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The Inside Ring (Joe DeMarco #1)

3.62  ·  Rating Details ·  1,766 Ratings  ·  191 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 May 17th 2005)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jul 15, 2014 Bill rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller, nook, j-read
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
**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
Jan 07, 2008 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 06, 2014 Elaine rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
With very little to go on and no experience whatsoever, DeMarco is assigned to investigate the one man in the President's Secret Service who is singled out as being involved in the President's assassination attempt. Having passed the legal bar years earlier DeMarco should know that a legal case cannot be made on such flimsy evidence as he has. On the other hand, there seems to be a cover-up from the inside and DeMarco's attempts at explaining his theory are scoffed at. Understandably but who's b ...more
Sep 25, 2014 Marsha rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 14, 2014 Dolly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.75 Stars

Well, this was something different.

What I liked: Joe DeMarco is a troubleshooter for the Speaker of the House of Representatives and he's not exactly a bada*s. A hero who's not a super extraordinary individual. I thought I had the main character wrong when I first started reading The Inside Ring.
I'm used to reading about how tough and intelligent the main character is, that's not exactly what I got when I read this first in the series. You know what? I was okay with it. DeMarco is sma
Kurk Harris
Sep 27, 2008 Kurk Harris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 09, 2014 Bob Peth rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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-
Aug 21, 2014 Mike rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Bobbie Jo
Apr 21, 2016 Bobbie Jo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I downloaded this book on a "Free Friday" from Nook. It is not like anything I usually read, but I must say I really enjoyed it.

It is a political "thriller" of sorts and follows a lawyer named Joe DeMarco (who has an interesting past) who works for the Speaker of the House. Although the Speaker wouldn't want you to know that ;)

After an assassination attempt on the president, the Speaker sends Joe to help the head of Homeland security with an issue. The issue being the assassination attempt. Qu
Sam Sweeney
Jun 11, 2014 Sam Sweeney rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 11, 2012 Martha rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 15, 2012 Kari Anderson rated it it was amazing
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,
Sep 29, 2012 Jason rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 18, 2010 JoAnn/QuAppelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 15, 2012 Sylvia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
An average thriller with all the necessary elements included. I could almost predict what convention of the genre was going to happen when. At least Lawson didn’t make Joe a Timex-man, able to take a licking and keep on kicking.

Joe DeMarco, a troubleshooter for the Speaker of the House of Representatives, looks into an attempted assassination of the President for his boss after the official investigation looks a little neat to be accurate.

DeMarco’s boss uses his position and power for his own en
May 16, 2014 Marti rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 25, 2014 Jared rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 28, 2014 Dale Halling rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Josue Villion
May 15, 2016 Josue Villion rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
well this book is exceptional man especially the end if you like books that deal with politicians then that the right book also it's got traitor on as in people that betrays other. it's shows something about someone being rich how bad they be. I am not going to say you guarantee you will enjoy but it was great man.
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
Feb 12, 2015 Lois rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nearly got four stars.

A fix-it guy for the Speaker of the House gets in over his head when he investigates whether a Secret Service agent was involved in an assassination attempt on the president.

Our hero has a somewhat limited skill set--but he's got some very handy friends.

Decent writing.
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.

Perfectly entertaining light-ish read in a series whose main character is a "fixer" for a member of Congress. Great read for anyone who likes suspense/mystery genre plus politics. Good job not wading into Dems versus Rep'ns, just "parties."
Jennifer Oliver smith
Well developed characters with an interesting story line that you don't initially expect to go anywhere. The interweaving of the character's and their past just gets more and more interesting the further you delve into this story!
May 31, 2015 Tom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good Story about a secret service guy, an attempt on the life of the president, his friend gets killed, and a nut in Georgia who controls most of the County. An assistant to a congressman gets involved in solving the crime.
Dec 31, 2015 Marie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First in a series about a lawyer, son of a gangster who is a trouble-shooter for the speaker of the house. He gets into dangerous situations, has some interesting friends. Well-written with suspense and humor.
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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 about Mike Lawson...

Other Books in the Series

Joe DeMarco (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • The Second Perimeter (Joe DeMarco, #2)
  • House Rules (Joe DeMarco, #3)
  • House Secrets (Joe DeMarco, #4)
  • House Justice (Joe DeMarco, #5)
  • House Divided (Joe DeMarco, #6)
  • House Blood (Joe DeMarco, #7)
  • House Odds (Joe DeMarco, #8)
  • House Reckoning (Joe DeMarco, #9)
  • House Rivals (Joe DeMarco, #10)
  • House Revenge (Joe DeMarco, #11)

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