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KINGPIN by Mike Lawson


by Mike Lawson

Pub Date: Feb. 6th, 2024
ISBN: 9780802160881
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly

Congressional bagman Joe DeMarco sets his sights on the man who had his boss’ intern killed.

Once you get beyond the official explanation of a lethal overdose, there’s not much mystery left about who arranged the death of Brian Lewis, a University of Virginia law student and summer intern for Rep. John Mahoney. Both Brian’s mother and his girlfriend insist that he never used drugs, so Mahoney puts Joe DeMarco, his personal fixer, on the case. DeMarco satisfies himself that the guilty party is Trump-y crime boss Carson Newman, on whose bribery schemes Brian had been compiling an extensive secret dossier that’s now vanished. But Newman—who has always taken care to insulate himself from any legal consequences for tipping the scales among his friends in Congress—has taken care to arrange Brian’s death through a series of proxies who’ll never betray him. One of Newman’s cutouts, lobbyist Patrick Grady, has hired private eye Dave Morgenthal to tail DeMarco, but Sydney Roma, Morgenthal’s bad-girl protégé, takes over when her boss becomes ill. When Morgenthal is killed, presumably on Newman’s orders, DeMarco and Sydney join forces, and he begins to loop carefully chosen law-enforcement agents into the hunt. After FBI special agent Myra Ransom hints that she’s willing to let Newman skate in return for his testimony against a powerful Albanian gangster, DeMarco, determined to get revenge on the people who killed Brian, knows just what he has to do.

This time around, Lawson gives his coldly professional D.C. criminal intrigue a surprising heart. Don’t get used to it.