Conversation Starters for Book Clubs

Questions About Ready for the People


    1.Why is Hank reluctant to propose to Amelia?

    2.Do you like JT as a person?

    3.Is Hank growing as a character (personally)? 

    4.Is his political perspective changing?


    5.        Did you solve the mystery before Hank did? If you did, how early in the novel did 
               you do so and what were the clues? If you didn’t solve the mystery, were the clues

    6.Do you agree with J.T.’s political perspective? Do you know anyone like him? 

    7.        Can you see the government treating Revolutionary Yorktown as a militia / 
               paramilitary group?

    8.Do you think the controversy regarding a stratospheric solar shield could happen?

    9.Did you like the end of the story? Did it answer all of your questions? Would you like
               to know what happens to Hank in the future?


    10.How does Ready for the People compare to Ready for the Defense? How are they
                 similar and how are they different?

Questions About Ready for the Defense


    1.In the story, Hank loses a friend. How do you think you would have reacted if you
                were Hank?

    2.Why is Hank so compelled to find the killer instead of simply letting the police or FBI
                do it? Is his motivation justified?

    3.Do you like Roger Lynch? Do you think he and Hank would work well together in a

    4.Do you think Hank and Amelia have the elements of a lasting relationship? Do they
                perceive each other as equals? Does Hank’s have any insecurities about her?
                Does she have any insecurities about him?

    5.Do you think Hank’s relationship with his parents (and his parents relationship with 
                each other) have affected his personality?  

    6.Would you like to read more about Mac? 

    7.Do you believe there is a difference between killing someone and letting him die? 


    8.Did you solve the mystery before Hank did? If you did, how early in the novel did
                you do so and what were the clues? If you didn’t guess the murderer’s identity,
                were the clues fair?

    9.Did you like the very end of the story? What do you think Hank should do with his


    10.Do you like the references to the D.C. area, and to contemporary culture?

    11.Before reading the novel, did you know that America had once developed 
                 biowarfare weapons? Do you think it had to do so?


    12.Do you like the dialog in the novel? All of it? If not, why?

    13.Ready for the Defense is the second novel that Mike has published, although the
                 first that he wrote. How do you think it compares to Mike’s other novel (Dark
                 Horse)? How did Mike’s story telling change between Dark Horse and Ready for
                 the Defense? Was there an change in writing style or just a change in the
                 narrator’s point of view?

Questions About Grave Injuries


    1.Who is your favorite character in the novel (minor characters included)? Why? Do 
                you know anyone like that character in real life? Did that fact affect your liking
                of the character? Did it seem right what happened to that character?

    2.Do you like Nicky as a person? Does the death of his first wife (Corin) excuse any of
                his character flaws? Which flaws, and why or why not? Should a political
                candidate's marital (or extra-marital) life be a significant issue in an election?
                Would you have voted for Nicky?

    3.Do you think Nicky is a good lawyer? Do you think he would make a good judge? Do
               you think there are differences between the qualities of a good lawyer and the
               qualities of a good judge? What are they? Do you think a fair-minded, even-
               tempered non-lawyer could do a good job as a judge despite his or her not having 
               attended law school? 

    4.In Chapter 12, Nicky encounters a particularly stressful situation. Why does he react 
               to it the way he does? How would you have reacted?

    5.Why does Nicky want to have kids with Scarlet if he does not love her?

    6.How does Nicky's relationship with Diz differ from his relationships with the other 
               women in his life (apart from the fact they are not dating)?

    7.Do Nicky and Sal have a good friendship? What does each man get out of the
               friendship? Would you call it a "usual" or "unusual" male friendship? Why? Do 
               you think the friendship will last?

    8.Is Detective Halliday a good cop? How do you think Tony Donato would have
               investigated the murders? How would you have investigated them?


    9.Were you surprised by the identity of the murderer? If you guessed the person’s 
                identity, how early in the novel did you do so and what were the clues? If you
                didn’t guess the person’s identity, were the clues fair?

    10.       Did you like the end of the story? Did it answer all of your questions? Would you 
                like to know what happens to Nicky in the future?


    11.       Have you ever been to any of the places depicted in the novel (e.g., Armory Square
                in Syracuse, the Saratoga Racetrack, the New York State Fair, Dinosaur 
                Bar-B-Que, the Turning Stone Casino, the Carrier Dome, etc.)? Were the
                depictions accurate? How did this affect your reading of the story? 


    12.Do you like the tone and style of the novel? Which novel does this one most remind
                 you of?

    13.Do you like the dialog in the novel? Is it realistic? Does dialog in a novel typically 
                 differ from the way people talk in real life? Why do you think this is or is not?