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House Rules: A Joe DeMarco Thriller Mass Market Paperback – July 8, 2009

4.0 out of 5 stars 74 customer reviews
Book 3 of 10 in the Joe Demarco Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

At the start of Lawson's snappy third thriller starring congressional snoop Joe DeMarco (after The Second Perimeter), a series of three failed attempts by Muslim terrorists to attack Washington, D.C.—one by plane, one by car, one by lone suicide bomber—causes nationwide panic. DeMarco wades into the mess when his boss, House Speaker John Mahoney, asks him to check out the possibility that the terrorist onslaught may have been more homegrown than it appears. Quickly appearing on DeMarco's radar is a suspicious, high-profile piece of anti-Islamic legislation, pushed by the blowhard junior senator from Virginia, that's on the fast track for approval. While the efficient plot takes some predictable turns, Lawson's engaging characters, with DeMarco leading the pack, come across as seriously flawed individuals trying to navigate a political world of high demands and constant distractions. Full of insider information, this novel reinforces Lawson's place in the upper rank of Washington thriller specialists. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

''I was absolutely delighted to discover Mike Lawson. This smart political thriller offers readers both a wild ride and thought-provoking issues. In many ways, House Rules reminded me of the novels of the late Ross Thomas; this, from me, is high praise, indeed.'' --Nancy Pearl, award-winning author of Book Lust

''Lawson fleshes out his characters while developing a plausible and increasingly tense plot. Just enough uncertainty in the satisfying conclusion hints that another series entry is likely. Highly recommended.'' --Library Journal

''House Rules has it all: a lightning-paced plot, a quirky cast of players, and best of all, one of the most engaging heroes I've ever encountered. In Joe DeMarco, Lawson has created a charmingly likeable character whom I'll happily follow for many books to come.'' --Tess Gerritsen, New York Times bestselling author

''Full of insider information, this novel reinforces Lawson's place in the upper rank of Washington thriller specialists.'' --Publishers Weekly

''A pleasantly relaxed thriller well suited to leftish political junkies.'' --Kirkus Reviews

Lawson fleshes out his characters while developing a plausible and increasingly tense plot. Just enough uncertainty in the satisfying conclusion hints that another series entry is likely. Highly recommended. --Library Journal

House Rules has it all: a lightning-paced plot, a quirky cast of players, and best of all, one of the most engaging heroes I've ever encountered. In Joe DeMarco, Lawson has created a charmingly likeable character whom I'll happily follow for many books to come. --Tess Gerritsen, New York Times bestselling author

Full of insider information, this novel reinforces Lawson's place in the upper rank of Washington thriller specialists. --Publishers Weekly

A pleasantly relaxed thriller well suited to leftish political junkies. --Kirkus Reviews --This text refers to the MP3 CD edition.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press; First Trade Paper Edition edition (July 8, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802144195
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802144195
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 4.2 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #983,818 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The back cover PR says that "Mike Lawson is a talented thriller writer who is only getting better". That is an understatement.......Mike Lawson has catapulted himself into (in my mind) the ranks alongside such greats as Baldacci, Flynn, and Thor. "House Rules" is one terrific book.

As "House Rules" opens, several foiled terrorist acts have the nation on edge.

The first foiled attack prevented two American Muslim's from blowing up the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel. Unfortunately, the third member, and leader, was not in the building at the time of the FBI raid and was not captured. Upon questioning the two young men the FBI were able to identify the man, "Muhammad" , as an "honest-to-God al-Qaeda operative".

Two weeks after that aborted attack, Senator William Davis Broderick introduced a bill that would severely limit the freedom of all Muslims (citizens or not) in the U.S. Introducing the bill made Senator Broderick an instant media star, but, it was three more American Muslim terrorist attacks (all were foiled) that catapulted the bill to approval in the Senate and moved it to the House, where it sat in deliberation per instructions from Speaker of the House John Mahoney.

This is where Mahoney asks Joe DeMarco, special Congressional troubleshooter, to find out the true story behind the situation. The FBI had a theory, and it sounded great, but, where others fail to uncover the whole truth, DeMarco, Emma, and computer geek, Neil, succeed. With additional help from individuals in Homeland Security, FBI, and other law enforcement agencies, DeMarco's team uncovers a complex, multi-layered, plot to enlist these American Muslims to commit terrorist acts.....with the express purpose of encouraging the passage of Broderick's "Muslim Registry" bill.
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Format: Hardcover
This is the third in the Joe DeMarco series about a guy who works as an unofficial trouble shooter for The Speaker of the House in Washington. The Speaker, Mahoney, is an abrasive and slightly corrupt character although a very shrew operator with a heart of gold. De Marco is a tenacious guy with a group of friends that usually help him out when he is desperate.

Two really interesting and unusual characters - with Mahoney you see the corruption of US politics and with DeMarco you have someone who looks tough and hard but actually isn't - a bit of a twist of the usual invincible ex Special services type.

The plot is an interesting one too - again a slight twist on the usual Muslim extremist terror attacks. Here we have a US Senator proposing strict controls on all Muslims just as two terror attacks are thwarted which seem to support his view and thus he gains unexpected public support. The trouble is that the son of an old friend of Mahoney was involved so Mahoney asks DeMarco to have a quiet look into it. As readers of this kind of stuff will know, `a quiet look' usually becomes something else.....

Set with interesting characters and a scenario that captures the fear of terror attacks and a blame culture this is very good stuff indeed. I liked the characters and the interplay between them and the author also provides a subtle vein of humour. The characters make mistakes and have their own failings which make them more interesting and believable.

Mike Lawton is getting better and better with each novel and this suggests that the next one may be something very special indeed.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I labored through this book. There were so many fringe characters and almost a new set of characters were introduced in every chapter that it just felt very diluted. There was nothing tense about this book and it was hardly a thriller because it was easy to know where the author was going with it. The fear instilled by 9/11 has become a topic for many, many terrorist fiction books, but this one fell flat and is worth skipping.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The only thing good about this book was that I bought it on a daily deal. It took me about five days to labor through it as I kept laying it down to do other things. Too many weird characters and too thin of a plot. And... politically correct in that the bad guys were all Conservatives or Republicans. Ugh.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
House Rules is a pacy and entertaining read. While it's the third Mike Lawson book to feature Joe deMarco (who works in a very unofficial capacity for John Mahoney, the Speaker of the House in the US), it's not necessary to have read the others.

After several attempted terrorist attacks in the US, a Senator introduces a law to put strict controls on the Muslim population including compulsory registration. Mahoney has a personal connection to one of the would-be terrorists and therefore asks deMarco to quietly investigate whether there was anything more behind the attack than the straightforward case being presented by the media. As deMarco starts to investigate it quickly becomes apparent that there are some strange elements to the case - and that someone is determined to stop him from asking any more questions.

Mike Lawson's writing tears along and is very easy and enjoyable to read. My one complaint is that I felt that he lost interest towards the end as things got wrapped up a little too quickly and neatly. It was a satisfactory ending in the sense that no strings were left dangling, but it felt too simple after the rest of the book. Nevertheless it's a good read and better than many others in this genre.

Be aware that in the UK this book was published under the title "Dead on Arrival".
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