HOUSE WITNESS  by Mike Lawson


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Veteran fixer Joe DeMarco, who’s never met a problem he couldn’t solve by hook or by crook, goes up against a criminal as canny and resourceful as he is.

Five eyewitnesses see Toby Rosenthal run from McGill’s bar after he shoots accountant Dominic DiNunzio to death following a brief, apparently routine altercation. The case against Toby would be open and shut if his boss and father, Henry, weren’t an immensely wealthy and well-connected lawyer. David Slade, the criminal defense attorney Henry hires to defend his son, sees only one path to acquittal: contacting a self-described jury consultant he’s heard about who goes to exceptionally active lengths to alter the facts on the ground. When Henry agrees, Slade unleashes his dark, expensive ally, who promptly goes to work bribing, blackmailing, and murdering those five witnesses. Luckily for the forces of justice—if Lawson believes in such a thing—DiNunzio was the unacknowledged offspring of House Minority Leader John Mahoney, who, having never met his son in life, is determined to avenge him in death. So Mahoney unleashes his own not-so-secret weapon, Joe DeMarco (House Rivals, 2015, etc.), who begins by assuming that his services won’t be needed but then realizes that those five witnesses are endangered species who’ll vanish from the Earth if he can’t figure out who’s marked them to be neutralized. The resulting game of cat and cat—DeMarco scrambles to identify and defang that jury consultant before the defense succeeds in discrediting or disposing of all the witnesses and providing an innocent alternative defendant to boot—is irresistible.

Eminently predictable in its larger contours—but the devil is in the details, and Lawson’s details are unfailingly devilish, right down to the very last twist. A perfect candidate for in-flight entertainment for readers confident that their seatmates can’t possibly be carrying.

Pub Date: Feb. 6th, 2018
ISBN: 978-0-8021-2666-5
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 2017


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