House Odds: A Joe DeMarco Thriller

Mike Lawson. Atlantic Monthly, $24 (400p) ISBN 978-0-8021-1995-7

House minority leader John Fitzpatrick Mahoney, a Massachusetts Democrat who longs to regain the speaker’s gavel, turns to Joe DeMarco for help with a personal matter, in Lawson’s outstanding eighth thriller featuring the Congressional fixer (after 2012’s House Blood). Mahoney summons DeMarco to his office, where a representative of the SEC has some bad news. Mahoney’s tech-engineer daughter, Molly, is about to be arrested for insider trading. The SEC is after Molly because they think she bought stock worth $500,000 in a company that her Rockville, Md., employer, Reston Technology, knew was on the verge of a scientific breakthrough. When DeMarco investigates, he discovers that Molly has a serious gambling problem and is in deep debt to mobster Ted Allen, who runs a casino in Atlantic City, N.J. As usual, the characters—notably an interesting mix of gangsters, who range from deadly to hilarious—matter more than the plot. Agent: David Gernert, the Gernert Company. (July)