Lawson, Michael. The Inside Ring. Doubleday. May 2005. c.336p. ISBN 0-385-51531-6. $24.94. Fiction.

Lawson's debut novel introduces Joe DeMarco, a lawyer who looks like a "knee-cracker for an Italian bookie" and works as a troubleshooter for a Washington congressman. Loaned out to Secretary of Homeland Security Andrew Banks, DeMarco is asked to investigate a Secret Service agent for possible complicity in an assassination attempt on the President. Thus begins a series of compelling incidents, enlivened by just the right touch of menace and mystery. Demarco is an appealing protagonist with a familial past he'd rather forget and a group of multitalented friends to help him in his reluctantly assumed quest. While the villains are stereotyped and several supporting characters are regulars in the covert operational game (the computer expert, the surveillance wizard, the telephone company insider), this witty, lightning-quick read is recommended for popular fiction collections.

LJ, vol 130, no. 9 (May 15, 2005), 106-107.

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