Introducing: M. A. Lawson - Dark Streets
I had never heard of M.A. Lawson until Penguin sent me his latest book to review. After one read, I was hooked! I had to learn more about this fabulous suspense author!
Mike, aka ‘MA’ Lawson worked for the US Navy as a nuclear engineer and then spent thirty years working for the Navy’s nuclear power program. This all provided a good springboard when Mike decided to try his hand at writing. In 2004 he landed an agent and the DeMarco series was born!
The DeMarco series is set in Washington DC with a recurring cast of characters John Mahoney, a corrupt, devious politician and Speaker of the House; Emma, an enigmatic, retired ex-spy who worked for the DIA; and my protagonist: Joe DeMarco. DeMarco’s a lawyer who’s never practiced law. He’s Mahoney’s bagman and fixer. He has family connections to the New York mob that have plagued his career. He’s a guy with a sense of humor, who would rather play golf than work and ends up in dangerous situations where he’s usually in over his head.
Let’s talk about Mike’s debut book: The Inside Ring, which was selected by the Seattle Times as one of the top ten thrillers of 2005. It starts with an assassination attempt on the president. The president is wounded and his best friend and a Secret Service Agent are killed. General Andrew Banks, the Secretary of Homeland Security, received a note prior to the assassination attempt warning him that the president was in danger and that Secret Service agents guarding the president had been compromised. Immediately after the assassination attempt, a man claiming to be the assassin is found dead in his home.
General Banks is reluctant to tell the FBI about the warning note partly for self-serving political reasons and partly because he doesn’t want to damage the Secret Service’s reputation based on a note that might be a hoax. Banks requests help from his friend, House Speaker, John Mahoney, and Mahoney assigns his troubleshooter, DeMarco, to determine if the Secret Service was really involved in the assassination attempt. Mahoney’s motive for helping is not pure: the Director of the Secret Service is an old political enemy.
This novel moves at breakneck speed and, if the level of suspense weren’t enough, it also has plenty of humor sprinkled throughout, making it a very enjoyable read indeed!
Mike also has another series, also from Penguin, the Kay Hamilton novels. Kay Hamilton is a bold, brash and beautiful DEA agent, whose tendency to be headstrong gets her into trouble. In the first book in the series, ROSARITO BEACH, Kay has recently been transferred to the San Diego office. Tito Olivera, younger brother of drug czar Caesar Olivera, is within her grasp. If she takes down Tito, Kay is positive that Caesar will follow—and when Caesar falls, so does the largest and most vicious cartel in Mexico. But when a mysterious stranger shows up on her doorstep, all of Kay’s carefully laid plans are thrown out the window. The Olivera case suddenly becomes far more personal—not to mention dangerous—and Kay must be willing to sacrifice everything to get her man.
If you’re looking for a new suspense author, I suggest you start with MA Lawson’s, ROSARITO BEACH and/or THE INSIDE RING. You won’t be sorry, and it won’t be long before you’ll want every single one!
Columnist: Toni LoTempio
While Toni Lotempio does not commit – or solve – murders in real life, she has no trouble doing it on paper. Her lifelong love of mysteries began early on when she was introduced to her first Nancy Drew mystery at age 10 – The Secret in the Old Attic. She (and ROCCO, albeit he’s uncredited) pen the Nick and Nora mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime – and in Spring 2017, the new CAT RESCUE mysteries from Crooked Lane! She, Rocco and company make their home in Clifton, New Jersey, just twenty minutes from the Big Apple – New York. Catch up with them at www.tclotempio.com and www.catsbooksmorecats.blogspot.com