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The Means

The Means

A Novel

  • reading group guide
Part Primary Colors, part House of Cards,The Means takes you deep into high-stakes politics where everyone has something to hide.

Tom Pauley is a conservative trial attorney in Durham, NC, who is tapped by GOP leaders to campaign for the Governor's mansion. His bold style makes him a favorite for a run at the White House.

Mitchell Mason is the president-elect of the United States, pushed into politics by a father determined to create a political dynasty. Mason manages the White House with a personal touch that makes both friends and enemies.

Samantha Davis is a child actor-turned-lawyer-turned-journalist, working her way up from the bottom in a competitive industry. She is determined and brilliant, and her dogged pursuit of a decade-old story could trigger a scandal that would upend the political landscape.

New York Times bestselling author Douglas Brunt's "savage" (Publishers Weekly) prose creates an incisive portrait of ambition, power, and what it takes to win in the ruthless world of politics today.
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  • Simon & Schuster Audio | 
  • ISBN 9781442373709 | 
  • September 2014
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Read an Excerpt

The Means


“There’s been a plane crash.”

Samantha had expected the receptionist to ask her to wait a moment or to offer her coffee. People are running in all directions around them but the receptionist sits in place, redirecting phone calls.

“Where?” Samantha asks.

“In the ocean, just beyond Staten Island. About five minutes ago.”

“Passenger jet?”

“Yes, I think it was one of the big kind.... see more

Hear an Excerpt

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for The Means includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Douglas Brunt. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


The Means tells the story of three individuals who have one thing in common: ambition. Samantha Davis is a lawyer-turned-journalist who wants to report honest news that really matters. Tom Pauley is a successful attorney in North Carolina who gets tapped by the GOP to run for governor, and Mitchell Mason is the president of the United States, a Democrat, and a good politician with his own set of morals. When Tom Pauley decides to run against Mitchell Mason in the presidential election, the three characters become entangled in a news story that changes the outcome of the election and the future of America. The Means explores the face of contemporary politics and raises the question of whether the ends do justify the means.

Topics & Questions for Discussion

1. “The production reminds her of the image of a duck on water. On the surface, calm and beautiful, while beneath the surface the bony, orange legs are thrashing like mad” (12). Discuss this introduction to Samantha Davis a see more

About the Author

Douglas Brunt
Photograph by Megyn Kelly

Douglas Brunt

Until 2011, Douglas Brunt was CEO of Authentium, Inc., a security company. His first novel, Ghosts of Manhattan, was a New York Times bestseller. A Philadelphia native, he lives in New York with his wife and three children. Visit




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