House Secrets (Joe DeMarco Series #4)

House Secrets (Joe DeMarco Series #4)

4.3 41
by Mike Lawson

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In House Secrets, DeMarco is sent by Speaker of the House John Mahoney to look into the accidental death of a mediocre newspaper reporter who, in the days before his death, claimed that he had a lead on the biggest political scandal since Watergate. It turns out that the reporter was on the trail of Senator Paul Morelli, the handsome and gifted rising star

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In House Secrets, DeMarco is sent by Speaker of the House John Mahoney to look into the accidental death of a mediocre newspaper reporter who, in the days before his death, claimed that he had a lead on the biggest political scandal since Watergate. It turns out that the reporter was on the trail of Senator Paul Morelli, the handsome and gifted rising star from New York, considered a shoo-in for his party’s presidential nomination. Morelli’s past has already been scrutinized and he looks clean, but then why is DeMarco being followed by a pair of thugs who freelance for the CIA?

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Outstanding.” —Library Journal, Five Best Thrillers of the Year

[I] consider Mike Lawson my favorite political thriller writer (Flynn, Baldacci and Metzger will have to go to the back of the line)." —George Easter, Deadly Pleasures

House Secrets is his best yet.” —Jeff Ayers, The Big Thrill

“Congressional fixer Joe DeMarco returns in the fourth of Mike Lawson’s brainy, character-driven and droll novels of D.C. politics.” —Adam Woog, Seattle Times

“Writing a top-tier Washington thriller ain’t easy. Just think of the competition. … I’m happy to reporter that Mike Lawson is up to the challenge. House Secrets is plotted artfully, written with panache and has a surprise ending—don’t cheat and peak—that made me roar with laughter. … Lawson has a true insider’s insight about real-world spinelessness, venality, and corruption that have taken the place of moral courage and true leadership on Capitol Hill…a fine ear for dialogue...[and] a good eye for irony. … What makes House Secrets so delicious is that even though we know Senator Morelli is a bad apple almost from the get-go, Lawson inserts enough twists and turns into this book to keep readers guessing how it all resolves right up until the incredibly funny last page. Trust me. Don’t cheat and peek.” —John Weisman, Washington Times

Lawson’s got the goods for bestsellerdom.” —Sarah Weinman, The Baltimore Sun

“The twists, turns, and surprises never flag, leading to a blockbuster conclusion that is letter perfect, one that few will forget anytime soon. … [House Secrets is] a wry and entertaining novel about Washington politics.” —Mary Whipple,

A startling tale, with twists and turns galore. … Lawson has created an engrossing, full of sinister characters from both sides of the law. … House Secrets is the fourth in the Joe DeMarco series, which is rapidly becoming a favorite for me.” —Maddy Van Hertbruggen,

A fantastic tale filled with twists and spins that seem plausible … A consistently great series.” —Harriet Klausner, The Midwest Book Review

“Despite his many flaws, DeMarco is a sympathetic character with a self-deprecating sense of humor. This leads to some snappy dialogue … Lawson give his readers a clever plot … and maintains suspense.” —Dick Saxe, Mystery News

“The kind of whodunit thriller you can’t stop thinking about while you’re reading and can’t stop talking about once you’re done. Smart, original, crafted with true insider knowledge, brimming with vivid characters, and a forward drive that just won’t quit. . . . I couldn’t put it down.” —Vince Flynn on The Inside Ring

“[Lawson is] on his game from the first chapter. As a fixer, De Marco has seen his share of corruption and the secrets of the movers and shakers, done his business in the shabby corridors of power. Given questionable evidence, De Marco is inclined to err on the side of caution, but Lawson never lets his protagonist off that easy, forcing him to make tough choices and face down personal demons. As Joe works his inside sources, the reader gets a bird’s-eye view of the Washington machinations he thrives on: leverage, an exchange of favors, the shifting layers of loyalty and opportunity. This thriller is no exception, another solid chronicle of the vagaries of Washington politics and the promises of elected leaders with feet of clay.” —Luan Gaines, Curled Up With a Good Book

Publishers Weekly

In Lawson's excellent fourth Washington thriller to feature Joe DeMarco (after House Rules), the government investigator looks into the drowning death of a Washington Post reporter working a story involving Paul Morelli, a charismatic U.S. senator from New York. Morelli, "the man most likely to be the Democratic candidate for president in the next election," stands for all that is liberal and good, but, unfortunately, after a couple of drinks, he morphs into a sexual predator bent on molestation and rape. To cover up this behavior, Morelli turns to a mysterious benefactor who persuades the women involved to deny the incidents; anyone who doesn't go along gets killed. After DeMarco's boss, Speaker of the House John Mahoney, tells him to get the goods on Morelli, DeMarco sets up an elaborate sting. The sting succeeds, but those who helped with the operation begin to turn up dead. The action builds to a stunning final twist. (July)

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Kirkus Reviews
Uneven thriller follows the trail of a dead reporter who dug enough dirt to cancel a senator's bid for the presidency. With political fixer Joe DeMarco's fourth case (House Rules, 2008, etc.), Lawson brings little change to the formula: covert plots, family secrets, clammed-up sources and suspicious deaths. Trying to find out why Washington Post reporter Terry Finley was apparently murdered, Joe learns the middling scribe may have hit on a career-making story. A list of phone numbers stashed (too) conveniently in Finley's wallet leads Joe to several women who may have been sexually victimized by Senator Paul Morelli, the Democratic front-runner in the upcoming presidential election. Morelli may also be the puppet of someone referred to as "the old man." Joe and his partner Emma cut to the chase, interviewing sources in quick, engaging scenes spiked with sharp lines. A big break comes (rather easily) when Morelli's alcoholic wife informs Joe that the would-be president sexually molested her daughter from a previous marriage. After the wife talks, she's murdered, and Joe is convinced Morelli planned the killing. To trap the senator, he hatches an incredibly transparent plot. Funded by the Republicans' presidential front-runner, he hires a down-on-her-luck Hollywood actress to tempt Morelli to rough her up. Joe plants video cameras in her apartment and engages a cop to cuff Morelli as he puts the moves on the actress. That canny Morelli would fall for this amateurish setup is hard to swallow, but he does and it works, effectively ending his bid for the presidency. What later transpires noses the suspense back up for an over-the-top yet chilling finish. Brisk pacing, some crisp scenes and astrong finish offset the been-there, done-that plot. Agent: David Gernert/The Gernert Company

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Product Details

Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date:
Joe DeMarco Series, #4
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.92(w) x 4.32(h) x 1.43(d)

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