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The Mastermind Reader’s Guide

By Evan Ratliff

The Mastermind by Evan Ratliff

READERS GUIDE

Questions and Topics for Discussion

1. The epigraph of the book is from Cormac McCarthy: “It takes very little to govern good people. Very little. And bad people can’t be governed at all. Or if they could I never heard of it.” What do you think this means in the context of the story told in The Mastermind?

2. The Mastermind shifts perspectives, telling the story from the viewpoints of the criminals in the network, the investigators, and the journalist. What is the cumulative effect of that approach? Did you find yourself identifying more closely with one perspective or another?

3. What did you find most surprising in the book? Most frightening or disturbing? What details are lodged in your brain that you’ll never forget?

4. How trustworthy do you find the mercenaries in the book as tellers of their own stories? Did you believe their accounts?

5. Did the book change how you feel about how people become involved in criminal cartels and syndicates? In what ways?

6. How did you feel about the choices the doctor and the pharmacist made—and the reasons they gave—for participating in RX Limited? To what extent did you sympathize with their plights, and their arguments that they were filling in gaps where the healthcare system had failed?

7. What did you think about the heated battle inside the DEA for control of the Le Roux investigation? Did you feel one side deserved to work the case more, or handled it better?

8. Did you feel like justice was carried out in the case of Paul Le Roux? What about the people who worked for him?

9. Did you understand Le Roux’s motivations by the end of the book?

10. After finishing the book, what do you think will happen to Le Roux now?

 
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