House Rules (Joe DeMarco, #3)
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House Rules (Joe DeMarco #3)

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  590 ratings  ·  58 reviews
In House Rules, two foiled terrorist attacks and a law targeting Muslim Americans send Joe DeMarco on a dangerous mission among mobsters, meth dealers, and the Washington political elite.
First there was the bomb meant for the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel, then a private plane headed straight for the White House is shot down. An atmosphere of fear and panic overruns the country,...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published July 8th 2009 by Grove Press (first published June 10th 2008)
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RATING: 4.25

After the horrific events of 9/11, many Americans became very distrustful of people of different ethnicities. Several groups and politicians capitalized on these suspicions to further their own agendas. Among them is Senator William Broderick, who has authored an extreme anti-Muslim bill. Among its provisions is a plan to mass deport all non-citizen Muslims and a proposal that background checks be performed on all Muslim Americans. Supposedly, these background checks would reveal if...more
An enjoyable audio thriller. I really like the characters in this series (especially House Speaker John Mahoney) and the plot seemed fairly plausible for this type of book. Listened to the audio version read by Joe Barrett.
Joe DeMarco is a trouble shooter for the House Speaker, John Mahoney, a wheeler-dealer who has his hand on the pulse of everything in DC and seems to like to stir the proverbial pot.

This thriller focuses on a suspected conspiracy to cast Muslim Americans in a bad light so as to get a bill passed that would restrict their rights.

DeMarco, Mahoney, and a varied cast of clever characters slowly unravel the conspiracy, despite lots of dead ends and many of their efforts being thwarted. The character...more
Joe DeMarco works for the Speaker of the House, John Mahoney, except one will never find his name on any org chart. Joe is Mahoney's fixer. An attempted bombing of the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel morphs into a plane shot down while flying into the White House and, suddenly, the ambitious junior senator from Virginia is proposing a massive anti-Muslim terrorism bill. Soon, DeMarco finds himself engulfed with terrorists, corrupt politicians, the mob and hillbilly meth dealers. This is timely political...more
Another great Lawson novel. As I read the series in order, I am learning much more about DeMarco andf his cohort. Although the series moves ahead without needing to read each book in order, it can sometimes help with character development.

I found the premise of the book quite poignant; the desire to 'register' all Muslim Americans in order to sift through those who belong and those who are 'surely terroritst'. I am sure this will ring true and close to the heart for many Americans post-September...more
I very much like the anti-hero, protagonist that the author has created - Joe DeMarco. He's sharp, but not witty. He's resourceful, but very much not Superman. Where Joe excels is in unravelling threads of clues by reasoning. This was my second read of the book, and I still felt surprised by the twists and turns.
Don Paske
I started the Joe DeMarco series late and and now "catching up" (although it really isn't necessary). It is interesting to see how Joe has developed as a character; he has always been entertaining to read about.
Joe DeMarco is a Civil Servant for the Congress...or so his pay level says. Actually he is the 'go to guy' for the Speaker of the House and the man who is expected to fix problems with minimal notice. This problem is a bit bigger than most. Muslim Americans had died while performing what appears to be acts of terrorism to the US. The Speaker wants DeMarco to find out what is going on and to stop it. He calls in chits with a number of people. The cast of protagonists is full of tough talking and...more
Mary Sieczkowski
Interesting story with many many layers. Government officials (& unofficials), Muslim extremists, terrorists, hired assassins, etc etc. It kept my interest and had some interesting twists. DeMarco is a government UNofficial. He works for the Speaker of the House but while he is on the gov't payroll, he isn't officially working for anyone. His job is a made-up one on the books and in actuality he does whatever the Speaker wants done without the Speaker being involved.

After a series of thwart...more
Dan Smith
A great story line... but the ending was really vague and quick.. not a captured ending..

will have to read the next book to see if the story continues
Frederick Bingham
Another in the Joe DeMarco series. In this one, there is a series of terrorist plots seemingly foiled by luck. A hijacking is stopped by the unexpected presence of an air marshal. A suicide bombing at the capitol is stopped by a police officer who, completely contrary to his history and personality, shows incredible bravery. DeMarco is asked to try to see if he can tie the spree to a senator who is trying to get a nasty bill passed to detain all Muslims in the country.

DeMarco gets to the bottom...more
This is the third book in the series and the third I read (for a change I started a series at the beginning rather than in the middle) and the characters are still keeping my interest. Even if this were the first book you pick up, there is enough background so that you don't feel lost about the characters.

In addition to a compelling plot (Who know that life working for Congress could be so exciting!?) , the book had its humorous moments (both dark and light), and mixes in some social commentary...more
In House Rules, two foiled terrorist attacks and a law targeting Muslim Americans send Joe DeMarco on a dangerous mission among mobsters, meth dealers, and the Washington political elite.
First there was the bomb meant for the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel, then a private plane headed straight for the White House is shot down. An atmosphere of fear and panic overruns the country

I read it and loved it and thought it was commenting on a most serious issue of the day and the knee jerk reaction of many peo...more
Muslim terrorist attacks on the capitol. Drug cartel. A terrorist mastermind. At one point I was singing the “I’m just a bill,” From the old afternoon special show. What does it take to get a bill through congress?
They got the story wrong in the beginning and again in the end: “… (Kahn)Had been detained by the FBI approximately a year ago for possible links to al-Qaeda and speculated that (javed Khan) may have been carrying on his father’s work.”
House Rules is competently written, with "good enough" characters and a rather odd plot, but one that keeps the reader moving right along. (What I think is very odd is the strange knot that ties the two major subplots together at the end. If you read the book, you probably know what I mean.) I won't rush out to find another book in the Joe DeMarco series, but then again, I'll probably pick one up if it comes my way at a reasonable price.
Carol Topp
I met Mike Lawson and bought a copy of House Rules at a writers conference. I was so pleased to find a new hero in ordinary-guy Joe DeMarco. Mike makes his hero believable, interesting and likeable. The plot moved along well with short, snappy chapters.

I liked this book so much that I'm now a DeMarco (and Mike Lawson) fan. I'm so pleased to learn I have about 6 more novels to enjoy!
Jay Johnson
This first in the series features Joe DeMarco, a Mr. Fix-it for the Speaker of the House. After a rapid-fire series of apparent terrorist attacks, the Speaker tasks Joe with finding the sponsor of the attacks. The resulting search involves many twisty turns and rotten characters. Mostly well-written, I enjoyed this one and look forward to the next in the series.
This 3rd in the Joe DeMarco thriller series really kept my attention and was a very satisfying read. Joe is an unofficial employee of the Speaker of the House, an all-around "fixer", who in this book is called on to investigate a rash of apparent terrorist attacks which may be politically motivated. Looking forward to reading the next in this series!
Lori Underhill
I enjoyed this right up until the last page. Then there was a jump-the-shark moment. Still a great series with interesting characters.
Good new author - will look to get other Mike Lawson books to read. Not masterpieces, but entertaining book. Joe DeMarco an under estimated, guy who does not want the spot light. This book they uncovered a deliberate set up of middle eastern terrorists acts - is the US under attack or is it being set up to look like it.
I love Mike Lawson's stories. However, this book was full of so many different plot lines that all entangled that I had trouble following them all. I can usually read Lawson books in 2-3 days but this book took me 2 weeks because I had to re-read several chapters.
From the blurb on the back of the book, this sounded like quite a good thriller. However, having now read it I'd have to say it swiftly turned into another average thriller with political leanings. Its not bad, but not as great as I was hoping for.
Carolyn (in SC) C234D
This is a favorite series. I hadn't read one in a while, and found that I missed Joe DeMarco. I now have more on hand to read and enjoy. He is just a very appealing character, not a super-hero, but smart and able to think on his feet.
Another page turner as Joe DeMarco peels away the layers of apparent terrorist attacks and renews his "relationship" with his cousin who was responsible for Joe's ex-wife's departure. Legislative agenda drive this tense countdown.
Kathy Piper
This has lots of good movie-making possibilities -- suspense, action, drama -- I got caught up in the action for awhile, but then I got bored and had trouble forcing myself to get back to it. And that's all I have to say.
I have found a great and for me a new mystery writer. Plus, he writes about D.C. which I love and politics which is always interesting to me. The characters are well drawn and the action moves quickly. For me, a great read.
Nannie Bittinger
Jul 16, 2011 Nannie Bittinger rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mystery, thriller lovers
Pleasantly surprised at this book. Got it by mistake as I was intending to read House Rules by Jody Picoult. I enjoyed the snide and often humorous remarks by the characters and the plot was timely and interesting.
Joe DeMarco, trouble-shooter for the Speaker of the House (sort of a Tip O,Neill figure named Mahoney) gets another lousy assignment, but pulls it off. (There's not much reward, save his G-15 murky job.)
I threw this one in as a filler. I have not read any others in the series, but was entertained by this. It's sort of a Sue Grafton/Kinsey Millhone but with a slightly political flair.
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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
More about Mike Lawson...
The Inside Ring (Joe DeMarco, #1) The Second Perimeter (Joe DeMarco, #2) House Secrets (Joe DeMarco, #4) House Divided (Joe DeMarco, #6) House Justice (Joe DeMarco, #5)

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