Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Inside Ring (Joe DeMarco, #1)” as Want to Read:
The Inside Ring (Joe DeMarco, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The Inside Ring (Joe DeMarco #1)

3.59 of 5 stars 3.59  ·  rating details  ·  1,258 ratings  ·  159 reviews
The Inside Ring is the first novel in Mike Lawson’s critically acclaimed series of political thriller starring Joe DeMarco, fixer for the Speaker of the House. It opens with an assassination attempt on the president. He is only wounded, but his best friend and a Secret Service Agent are killed. It turns out that the attack wasn't without warning. General Andrew Banks, the...more
Paperback, 544 pages
Published November 1st 2011 by Grove Press (first published January 1st 2005)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Inside Ring, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Inside Ring

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,316)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
**2.5 stars**

I had several problems with this book but my main issue was that I couldn't suspend disbelief. So the head of Homeland Security gets a note warning that something will happen to the President and he lets himself be convinced to do nothing? Worse, nobody takes the note seriously even after an assassination attempt? Please!

I liked DeMarco very much but I didn't like that he couldn't take care of business. Unlike Jack Reacher, John Rain or Jason Bourne, kicking ass wasn't his superpowe...more
Calling this book a thriller isn't quite right. It starts off with a bang. That's for sure. The President is shot. The man next to him is killed. Did someone on the 'inside ring' of his protection detail set him up? Will there be another attempt? There are plenty of questions. The problem is that for a long time all we have are questions. What is in short supply are thrills and suspense.

We meet some interesting characters. We're treated to a tour of some Washington D.C. sites and offices. We get...more
The assassin missed the President of the United States but one of his Secret Service guys was killed. And then a note left by a suicide closed the case. Or did it? One guy 'on the inside' of Washington politics thinks it was an inside job. That maybe even the Secret Service was involved. And he has a 'guy' Joe DeMarco - an attorney with a track record of finding out things. He puts Joe on the case and the story unfolds. This is first novel and the jacket says the second Joe DeMarco is under way...more
Yvonne (Fiction Books)
"A Conspiracy Thriller With Corruption At The Highest Level"

This is one of those books where the US and UK covers are completely different and although the US cover probably divulges more of the plot than its UK counterpart, the UK cover is probably the more dramatic of the two.

I quite often find that political thrillers, whether English or American in origin, can be a very difficult, consuming struggle to read and it can almost be a relief when the end is in sight. Not 'The Inside Ring' however...more
I am being a bit generous with the stars, but I feel like my dissatisfaction with the book is more a weakness on my part than on the book. The main character, Joe DeMarco, is a handsome, good guy who works as a fixer for the corrupt Speaker of the House. He gets involved in investigating an assassination attempt on the president and uncovers all kinds of stuff. My problem is that Joe is kind of normal. He doesn't know how to use a gun, he doesn't know how to fight, he is smart, but not amazingly...more
Kurk Harris
One of the best, most entertaining novels I have read this year. The author leads you through a twisted web of intrigue after an attempted assassination of the President. Non-stop action and suspense from the first page to the last.
Bob Peth
I was hoping I had found a new series to bury myself in for a while but I had a hard time just coming back to finish this first installment.

The pacing of the book is very disturbing to me- the author might spend many pages or chapters uncovering small bits of information and then you turn to the next chapter to get a raft of new clues/information that is just handed to you with no story around it - just kind of filling in the blanks. Also, the foreshadowing is so simplistic I found myself face-...more
The protagonist Joe DeMarco is no superman who goes around kicking ass and taking names like some series stars we all know of. He's just a regular guy with a good brain in his head who grinds his way to solutions more akin to how a real person might perform. When faced with professional thugs, he doesn't trot out the kung fu/karate/whatever...he gets the crap beat out of him!
This isn't 24/7 action (although there is enough!). It's a bit more nuanced and slower-moving, so if you suffer from a lit...more
Sam Sweeney
This is an excellent thriller for those who love action, suspense, and mystery. It keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout the entire story. It is one big surprise after another and you never can guess what happens next. The characters are developed quite well which gives you a connection to each one. It also offers insight into the United States Government and can see the workings behind everything, even though it is fiction. Overall, it is a fantastic read and I recommend it to everyone.
This book is the first in a series, obviously, about a man who's been hired by speaker of the house and has an office in the capital building basement. Kind of an undercover private investigator who's been tasked with trying to get junk on folks so they'll vote the direction the speaker wants them to vote. Then there's an assisination attempt on the president. Seems that one of the inner circle of secret service, those people who are close to the president, acted "hinkey" just prior to the shots...more
Kari Anderson
An assassin takes three shots in Georgia. The President of the US in wounded, his best friend and a Secret Service agent are killed. Two days later, a man commits suicide, leaving a note admitting to the crime. But something doesn’t seem right with the Secretary of Homeland Security. He knows of a letter that came in just days before the shooting and thinks it was intentionally overlooked by the Secret Service Director.

That’s where Joe DeMarco comes in. Joe is the Speaker of the House’e go-to,...more
Now here is an author who can write!

Mike Lawson spins an intricate, complex web in his debut novel about political fixer, Joe DeMarco. DeMarco is a complex, compelling and never-dull character who serves in the shadows and at the pleasure of the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives (who is clearly based on the late, great House Speaker Tip O'Neill).

DeMarco is tasked with uncovering the truth behind an assassination attempt against the president. It's a task that takes him from the burea...more
Another good action-packed Lawson thriller, this is #1 in the Joe DeMarco series. I read #3 first, so I knew Joe was going to be okay in this book. Lawson is a very clever and inventive writer and takes the Washington conspiracy thriller up a notch higher than others who write in this genre.

DeMarco has a very unusual "support system" - people whom he has met along the way who owe him favors and are glad to help when called upon. One thing I really like is that DeMarco is not portrayed as a supe...more
It opens with an assassination attempt on the president. He is only wounded, but his best friend and a Secret Service Agent are killed. It turns out that the attack wasn't without warning. General Andrew Banks, the Secretary of Homeland Security, received a note that the president was in danger, and even more alarming, that Secret Service agents guarding the president had been compromised.
General Banks is reluctant to tell the FBI about the note, So he requests help from his friend, Speaker Mah...more
This was a strange book. It starts out with a possible Presidential assassination, and then after a while, Joe DeMarco, the main character is off to the Okefenokee Swamp and the land around there, the fiefdom of a brutal man who likes to rape women--and even a demented daughter. He has an even more brutal man who can inflict all sorts of pain. Joe is accompanied by Emma--who is not someone with whom to trifle, herself. Will good conquer all? Read it and find out.
Mickey Hoffman
I've been reading this series out of order, so the characters were already known to me. This is the first book, so perhaps more could have been done to give some background. The plot is first-rate, however and the villains are so despicable, I couldn't wait to see them fall. The series relies on a complex and sometimes funny male lead and an important female accomplice who is a bit too implausible, but a lot of fun to watch.
This book details the investigation by Congressional troubleshooter Joe DeMarco into an attempted assassination of the President. The Director of Homeland Security believes there is more to the case than the man who committed suicide and confessed several days after the attempt. As DeMarco looks into it he finds that a conspiracy may be within the President’s inner circle to cover up. Good read.
I really like Mike Lawson's characters, their cynicism and corruption. I enjoy the side comments and thoughts of Joe DeMarco and his vivid similes when witnesses something ridiculous. I read other DeMarco books and really liked them so I thought I'd start with the 1st in the series. I liked it, but not as much as some others. Watch out for the vulgarity.
Dale Halling
Washington Mystery

This book is more of mystery than a thriller. The author takes you on a fun ride, with interesting characters. The definition of some of the characters seem to morph, but they eventually grow into themselves. If you like mysteries you will definitely enjoy this book.

Author of Pendulum of Justice
fairly fun airport read. the story picks up and becomes more interesting than a cliche'd beginning and first part of the first act would suggest.

reads sort of like a grittier grisham -- engaging narration, if not the most-original-ever characterizations. the dour, put-upon main protagonist initially reads as every single cliche'ed, hard-boiled, world-weary private-eye type you've ever reallllly not cared about in literature. but somewhere along the way his pratfalls and fatigue accidentally bec...more
Tim Smith
Ok... we've got murder, assassination attempts, rape, incest and political corruption with healthy doses of profanity. One might think that this is a nonfiction account of daily life in the USA. Fortunately, it is a work of fiction.

As I noted in my status updates, the audio book version of this title was not the best choice. Not sure if it was the overuse of profanity ( almost every paragraph) ot the voice of the narrator, but my recommendation would be to read rather than listen for this book.

Days before an assassination attempt, the Department of Homeland Security received a note saying "the inner circle has been comprised." The outer circle is the remote perimeter of Secret Service and the inner ring are the agents covering the body of the President. The President's best friend is killed and the President is wounded. The Speaker of the House brings in his heavy hitter, Joe deMarco. Joe is the son of a made guy and has spent his life avoiding any connections to the Mob, but when he...more
Ron King
The beginning of this book was very exciting, but as the book went on I had a hard time wanting to continue with it. I will give this author another read, but I am hoping for more!
This was a great political suspense novel. It has everything you would look for in a corrupt Washington; attempted assassination of the president, bogus politicians, son of a mafia kingpin doing odd jobs for the Speaker of the House...what more could you throw in there without getting exhausted?

I liked the way Lawson brought us into the story and how each character was presented. It moved at a good pace, and I didn't feel bored or rushed at any given time. The end was a little predictable, and...more
I happened across Lawson's newest book at the library and it looked interesting, so I went looking for the first book in the series. Nice! I really like the main character, Joe Demarco. He's so believable - no superhero feats, just an ordinary joe trying to figure something out and get the job done. I also adore Emma and I hope I see a lot more of her in future installments as I work through the series. I kept picturing Helen Mirren as the character she played in Red. I also liked the character...more
Al Menaster
Pretty good. Investigator for speaker of the house investigates an assassination attempt. Interesting conspiracy plot, lots of action. I figured this out pretty early, though.
Dan Smith
Outstanding-first book I have read by Lawson, but it will not be the last. This was not a long book, but lots of intrigue..

Will give Mr. Lawson a second look as a result
Oct 28, 2012 L.D. rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Any one interested in political thrillers.
Recommended to L.D. by: book club selection
My first read by Mike Lawson. The story started out setting the stage, but as it continued, there were more characters with titles 'mudding the waters.' Joe DeMarco was a likable person with a sense of humor and the author did give insight to the political arena. As the story continued to the point of revealing the murderer, I felt there wasn't any excitement and the story continued till the end. I wasn't left with the feeling of, " wow, that's who the murderer was and I didn't see that coming!"...more
The first book introducing Joe DeMarco, who is some kind of bag man for the Speaker of the House, and a lawyer. An attempt on the Presidents life raises some questions of innocence of one of the agents on the inside ring of protection of the President. The man in charge of Homeland Defense asks for some help from the Speaker and gets Joe. And the reader gets a rip roaring fun read that culminates in a pretty cool premise for an ending. With a total of seven books currently in the series readers...more
Joe Demarco troubleshoots for the speaker of the house (serves as "bagman to a corrupt politician," as his ex-DEA pal Emma says). Demarco's first adventure begins when someone tries to kill the vacationing president, and one of the Secret Service detail acts oddly, if not criminally. Pretty soon, Demarco finds himself caught between the head of Homeland Security, the head of the FBI, the head of the Secret Service, the speaker, and several hired killers and psychos. The book is both suspenseful,...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 77 78 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • From the Ashes
  • Raven Strike (Dreamland, #13)
  • The Devil's Cradle (Kendall O'Dell #2)
  • Needle in a Haystack
  • The Hunt
  • Moscow Sting (Anna Resnikov, #2)
  • Meet the Annas: A Musical Novel
  • Dead Politician Society: A Clare Vengel Undercover Novel
  • Summer of Fire (Yellowstone, #1)
  • The Trivia Lover's Guide to the World: Geography for the Lost and Found
  • The Blue Light Project
  • Protector
  • First, There Is a River (Spirit of the River, #1)
  • Black Out (Inspector Troy, #1)
  • A World I Never Made
  • 212 (Ellie Hatcher #3)
  • Gutshot Straight
  • Blood Safari
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Pen name: M.A Lawson

Michael Lawson was raised in Pueblo, Colorado and attended college at Seattle University, receiving a degree in engineering. On leaving college he went to work for the US Navy as a nuclear engineer, spending approximately thirty years working for the Nav...more
More about Mike Lawson...
House Rules (Joe DeMarco, #3) The Second Perimeter (Joe DeMarco, #2) House Secrets (Joe DeMarco, #4) House Divided (Joe DeMarco, #6) House Justice (Joe DeMarco, #5)

Share This Book