The Inside Ring
by Mike Lawson
Grove Press, 2005. 429 pgs. Mystery
Joe DeMarco is a smart guy, a Washington lawyer who can't get a job because his father was a mobster. But the Speaker of the House sees his skills and hires him as a go-to guy, a man who can solve problems outside the normal protocols and processes of the nation's capital. In his first case, Joe is asked to investigate an assassination attempt on the president himself in which the president is wounded and his best friend killed. A local yokel is found dead, an apparent suicide who left a note claiming responsibility, but Speaker Mahoney's friend Andy Banks, head of Homeland Security, received a warning note from a Secret Service agent before the attempt on the president's life and thinks there is more going on here than a crackpot on a ridge across the Potomac. Joe leans on this guy, follows that guy, but needs help as he quickly gets in over his head and is lucky that one of his friends is an extraordinarily resourceful woman recently retired from an ultra-secret federal agency. Violent, profane, but compulsively readable, The Inside Ring is a great beach book, just as the beach book season begins.