The Directive Review
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As the old saying goes, “A leopard can’t change its spots.” And no matter how hard author Matthew Quirk’s protagonist, Mike Ford, tries to turn his life around, it just doesn’t seem to work. In his latest thriller, The Directive, he’s forced to plan a robbery that could be worth billions of dollars.

Quirk’s second Mike Ford novel (after 2012’s The 500) finds the troubled teen turned straight-laced lawyer struggling to stay on the straight and narrow. As his fiancée, Annie, puts the finishing touches on their big, expensive wedding, Mike decides to patch things up with his estranged brother, Jack.

Once again, Jack is in trouble—and, once again, Mike finds himself caught in the middle. Now it seems as though the only way to keep Jack—and Annie—safe is to use the skills that Mike picked up as a kid to pull off a dangerous heist at the Federal Reserve.

One man’s past, present, and future collide in this tense crime thriller sequel. In trying to reconcile with his brother in time for his wedding, Mike ends up putting the wedding—and his fiancée’s life—at risk. And it’s that personal element that gives the story its appeal. This isn’t just another story about a con man who’s planning his latest heist—or a cop who’s trying to crack his latest case. There’s more at stake here—and that gives the story an added sense of urgency.

As Mike is pulled into doing one more job, however, things get complicated. There’s a lot going on here; it’s a detailed heist involving a number of players—and a whole lot of moving parts. The details of the job can be confusing, and the various characters’ connections often seem rather tenuous—and, for that reason, it may require more concentration than the average crime thriller.

Meanwhile, though some series make it easy for new readers to pick up the story in the middle, that’s not necessarily the case here. Quirk mentions Mike’s past, his family, and his career, but he doesn’t go into detail about any of it. So while fans of the series should have no problem picking up Mike’s story, newcomers may feel frustrated by the lack of character development. Mike seems to be a fascinating character with a fascinating past—but very little of it is revealed here.

If you’re looking for some laid-back weekend reading, this complex crime novel may not be the best choice. But fans of Matthew Quirk’s first Mike Ford novel will enjoy the action, suspense, and family drama of this thorough thriller.

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