cover image House Blood: 
A Joe DeMarco Thriller

House Blood: A Joe DeMarco Thriller

Mike Lawson. Atlantic Monthly, $24 (432p) ISBN 978-0-8021-1994-0

In Lawson’s enjoyable seventh thriller starring congressional fix-it man Joe DeMarco (after 2011’s House Divided), DeMarco looks into a lobbyist’s suspicious murder conviction. Demarco quickly figures out the lobbyist was framed to cover the criminal tracks of Orson Mulray, CEO of the pharmaceutical company that bears his name, and several of Mulray’s ruthless underlings. Mulray has developed a drug that can cure Alzheimer’s disease, but to test it, he needs dead bodies, which he pulls from “patient farms” his company has established in Uganda and Peru. DeMarco’s close ex-CIA friend, Emma, helps motivate DeMarco through a mixture of tough love and shame. While Lawson provides a vivid picture of what it takes to get a drug approved and how high the stakes can be both politically and financially, the book’s main appeal is everyman DeMarco, who’d rather watch college basketball on TV than work. As ever, he’s good at tracking the bad guys—and it’s fun to watch him at it. Agent: David Gernert, the Gernert Company. (July)