“Lawson’s engaging characters, with DeMarco leading the pack, come across as seriously flawed individuals trying to navigate a political world of high demands and constant distractions. Full of insider information, this novel reinforces Lawson’s place in the upper rank of Washington thriller specialists.” Publishers Weekly
A Joe DeMarco Thriller
Atlantic Monthly Press
978-0-87113-983-2 • $23.00 • Cloth • June 2008
Mike Lawson’s Joe DeMarco thrillers have drawn praise for their finetuned suspense, off-kilter characters, intricate plots, and revealing portrait of Washington, DC behind closed doors. House Rules, the third novel in the series, opens with a narrowly averted terrorist attack, a bomb meant for the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel. Then a private plane headed straight for the White House ignores warnings and is shot down. The pilot, a Muslim American, is suspected of having ties to al-Qaeda. An atmosphere of fear and panic overruns the country, and when the junior senator from Virginia introduces legislation to deport all noncitizen Muslims and start extensive background checks of all Muslim Americans, his bill gains surprising traction.
Speaker of the House John Fitzgerald Mahoney is not pleased. He knows it is the kind of knee-jerk intolerant response people will come to regret, like the Japanese internment camps in World War II, and he needs to find a way to kill the bill before it reaches the House. But Mahoney has a secretthe man who tried to park his plane on the president’s desk was the son of one of his oldest friends. The speaker is in a bind, and also has some vague suspicions about the attack, so he calls his man DeMarco.
An average guy, DeMarco struggles with debt, divorce, and a difficult, unreasonable boss. He is an unlikely hero, in over his head, relying on old friends Emma, a spy who may or may not be retired, and Neil, an information broker as he attempts to get to the bottom of the attacks. House Rules is a riveting read, full of suspense, fascinating characters, humor, and timely political intrigue.