Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Mystery Book Review: House Rules by Mike Lawson

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of House Rules by Mike Lawson. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

House Rules by Mike LawsonBuy from Amazon.com

House Rules by
A Joe DeMarco Thriller

Atlantic Monthly Press (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-87113-983-9 (0871139839)
ISBN-13: 978-0-87113-983-2 (9780871139832)
Publication Date: June 2008
List Price: $23.00

Synopsis (from the publisher): A terrorist attack, a bomb meant for the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel, is narrowly averted. 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 non-citizen 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 secret—the 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.

Review: Congressional investigator Joe DeMarco is called upon to look into a series of terrorist threats by the Speaker of the House in House Rules, the third political thriller in this series by Mike Lawson.

America is in a state of unrest. There have been attempts to bomb a railway terminal and to fly a plane into the heart of Washington DC. People are increasingly fearful and more panic-stricken as each new assault is made. A senator from Virginia contends that all that is necessary to calm the country is to run background checks on all Muslims and deport any who are not American. He is so sure this will stop the violence against Americans that he proposes a law to bring before Congress. Other senators as well as representatives, including the Speaker of the House, are against his proposal and set out to fight it through other channels. One of those channels is in the person of Joe DeMarco, the go-to-guy for the House Speaker, who is assigned the task of finding the source of the most recent terrorist acts, attacks in which the terrorist, a Muslim, was killed before his task had been completed. It looks to Joe like the man might have been coerced into a situation and then killed for some reason before he could fulfill his mission. Who would go to such lengths? It would take someone with a lot of power and money to initiate such attacks and unfortunately there is no shortage of people locally with both: the mob, drug lords, and, of course, politicians.

House Rules is an exhilarating read full of surprises from beginning to end. A political thriller to be sure, but also a terrific whodunit-style mystery. Lawson delivers an insider view of the workings of Congress, the FBI, and other government agencies that add a level of sophistication to the novel that works to its benefit. At the center of the story, though, is Joe DeMarco, a likeable hero who realizes he cannot do it all alone and enlists the aid of some old friends, colorful characters in their own right. A thoroughly entertaining book, House Rules is highly recommended.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of for contributing her review of House Rules and to Mike Lawson for providing a copy of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2008 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved.

For more visit Mysterious Reviews, a partner with the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books which is committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

Return to ...


Post a Comment

Omnimystery Blog Archive

Total Pageviews (last 30 days)

Omnimystery News
Original Content Copyright © 2022 — Omnimystery, a Family of Mystery Websites — All Rights Reserved
Guest Post Content (if present) Copyright © 2022 — Contributing Author — All Rights Reserved