Title: House Revenge
Author: Mike Lawson
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press
Publication Date: 5 July 2016
I received a review copy of this book from NetGalley
In House Revenge, Congressional fixer Joe DeMarco is dispatched to his boss Congressman John Mahoney’s hometown of Boston. Mahoney wants him to help Elinore Dobbs, an elderly woman fighting against a real estate developer intent on tearing down her apartment building for a massive new development. Mahoney is just in it for the free press until Sean Callahan, the developer, disrespects him and even worse, Elinore suffers a horrible “accident,” likely at the hands of two thugs on Callahan’s payroll. Now Mahoney and DeMarco are out for revenge. DeMarco tries to dig up dirt through Callahan’s former mentor, and one of his ex-wives. But it’s only when DeMarco gets a tip on the likely illegal source of some of Callahan’s financing that things get deadly.
A fast-paced adventure into the cutthroat world behind the wrecking ball, House Revenge is another gripping tale of collusion and corruption from a beloved political thriller writer.
I had never read any of Mike Lawson’s Joe DeMarco novels but I have had the first one sitting on the shelf for a while. When I saw this book on NetGalley, I thought it may be the perfect opportunity to give DeMarco a try. I had no idea what to expect going into the book, but it ended up being a pretty good local-level political thriller with action and mystery.
House Revenge is Mike Lawson’s eleventh political thriller featuring congressional fixer Joe DeMarco. Congressman John Maloney is in his hometown of Boston when he comes across the story of Elinore Dobbs, an elderly lady fighting to save her apartment from being torn down by a local property developer. Maloney tries to smooth the situation but when the property developer disrespects him, he makes it his job to do whatever it takes to help Elinore out by setting his fixer Joe DeMarco on to the case.
The story took a while to get going, but I am glad that I powered through the slow start because it eventually picks up and becomes a pretty good, fast-paced thriller with the occasional smattering of action. I liked the general idea of the story and that fact that it wasn’t some international incident but rather a local issue and that’s not something I think I have ever seen in any political thriller I have read before.
I like Mike Lawson’s writing style. I found it to be pretty quick and simple to read, which is how I prefer it. Lawson is good at conveying a point or describing a scene without getting too flowery with the wording, so that’s a plus. I didn’t mind the characters, I thought DeMarco was a pretty interesting lead for the most part and the McNultys were good antagonists. I liked Elinore Dobbs although I didn’t particularly like the way the book ended in regards to her.
There were only two little issues I had with the book that dampened my enjoyment of it. The first is believability. There were certain sections of the book that just didn’t feel like they fit with the story correctly. The main one I am talking about is how DeMarco seems like a rather non-violent person, yet the next minute he is able to take on two big burly dudes without breaking a sweat. My second issue my ability to relate with DeMarco. I found it hard to relate to DeMarco because sometimes he just felt too naïve for his own good and it made it hard for me to see him as a ‘hero’ which is what I am looking for in a thriller.
All in all, House Revenge is a pretty good read. It’s a little bit different to the political thrillers I usually read, but it was good nonetheless. There’s a bit of mystery and patches of action and it moves at a pretty quick pace once you get past the start of the book. Some believability issues dampened the experience for me a little bit, but I look forward to reading some more about DeMarco and Mahoney.
Worth a read? If you like political thrillers that deal with real-world issues that are easy to relate with, then House Revenge is worth a read. It’s pretty fast-paced, action-packed and a neat little story about corruption and revenge.