With his series featuring Joe DeMarco, fixer for Speaker of the House John Fitzpatrick Mahoney, Mike Lawson has won a reputation as one of Americas best political thriller writers. In House Divided,
with his powerful boss out of commission because of an operation, DeMarco finds himself all on his own, used as a sacrificial pawn in a lethal game between a master spy and a four star army general.
The idea for Lawsons fantastic new book comes from real world scandal. A few years ago the National Security Agency was caught wiretapping U.S. citizens without any warrants. The President had issued an executive order, but the whole sophisticated program was secret, and when word leaked, its legality was vociferously called into question. There was a huge political scandal and the program came to a halt.
But the work done at the NSA--tasked with intercepting and analyzing all foreign communications, and with devising protection for ours--is remarkably complex, an agency bordering on the unimaginable. According to James Bamford, a bestselling expert on the agency, the head of the agency at that time once said, I am not a mathematician or a computer scientist and I wont pretend to be one. I will be relying heavily on all of you who are.”
The NSA is by far the biggest of our spy agencies, the largest, most costly, and most technologically sophisticated spy organization the world has ever known,” says Bamford. It intercepts millions of phone calls and emails every hour of every day, so much data that the NSA is spending $130 million for a data center the size of the Alamo Dome in San Antonio, 470,000 square feet that will hold more data than all the words ever printed since Guttenberg. And thats just the tip of the iceberg. Theyre also building something in the Utah desert that is estimated to hold yottabytes” of dataa yottabyte being 1,000,000,000,000,000 gigabytes.
Given the size, security, and technical complexity of the NSA, a lot could be hidden inside the secure walls at Fort Meade. And in House Divided, thats exactly what happens. Here, the senior man at the NSA who spearheaded the most sophisticated eavesdropping program in history isnt about to sit by while spineless politicians sleepwalk his country into another 9/11. Instead, he moves the controversial program into the shadows.
But being in the shadows can cause complications. When the NSA illegally records a rogue military group murdering two American civilians, they cant exactly walk over to the Pentagon and demand to know whats going on. That doesnt mean the NSAs hands are tied, however. They have plenty of options, mostly illegal.
DeMarco gets roped into this skirmish because one of the two men killed in the wet black op” was his cousin, a kind man who works at a hospice. All DeMarco wants to do is help settle the estate so he can go golfing, but it turns out that his last patient was Martin Breed, a two star general being groomed for Army Chief of Staff. What secrets did Breed tell on his deathbed? And who would want the confession silenced?
With Mahoney unable to help, DeMarco is all alone. The NSA gets to him, and uses him to draw their opponent out of the woodwork. But DeMarco doesnt like being used, and his street smarts and D.C. connections help him to outmaneuver the spies, even if does mean stripping down to his underwear (to get rid of the bugs he knows theyve planted) and running through the streets to the house of Mahoneys top aide.
House Divided is an installment in this celebrated series, an inspired, realistic, compelling thriller packed with original characters, sly humor, and gripping action.
Praise for House Divided
A great novel from a great author! Lawson goes for broke in this Machiavellian thriller, where Washington power brokers take on elite super spies with one rather perplexed Joe DeMarco trying to outwitand outlastthe carnage. Equal parts funny, clever and cool, this book will make your heart race and your mind ponder.”
Lisa Gardner, New York Times best-selling author of Live to Tell
"Lawson's House Divided is a non-stop thrill ride. The author has created a disturbingly real Washington D.C. and peopled it with eerily familiar characters. He writes with wit and verve and displays a shrewd understanding of bureaucratic irony. Thoroughly enjoyable. The political thriller of the year." John Lutz, New York Times bestselling author of Urge to Kill and The Night Caller
Rating: A. House Divided exemplifies fascinating storytelling with scary overtones.
This series is a must read.”Deadly Pleasures
Joe DeMarco, fixer for Speaker of the House John Fitzpatrick Mahoney, is shrewd, tough, discreet, and resourceful.
But when he innocently becomes embroiled in a high-tech joust between the supersecret National Security Agency and the Pentagon, DeMarco realizes hes a mere babe in the woods.
Lawson creates multifaceted characters
[and] the pacing is relentless
a great thriller.” Thomas Gaughan, Booklist (starred review)
In Lawsons excellent sixth Joe DeMarco thriller, DeMarco, the fix-it man for womanizing, alcoholic John Mahoney, the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, discovers he can get into serious trouble all on his own without the help of Mahoney, who spends this entry offstage in the hospital.
Readers will enjoy watching the smart, funny DeMarco, whos wise to the ways of Washington, as he extricates himself from one deadly threat after another.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)
A cousins death draws D.C. fixer Joe DeMarco away from the golf course and into a case that teaches him much about how the war on terror is fought in this entertaining thriller
the case moves at a nice clip and the manner and methods of the war within the war on terror are fascinating.” Kirkus Reviews
Crisply plotted.”Entertainment Weekly
The only problem with [Lawsons] novels is that there are not dozens of them to read!”Seattle Times
I love Joe DeMarco.
These are wonderful. I think theyre inventive, nicely detailed, just a treat to read. Great airplane books.”Nancy Pearl