Joe DeMarco goes up against a fellow “fixer” who happens to be playing for the other team in Mike Lawson’s latest thriller, House Witness.
Minority Leader of the House John Mahoney, DeMarco’s boss, has kept a number of secrets from his wife over the course of their marriage. The most damning, though, is that he fathered a son with another woman many years ago. . . a son who was recently shot dead in McGill’s, a bar located in Manhattan.
Toby Rosenthal murdered Dominic DiNunzio in front of five eye-witnesses before fleeing into the night. The conviction should be easy, but as things often go in DeMarco’s world, things take an unexpected turn. It turns out that Toby’s father is a very rich man with very questionable character. He uses part of his fortune to obtain the services of David Slade, a slimeball criminal defense attorney who, rather unfortunately, is very good at helping criminals walk free.
Because of the eye-witnesses, Slade eventually comes to the conclusion that the only way he can score Toby an acquittal is to hire jury consultant Ella Fields.
In this case, the term “jury consultant” actually means “jury tampering specialist,” as Fields has a reputation for making witnesses change their story or, in some cases, disappear altogether. Not above bribery, torture, threats, or even murder, Ella is a jack-of-all-trades who gets results and makes things happen for her clients.
On the other side of the case is Joe DeMarco, who was immediately sent to New York to aid the prosecution’s office the moment John Mahoney learned his son was killed. And while his help isn’t initially needed, DeMarco soon proves to be Mahoney’s only hope for serving justice to his son’s killer when each witness one-by-one suddenly starts to change their story about what really happened that night.
Joe DeMarco has faced off with some shady characters over the course of eleven previous books, but he’s never gone head-to-head with a fellow fixer quite like Ella Fields. . .
Mike Lawson’s series is definitely up there with some of the more underrated series around. DeMarco is a solid character who remains likable and yet fearsome enough to excel at his job. There’s not a ton of backstory in House Witness, though, so newcomers to the franchise may struggle to pick up what, exactly, DeMarco does and why he does it. Once they figure it out, though, it’s a fun ride full of action and suspense. There’s also a pretty solid twist towards the end that most won’t see coming, and readers will likely enjoy watching the case play out alongside the chess match between Joe and Fields, who is one of Lawson’s better antagonists to date.
Author: Mike Lawson
Series: Joe DeMarco #12
Pages: 368 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press
Release Date: February 6, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 6.0/10
Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.