Secret Agenda > Reading Group Guide
Suggested Questions for Discussion
- Secret Agenda centers around multimillionaire Wall Streeters who brought our economy to its knees and have emerged from the debacle richer and more powerful than ever. Someone is making them pay for it in a way that is more devastating to men than murder. Do you think the punishment fits the crime?
- All of the victims attended the prestigious Gouverneur Morris University and are members of the elite Beta Alpha Beta Phi, one of the oldest fraternities in the United States. Known as the Golden Guys back then, they brought the university and the fraternity to the height of fame with their prowess on the football field. How do you feel about fraternities and their influence on college students and society?
- Back when they were still undergraduates, the Golden Guys vowed that within twenty-five years of their graduation they would take over the nation just as they always took over the football field. That time has now arrived. Given the positions they have achieved, do you think they should be able to realize their goal?
- Among the Golden Guys we meet are Tony Portman, the real estate mogul; Bob Michaelson, known as the Hedge Fund Honcho; Albert Foster, the Park Avenue urologist; Neal Bernard, the high-powered Wall Street litigator; Nicholas Hammond III, known as the Take-Over King; Doug McGrath, the popular movie star; scientist Jason Gilbert, winner of the Nobel Prize; and United States Senator Lyle Wayne. Do any of them remind you of people you know or people you have read about in the news?
- Another Golden Guy, who could also be in the castrator's sights, is the Reverend Arnold Simon. Years ago, he gave up his wealth and life of privilege to work with society's outcasts—and he has vowed to force his fraternity brothers to repent their misdeeds and change their ways. What did you think of him and of his work with those in need?
- Tom Berenson, the retired police lieutenant who now owns a bookstore in Brooklyn, is the man the Golden Guys seek out to find their attacker. At first he is reluctant to get involved with these men, but when they make him an offer that will save his business and put his daughter, Stephanie, through college, he relents. Do you think he was right to take on the case?
- Tom's wife, Beth, died two years ago, but we learn a great deal about her and their relationship through Tom's memories. How would you describe Beth? What do you think of her and of the marriage she and Tom had?
- So that he can meet the victims and potential victims at one time and in one place, Tom is invited to the Golden Guys' twenty-fifth anniversary celebration at Gouverneur Morris University. What did you think of the lavish event? Were you surprised by some of the interactions that took place between some of the fraternity brothers?
- At the anniversary celebration, Tom meets Nora Malcolm, the TV producer who is filming a documentary about the Golden Guys. He is told that she should be able to help him with background material on the men. What do you think of Nora and of her assistant, Denise Jackson, and of their attitude toward the men they are filming?
- As Tom and Nora work together, they realize that they have a great deal in common. Both, however, are struggling to get over lost love. Were you pleased to see the warmth they felt for each other blossom into an affair? Did you hope that what they felt for each other could help them get past their loss and build a future together?
- Among the many suspects Tom is investigating is Vittorio Capperrelli, the macho wrestler and sports entrepreneur, whose sexy actress wife appears to have slept with all the victims. What do you think of Vittorio and of the private meeting he demands with Tom?
- Tom's father-in-law, Max, who stayed on after Beth's death, plays a big role in Tom's life. Did you like Max? Why? What did you think of the advice he gave Tom about his relationship with Nora?
- At the home of Golden Guy Albert Foster, Tom meets Madison, Foster's daughter. Madison is the same age as Tom's daughter, Stephanie. Compare the two girls. What do you think of them?
- Were you surprised when Tom discovers who the castrator is? What did you think of the motive?
- Throughout his investigation, Tom has known that he and his family are in danger, that the Golden Guys will not want them around after the culprit is caught. Do you think that the steps he has taken to protect himself and his family will work?
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