cover image House Arrest

House Arrest

Mike Lawson. Atlantic Monthly, $26 (336p) ISBN 978-0-8021-2930-7

Late one Friday night, at the start of Lawson’s terrific 11th Joe DeMarco thriller (after 2018’s House Witness), a trained killer in a cop uniform slips into the Capitol and shoots House majority whip Lyle Canton dead at his desk. Joe, a staffer who was in the building at the time, is arrested and dragged off to jail in Alexandria, Va. Knowing he’s been framed, Joe turns to his former DIA agent friend, Emma, to prove his innocence. All Joe has to do is try to stay alive, but a poisoning attempt lands him in the hospital. Lurking in the background is Joe’s boss, House minority leader John Mahoney, who can’t help much, because no one is supposed to know that Joe is his bag-man and fixer. While there’s no doubt that Emma will prevail, she faces enough difficulties to make the outcome suspenseful. Toward the end, as the midterm elections loom, Joe worries about his job (“You’re telling me that my future depends on the Democrats winning about thirty seats in the House?” he asks Mahoney). Readers will hope that the results of the actual 2018 midterms will ensure Joe keeps going. Agent: David Gernert, Gernert Company. (Feb.)