House Witness
by Lawson, Mike

Investigating the murder of his employer's illegitimate son, political fixer Joe DeMarco begins to question the guilt of a chief suspect when he realizes that someone has been interfering with the case's witnesses.

Mike Lawson is a former senior civilian executive for the U.S. Navy. He is the author of eleven previous novels starring Joe DeMarco and three novels with his protagonist Kay Hamilton.

*Starred Review* A married accountant with three children is murdered in a Manhattan bar. The accountant is the son of House Minority Leader John Mahoney, but Mahoney has kept that little fact secret from his wife. Five witnesses identify the shooter, the feckless son of a wealthy Manhattan corporate attorney. The case should be open and shut, but the savvy ADA who will try it has heard from other prosecutors about how very rich perps have skated because eyewitnesses disappeared or changed their testimony. Mahoney's fixer, Joe DeMarco, becomes a reluctant, temporary special investigator for the Manhattan DA's office, and he begins to search nationwide for the shadowy people who arrange for the very wealthy to purchase exoneration. Each of Lawson's DeMarco novels have been first-rate, but House Witness may be the best yet. DeMarco's investigation and the machinations of the witness tamperers are skillfully detailed and thoroughly involving, but the love affair between two of the criminals is an unexpected bonus. Readers will once again find themselves comparing Lawson to the late, great Ross Thomas. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

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. Copyright Kirkus 2017 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

What Toby did was walk out to his car, which was parked directly in front of McGill's. That was the only luck he'd had in the last three days: finding that parking spot. He jerked open the passenger-side door, opened the glove compartment, and pulled out the gun-a Smith & Wesson .357 revolver with a walnut grip and a three-inch barrel. He slammed the car door shut and walked back into McGill's-and immediately saw the whale at a table, sitting by himself, still wearing his trench coat and his stupid hat. Toby walked over to him and, without hesitating, shot him three times. "That'll teach you to fuck with me," he muttered.

It was as if the sound of the gunshots woke him from a nightmare, and he suddenly realized what he'd done. He stood for no more than a second looking at the fat man-his white shirt was turning crimson-then he ran. He almost hit a busboy carrying a tray of glasses before he got to the door, banged it open, jumped into his car, and took off. He was driving away less than a minute after he killed Dominic DiNunzio.

As he was driving he kept saying, "What did you do? What did you do?" The short-barreled .357 was on the passenger seat, but it was no longer an inanimate object. To Toby it was alive, like a malignant machine in a Stephen King novel, giving off heat, possessing a dark, throbbing heart.

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