The Inside Ring
Random House Digital
The Inside Ring by Mike Lawson is one of those political thriller, mystery, suspense novels. It is the first book in Lawson’s Joe DeMarco series, and was very good.
The main character is Joe DeMarco (hence the name of the series), an Italian lawyer who works for the Speaker of the House, John Mahoney. Over the course of the book we find out tidbits from Joe’s past, such as he is divorced from his cheating wife and his father was a hit man for the Italian mob. His father is the reason he ends up working for Mahoney – no one would hire him out of law school on account of his dead mobster father. Mahoney doesn’t use him as a lawyer though. Joe is Mahoney’s errand boy. When Mahoney needs to out pressure on a constituent to vote a certain way, or needs to make someone’s problem go away, Mahoney send Joe, who makes sure the problem is handed discreetly and quickly.
Joe’s excellence at his job is what gets him in his current situation. Mahoney lends Joe’s services to General Andrew Banks, Secretary of Homeland Security. Banks had gotten a note several days ago about a possible assassination attempt on the president from someone in the inside ring – the members of the Secret Service who stand next to the President to protect him. Banks had shown the note to Donnolley, the head of the Secret Service who had dismissed the note. A couple of days later, the president was shot in the shoulder and the president’s best friend and one secret service agent was dead. Banks now wants Joe to investigate Donnolley and see why he didn’t take the note seriously, and investigate the secret service agents in the inside ring, specifically the newest member if the inside ring – Billy Ray Mattis.
As the book progress, we find that no one is as they seem, everyone has secret motives, and Joe finds that he is in way over his head. The book is fast paced and filled with a host of interesting characters, like Emma, an ex-DIA (no that is not a typo) agent who is mysterious, funny and a true bad-ass. While the majority of it take place in Washington, D.C., there is also trip to backwoods Georgia.
The book was a fun, easy read. Lawson gives good physical descriptions of the characters, often referring to movie star look-alikes. There are several tangents in the books, which don’t really progress the novel, but do illuminate some of the characters. That being said, I think Lawson could have done a better job fleshing out some of the characters. Another aspect that bugged me was how Lawson referred to women. They were all either “young women,” “young ladies,” or “bright-eyed girls.” They were all also airheads with big breasts, small waists, big butts, and very tight clothing. All the women with boyfriends and husbands were all willing to cheat to be with Joe as well. Stereotype much? The only exception was Emma, and even then, she was supposedly hot and doable.
Other than the description of women, I really enjoyed this book. It kept my attention and had several twists I didn’t see coming. I will definitely read the next book in this series.
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