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The Zero Game

3.89  ·  Rating Details ·  10,555 Ratings  ·  378 Reviews
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 ...more
ebook, 0 pages
Published January 20th 2004 by Grand Central Publishing
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Apr 08, 2015 Diana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
loved the storyline..interesting and kinda twisted beginning...keep you guessing,captivating also....(paperback!)
Nov 12, 2012 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 06, 2007 Paul rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Costea Constantin
Matthew Mercer și Harris Sandler joacă un joc misterios, despre care nu știe aproape nimeni - nici prietenii, nici colegii și cu siguranță nici șefii lor, care sunt unii dintre cei mai puternici senatori și congresmeni de pe Capitol Hill. Este un joc care are toate ingredientele: riscuri, recompense, mister și fiorul de a ști că, doar prin simplul fapt că ai fost invitat să-l joci, ți s-a confirmat statutul de adevărat mediator al puterii din Was
Apr 16, 2011 Megan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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
I have read a few of his books, but this is not one of his better ones. There was a lot of padding, particularly the middle part. It did gain momentum towards the end but I was glad to get it finished. It is still a reasonably good thriller based in and around the Washington political scene, but lacked an intricate plot of some of his earlier books.
Jan 05, 2016 Tara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book had a strong start. Fast paced read. The kind that keeps you on the edge of your seat. At the more than half through mark, I found myself wanting to know more about the characters. Not much was revealed, though. I felt it could've ended sooner. I did really like and enjoy Harris and Viv's friendship. Solid 3 stars. Good read.
Dee Haddrill
Jan 10, 2014 Dee Haddrill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller, read-2014
This was a very strong action-packed political thriller. Great story - I couldn't put it down. This was right up there with Vince Flynn when it comes to the political thriller genre.
Jan 24, 2016 Diane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Politics, murder, mystery, hush-hush, secrets in Washington D.C. Oh wait let me turn off CNN and write about the book. Or was I? Hmmm.
Katlyn Webb
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 23, 2017 Robert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The zero game is played by disillusioned Capitol Hill staffers betting on the minutiae of inner government workings. It's more than a game when players are murdered to keep a secret and the Justice department stonewalls the investigation. A coworker and friend of the victims won't give up, he plays superhero and conducts his own investigation along with a reluctant Senate page. Just when you think you can solve the mystery, you're wrong! More than once or twice. The book is an enjoyable read and ...more
Rula Zein-Iddin
Jun 05, 2017 Rula Zein-Iddin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thoroughly enjoyable, fast paced action packed thriller that reads like a ready-to-make tv movie script. My first book by this author and I do recommend him for a quick, entertaining read when you just want to unwind & go with the flow on a far-fetched plot that is written very well.

Note: This book was a gratis appendage to Gideon's Sword by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child. Both authors strongly recommended the book; and despite my finding their book a reasonably entertaining but somewha
Len Roberto
Mar 19, 2017 Len Roberto rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
excellent thriller...very likeable main characters!
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
Fred Fanning
Mar 02, 2017 Fred Fanning rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good story with good characters.
Alanna Spinrad
Feb 27, 2017 Alanna Spinrad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this because my brother recommended it. He's a read Meltzer fan. He was right! It was a really fun book with interesting twists and turns. I really enjoyed it.
Aug 11, 2015 Joshua rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The problem that I have with most political thrillers is, paradoxically, the politics. Most people are biased in one direction or another, and I do not appreciate reading books by people with an agenda. It doesn't matter if I share said agenda; fiction is not the place to sell it. Thankfully, the Zero Game doesn't fall into this trap. Instead, it's a novel about the corruption inherent in the system. It's also a fairly exciting and slightly terrifying look into the inner system of Washington DC. ...more
Jan 14, 2015 JBradford rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Zero Game for which this book is named is explained as a frivolous activity in which Congressional aids find themselves relieving the boredom of their lives. Contestants make book on whether certain small things will or will not get included in final congressional bills. Matthew has been invited by Harris to play the game, which they do … and then along comes a chance for a big killing, when the item up for discussion is the granting of sale government land containing an abandoned gold mine ...more
Oct 23, 2012 Judith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nicole R
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
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
Feb 09, 2012 Jim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 04, 2010 Jerry rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 20, 2012 Jason rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Ryland Davidson
Nov 03, 2016 Ryland Davidson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I recently read the book The Zero Game by Brad Meltzer. This book describes a seemingly harmless yet extremely illegal game played by members of congress. In this game they bet on small bills in congress. The only catch is you don't know who else is playing. This game is seen as somewhat harmless by most members of congress, until one staffer mysteriously dies after making a record bet. The main characters in this book are Harris, Matthew, Viv, Janos, and Barry.
I liked the way this book tried t
Patricia Hamill
Sep 28, 2014 Patricia Hamill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of political thrillers
Recommended to Patricia by: my dad
The Zero Game is an action-packed, yet disturbing, political thriller. Matthew and Harris have been playing a game, one that seems harmless. Place your bids, sneak a bit of trivial legislation onto a bill, and collect your winnings. A victimless crime, until one of the players ends up dead. Soon one of the players finds himself playing a new game. One of life and death.

I must say I really liked this book. I found the pace quick and the story intriguing. Twists and surprises, chases and narrow e
Feb 25, 2013 Aaron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 29, 2010 Linda C. rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jennifer Collins
I usually can't put Meltzer's work down once I pick it up, and I felt that way about this one as I went through the last half, but the pacing and the structure of this one threw me off a bit. Structurally, it felt like some odd choices were made. Chapters focusing on the protagonists were in first person present, and the few chapters focused elsewhere were in third person past, and so jumping between chapters sometimes felt fairly jarring. The plot also lagged some, about a fourth of the way in. ...more
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Who loves Brad Meltzer's books? 5 20 Jan 20, 2015 04:41PM  
literary magazines 5 16 Nov 17, 2014 11:23AM  
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  • Resurrection Day
  • The Berlin Conspiracy (Jack Teller, #1)
  • The Whole Truth (A. Shaw, #1)
  • Power Play
  • The President's Assassin (Sean Drummond #5)
  • The Apostle (Scot Harvath, #8)
  • The Inside Ring (Joe DeMarco, #1)
  • The Fourth Perimeter
  • Sleeping Beauty
  • Critical Mass
  • A Plague of Secrets (Dismas Hardy, #13)
  • Above the Law
  • Quantico Rules (Puller Monk #1)
Brad Meltzer is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Inner Circle, The Book of Fate, and seven other bestselling thrillers. In addition to his fiction, Brad is one of the only authors to ever have books on the bestseller list for nonfiction (History Decoded), advice (Heroes for My Son and Heroes for My Daughter), children's books (I Am Amelia Earhart and I Am Abraham Lincoln) and even g ...more
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