House Justice by Mike Lawson read by Joe Barrett

Mike Lawson is very very good. He is even better read by Joe Barrett.

De Marco is a ‘bagman’ with a law degree, who even passed the Virginia Bar but never practiced law, whose happy aunt or godmother got him a job working for the fat, charming, lecherous, Speaker of the House whom he hates, respects, and obeys. De Marco has an office in the sub-basement of the capital, a lineage in the sub-basement of the Mob, and a salary that is off the books of the politician who employs him; he is a “left-hand man” (see Last Man in Tower by Aravind Adiga) who leaves no fingerprints.

In House Justice, he investigates the leak of classified information leading to the death of a CIA agent in Iran. And he knows where to go to get his information.

In any prison movie ever made there’s a guy called a scrounger. The scrounger can get you anything you want:

De Marco figured all the good prison scroungers had been New York hotel concierges, before they got sent up the river. You want tickets to a show? No sweat. Seats behind homeplate at Yankee Stadium? Piece of cake. A girl? Well, I don’t know nothin’ about no girls, pal, but for fifty bucks I’ll bet a blonde named Tiffany comes knockin on your door at 10:00.

Tony, the concierge, gives de Marco lots of information. Later, Tony gets motivated to give up his information to a less diplomatic thug who pushes him behind a dumpster…
. he was eye level with a line of graffitti that read: Jesus Loves You. Tony’s first thought was: if he loves me so much why is there a gun stuck in my back? But his next thought was that he hadn’t been to confession in years…

See, this is street smart, thug-happy, punchy, yes, punchy dialogue that moves plot… , typically a Washingtonian plot involving some kind of treachery by the bad guys in government, which, given the political sympathies of the author, are typically Republicans.

In Lawson-land, when Democrats are tainted by naughtiness (House Secrets), they are dosed with a predictable erotomania.

The party spin is sentimental, near-sighted and dopey.  In House Rules, perfectly innocent men and boys of the Muslim faith are forced into terrorist-like acts by American social prejudice, unjust racial profiling, and bent Republican Congressmen. Acha. Coming installments will no doubt re-stage evil, bumbling Republicans in villainous acts of wiretapping, election-fixing, and Floridian Arithmetic.

Wait for it.