House Witnessby Mike Lawson
The twelfth novel in the Joe DeMarco series, Mike Lawson puts his likable protagonist on the trail of a different kind of fixer.
In House Witness, the twelfth novel in the Joe DeMarco series, Mike Lawson puts his likable protagonist on the trail of a different kind of fixer—one whose job is to influence, and sometimes disappear, witnesses in seemingly airtight criminal cases.
Minority Leader of the House and DeMarco’s long-time employer John Mahoney has kept more than one secret from his wife over the years, but none so explosive as this: He has a son, and that son has just been shot dead in a bar in Manhattan. Mahoney immediately dispatches DeMarco to New York to assist prosecutor Justine Porter, but with five bystanders willing to testify against the killer—rich-boy Toby Rosenthal—the case seems like a slam-dunk. That is, until Porter begins to suspect that someone is interfering with those witnesses, and that this may be connected to a pattern of cases across the country. Is there someone who is getting witnesses out of the way when the fate of a wealthy defendant is on the line?
With the help of Porter’s intern, as outrageously smart as she is young, DeMarco becomes determined to follow that question through to its violent resolution in what turns out to be this series’ most unexpected plot yet.
“One of the best in a superior series . . . I’ve read all twelve and consider this series to be among the top ten mystery series being published today.”—Deadly Pleasures, Rating: A
“Each of Lawson’s DeMarco novels have been first-rate, but House Witness may be the best yet. DeMarco’s investigation and the machinations of the witness tamperers are skillfully detailed and thoroughly involving, but the love affair between two of the criminals is an unexpected bonus. Readers will once again find themselves comparing Lawson to the late, great Ross Thomas.”—Booklist (starred review)
“Winning . . . . Readers will enjoy watching the case unravel and . . . the action builds to a satisfying resolution.”—Publishers Weekly
“Veteran fixer Joe DeMarco, who’s never met a problem he couldn’t solve by hook or by crook, goes up against a criminal as canny and resourceful as he is . . . The resulting game of cat and cat . . . is irresistible . . . The devil is in the details, and Lawson’s details are unfailingly devilish, right down to the very last twist. A perfect candidate for in-flight entertainment.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Lawson [is] a reliably excellent writer . . . As always, Lawson’s plotting is ingenious and his characters memorable.”—Adam Woog, Seattle Times, on House Rivals
“What a pleasure to read a book by a writer who gets everything right—the engaging protagonist, the fluid and often funny dialogue, the quick-paced and believable plot . . . Grade: A.”—Cleveland Plain Dealer, on House Odds
“Mike Lawson . . . should be a fixture on the bestseller lists, if not a household name . . . Lawson has a deceptively smooth, low-key style that is perfect for the stories he tells . . . Mike Lawson is the only writer I know who comes close to matching the stories of the great Ross Thomas, the finest thriller writer to ever roll a blank page into an Underwood.”—Strand Magazine, on House Reckoning
“A what-happens-next, edge-of-your-seat thriller, told with the author’s clear prose and storytelling skills . . . [Lawson’s] consistent excellence needs to be more universally acknowledged.”—Deadly Pleasures, on House Blood
“If you’ve been reading and enjoying Block, Crais, Child, Pelecanos, Winslow, et al, you should also be reading Mike Lawson . . . Mike Lawson is a very fine writer. His plots are devious and intriguing, and his characters are well developed.”—JB Dickey, Seattle Mystery Bookshop, on House Odds
“A great novel from a great author! . . . Equal parts funny, clever and cool, this book will make your heart race and your mind ponder.”—Lisa Gardner, on House Divided
Toby walked out to his car, which was parked directly in front of McGill’s. That was the only luck he’d had in the last three days: finding that parking spot. He jerked open the passenger-side door, opened the glove compartment, and pulled out the gun—a Smith & Wesson .357 revolver with a walnut grip and a three-inch barrel. He slammed the car door shut and walked back into McGill’s—and immediately saw the whale at a table, sitting by himself, still wearing his trench coat and his stupid hat. Toby walked over to him and, without hesitating, shot him three times. “That’ll teach you to fuck with me,” he muttered.
It was as if the sound of the gunshots woke him from a nightmare, and he suddenly realized what he’d done. He stood for no more than a second looking at the fat man—his white shirt was turning crimson—then he ran. He almost hit a busboy carrying a tray of glasses before he got to the door, banged it open, jumped into his car, and took off. He was driving away less than a minute after he killed Dominic DiNunzio.
As he was driving he kept saying, “What did you do? What did you do?” The short-barreled .357 was on the passenger seat, but it was no longer an inanimate object. To Toby it was alive, like a malignant machine in a Stephen King novel, giving off heat, possessing a dark, throbbing heart.