell I am now going to pick up more Brad Meltzer books in the future.

Not only is this book fast-paced, it is also unpredictable. What you think will happen is flipped around, always keeping the reader guessing, which makes you want to read even more!

I would say this is like a John Grisham novel, but with m...more
This was one of those really paranoid thrillers where the bad guy seems all but invincible and is chasing the hero through pretty much the whole book. It made me really feel the peril the main characters were in! The premise was a really interesting one and the resolution was satisfying, not a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing.
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 w...more
The first quarter of the book yielded great promise with the idea that legislators, assistants, and lobbyists might make bets on legislation, particularly that which was meaningless. Even that promising theme was eventually destroyed as a hoax at the end, much to my disappointment. The book went downhill when the original character who was narrating the story in the first person was suddenly killed, and the reader has to make the rough adjustment of following the rest of the book narrated in the...more
I'm really glad I didn't judge this author by The Book of Fate, because this one is soooo much better. It had me hooked from the first few pages - I really didn't want to put it down. I made the mistake of reading the description on the flyleaf before I read the book, so I started out with some misconceptions; this is the first time I've read a flyleaf that I think was actually wrong in its plot summation. But once I got into the story that the author had actually written, I enjoyed it a lot. He...more
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Who loves Brad Meltzer's books? 3 14 Oct 01, 2013 04:38PM  
literary magazines 1 11 Nov 22, 2011 12:01PM  
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  • A Certain Justice (Abe Glitsky, #1)
Brad Meltzer is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Inner Circle, as well as the bestsellers The Tenth Justice, Dead Even, The First Counsel, The Millionaires, The Zero Game, The Book of Fate and The Book of Lies.

He is also one of the co-creators of the TV show, Jack & Bobby—and is the Eisner Award-winning author of the critically acclaimed comic book, Justice League of America.

More about Brad Meltzer...
Identity Crisis The Inner Circle The Tenth Justice The Book of Lies The Book of Fate

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