Published by Atlantic Monthly Press on February 6, 2024
Patrick Grady is a Washington, D.C. lobbyist. Real estate tycoon Carson Newman hired Grady to kill a bill that would protect tenants’ rights. His efforts put him in the middle of a war between Newman and House Minority Leader John Mahoney. Newman expected Mahoney to kill the bill as a reward for Newman’s campaign contributions. Mahoney, who is usually happy to grant favors in exchange for cash, saw greater value in passing the bill and showing voters that Democrats could actually accomplish something they care about. Mahoney is therefore cheesed off that Grady successfully lobbied a dozen Democrats to oppose the bill.
Mahoney assigned his intern, Brian Lewis, to investigate the Democrats who voted against the bill and figure out how they were connected to Newman. Lewis finds the connections and writes a report but dies of a drug overdose before he shows it to anyone.
Lewis’ mom raises a stink with Mahoney because she knows her son was investigating corrupt politicians and believes he was murdered. To keep Lewis’ mother from going to the press, Mahoney assigns Joe DeMarco to appease her.
Series fans will know that DeMarco would rather play golf than work. He doesn’t use his law degree for anything useful. He has a basement office in the capitol and a job title, but his only duties involve cleaning up messes and running errands for Mahoney.
DeMarco’s initial plan is to placate Lewis’ mother by making it seem like he’s investigating her son’s death. She convinces him that her suspicions might have some merit, but he doesn’t know what Lewis discovered. Lewis’ laptop is in the hands of a private investigator who is working for Grady. The PI had Lewis followed by Sydney Roma, a recovering drug addict who is getting her life together with the PI’s help. At Grady’s request, the PI wipes the incriminating evidence from the laptop and has Sydney concoct an excuse that will allow the laptop to be returned to Lewis’ mother. DeMarco views the laptop’s sudden reappearance as suspicious and begins to look for Sydney as his best connection to Lewis’ killer.
DeMarco novels are fun because murders and criminal conspiracies are balanced by humor. DeMarco isn’t an exemplary individual but his compassion and sense of justice offset his many flaws. Mahoney is a corrupt alcoholic but somehow likable, in part because he sometimes uses his power to help people who deserve a break. Sidney is a great addition to the story because of her unbreakable spirit.
DeMarco uses a clever ruse to move the plot toward a desirable ending. He also defies an FBI agent because, true to form, the FBI is willing to let murderers off the hook if they can take down a more headline-worthy villain — in this case, a wealthy Albanian gangster. DeMarco doesn’t want that to happen, even at the risk of making himself a target of an FBI investigation.
DeMarco stories usually have credible plots and reasonably happy endings. Kingpin is no exception. DeMarco novels might have a bit more violence than a typical beach read, but the violence isn’t particularly graphic. Crime novel fans can spend pleasant afternoons on a beach with Kingpin and come away smiling.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for this captivating eARC.
Excellent mystery - literally kept me on the edge of my seat, wondering what would happen next, It was so well-written, perfectly matched with a narrator who kept up with the different characters and the exciting, pulse-pounding action.
Perfect for anyone who enjoys kidnapping mysteries, where the odds are against the likeable characters (human and flawed individuals who have strong friendships and fingernail chewing tension as the book careens to its unpredictable ending.
Excellent writing by Mike Lawson, although this was my first book by this author, I cannot wait to read more by this excellent author!
Fantastic. I have not read all of the books in this series but I intend to go back and fill in the blanks. This was a very engaging read.
Many thanks to Grove Atlantic and to Netgalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.
Kingpin by Mike Lawson is a crime thriller with a background of power politics and the criminal activities that happen in its back alleys. The novel is a reminder of a situation where bribing and influencing a lawmaker is normal and no longer considered a crime. It is a tightly plotted entertainer that made me want more of it.
A (regrettably) plausible and nicely twisty DC novel featuring Joe DeMarco, a fixer for John Maloney, the recently deposed (thanks to the elections) Speaker of the House. Brian- an intern for Maloney-has died of an overdose except that his mother, her girlfriend, and everyone who knew him insists he didn't do drugs. What he did do is piece together an impressive web of corruption which all leads back to Carson Newman, a Boston developer. DeMarco becomes a target as well, thanks to his probing. He's a wily one, well versed in the art of teasing out bad guys. Lawson has a way with characters, not only DeMarco, but also Maloney's chief of staff, the people who are following him, a Capitol Hill Police officer and others. And his interactions with the air conditioning repair man made me snort. Thanks to the publisher for the ARC. Great read.
Joe DeMarco works for now former Speaker of House John Mahoney. His job description says he is a lawyer whose duties are to help members of Congress as needed, but the truth is he only works for Mahoney, a congressman from Boston, as his personal “fixer.”. Brian Lewis is working in Mahoney’s DC office as a summer intern, which is basically a gopher when he is assigned a task which leads him to think that a recent bill that failed to pass was the result of some bribes (in the form of campaign contributions or other incentives that were not per se illegal). He seems to point in the direction of Carson Newman, a billionaire real estate investor from Boston. When Brian is found dead of an apparent drug overdose, his mother doesn’t think the local police are giving the case the proper attention so she goes to Congressman Mahoney, who in turn tells DeMarco to investigate. And Joe begins an investigation that leads to many different places and many nefarious characters both inside and outside of the government. This is the 17th book in the Joe DeMarco series. DeMarco is a great lead character, someone who is not afraid to rock the boat but with s sense of direction that has him go all out when he thinks he has found something amiss. I have read 12 books in the series, but only the last 7 in order, so it is not necessary to read them in order as each one has a unique function for the main character. I have enjoyed each book that I have read (or listened to in a couple of cases - this is a good series to listen in audiobook format) up to now and hope that Lawson will continue to add to the series. My thanks to Atlantic Monthly Press and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review the ARC of this book.
The Joe DeMarco series is a great blend of mystery, thriller, politics, and quirky characters. I’ve read the latest two books in this long-running series and I loved them both. I would enjoy going back and reading some of DeMarco’s older adventures, but these books stand alone and can be enjoyed without reading the series in order.
DeMarco is described as a fixer for the powerful former Speaker of the House, John Mahoney (he was Speaker before the most recent election), so he does a lot of different things, including some solid investigative work. As you might expect from a story involving a political fixer, much of the action takes place in and around Washington, DC, but in this case, some of the important action takes place in Massachusetts.
There’s a billionaire real estate developer in Boston who reminded me a bit of Donald Trump in his pre-presidential life. Lots of influence peddling, lots of accusations of bad business practices, and so on. He has other people do his dirty work.
When a hard-working Congressional intern who works in Mahoney’s office is found dead from what seems to be a drug overdose, his mother is convinced he was murdered. He was secretly working on a report about some Congressmen who he found out were taking bribes. DeMarco is dispatched to make sure his mother doesn’t go to the media with her accusations.
DeMarco is a fun character. He would much rather be playing golf than working for Mahoney. There’s a funny subplot about DeMarco’s air conditioning going on the fritz in the middle of a DC summer. A minor character, a young woman, Sydney, becomes important over the course of the book and I really enjoyed her story.
I bounced between the audiobook and the ebook for this title, which was very convenient, as it allowed me to continue with the story even when I wasn’t able to sit and read. The audiobook was well-narrated by Joe Barrett, who did a good job with a number of accents.
Thank you to NetGalley and Atlantic Monthly Press for the opportunity to read an advance reader copy of this book and to Dreamscape Media and NetGalley for the opportunity to listen to an advance copy of this audiobook. All opinions are my own.
intrigue, thriller, suspense, unputdownable, friendship, greed, action, murder-investigation, crime-fiction, political-corruption, political-intrigue, twisty, witty, due-diligence, criminal-acts*****
The fixer (Joe DeMarco has a law degree and works for the former Speaker of the House), the gangster (Boston developer Carson Newman), the congressman (John Mahoney the former Speaker of the House), and the murder of an intern (Brian Lewis) who worked for Mahoney. Joe and an assortment of others dig deep to find the proof needed to get justice for the murdered and bring down those who deserve it. Excellent read!
I requested and received an EARC from Grove Atlantic/Atlantic Monthly Press via NetGalley. Thank you
This is the newest installment of the Joe DeMarco series. I have read and enjoyed most of them.
In this one, Joe is tasked to find out what happened to an intern of his boss John Mohney, the former speaker of the house.
Brian Lewis overdosed, but did he? DeMarco does his thing and finds out what is going on. Carson Newman is a kingpin in the gangster world—he is not your typical mob guy – but is ruthless and rich.
Mohney has DeMarco find out a few things for him and he has a crazy ride. The book is well written, and we meet some great characters who help him.
DeMarco gets justice for all but in his way. I did miss Emma who is in a lot of books. I highly recommend this series and this book.
Thank you Net Galley for the opportunity to read this novel in exchange for an honest review.
Thank You Mike Lawson for remembering how to turn a genre novel into a story that distinguishes itself.
Exciting while realistic
Smart without making the reader feel dumb
A real peak into a world we "think" we know, and realize the complexities that male us appreciate, if not always root for, our protagonist.
This is another great one by Mike Lawson! Classic Joe DeMarco is back and I can't wait until we get more. The tenacity of the main character to get to the truth is encouraging. It was also refreshing to see a bit of a different side to Mahoney. There is drama and murder-not gory but enough to keep the reader wanting to see what happens next.
Really enjoyed all the different character's in this book. Not too hard to follow, good book to end the year on.
Thanks to NetGalley for advance copy.
First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Mike Lawson, and Grove Atlantic for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.
A great fan of Mike Lawson’s work, I was eager to get my hands on the latest in the Joe DeMarco series. There is all sorts of action I would expect and some wonderfully colourful banter that fills the pages of the book. Lawson has captured DeMarco’s demeanour once more and keeps the reader in the middle of tit all. I cannot see an end to this series, which makes me happy, as there is so much to enjoy!
Some of the super-rich in Boston live in a world all their own. Carson Newman is one such person, though he runs things from a hands-off approach, letting others get dirty while he profits and dishes out orders. Joe DeMarco is the opposite, down in the trenches and handling things for the former Speaker of the House, John Maloney. DeMarco likes the work, but has tired of being arrested and constantly scrutinised by others.
When Maloney calls him to help on a case, DeMarco rushes over to see what’s going on. A young intern, Brian Lewis, is found dead, seemingly from a drug overdose. Brian has no history with drugs whatsoever, though he has been looking into some politician payoffs that have him quite concerned. When Brian’s mom voices that she is sure this was murder, DeMarco begins kicking the tires and soon comes tho the same conclusions, though he needs to prove it.
When all things tie back to Carson Newman, DeMarco knows that this is something worth his time. There are many layers that separate Newman from the Lewis murder, but DeMarco vows to link them all together and make a case. This puts DeMarco and those with him he is working in danger, but that’s just the price to pay for justice,. As DeMarco inches closer, he will have to play it carefully or risk losing it all. Mike Lawson spins another flawless web with this piece.
I have long enjoyed the work of Mike Lawson, partially because there is an element of politics, but also due to the strong crime thriller angle. The stories are always full of adventure and some great banter, which flavours things effectively for me. I am fond of the short chapters that help propel things along, keeping me in the middle of the action and wanting to read well into the night.
Lawson’s use of great characters helps the story as well. Joe DeMarco, who seems gruff on the outside, has a soft interior and gets along with most people who respect him. This has been the case for the seventeen novels that have filled the series, keeping things fresh and well-grounded. Some of the secondary characters work well too, providing a great flavouring. This is paired with great twists and advancements throughout the story, entertaining the reader until all comes together by the end. Mike Lawson has been doing well for this entire series and shows no signs of losing his spark.
Kudos, Mr. Lawson, for another great novel.
I have read and enjoyed Kingpin by Mike Lawson. Although I haven't read all the books about Joe DeMarco I still state thaat this one is one of the best in the series.This story is all about power and corruption, oh and some murder thrown in. It has all tha hallmarks of a good Joe DeMarco story. He is tasked with finding out a couple of things for John Mahoney and it will be a wild ride with a lot of back stabbing. It is as always well written and there are some great characters and wonderful twists. I must thank Netgalley and Atlantic Monthly Press for letting me read this advance copy.
Mike Lawson books are always a quick, action packed read with great characters, a fast paced plot, and a few unexpected twists. This is the 17th book in the Joe DeMarco series and although it can easily be read as a stand alone I recommend the entire series starting with the first book, "The Inside Ring." Highly recommended
Thanks to NetGalley and Atlantic Monthly Press for an advanced reader copy.
Mike Lawson has crafted another twisty, turning thriller in Kingpin. The action is fast-paced and complex, in an intriguing way. This book is a quick, engaging read with a fulfilling ending.
Thanks to NetGalley and Grove Atlantic for the opportunity to read this ARC.
“Kingpin” by gifted author Mike Lawson is headed to the best seller list. A young congressional intern is murdered while doing research on a group of corrupt politicians.and Joe DeMarco is determined to find his killer. Timely you say, you bet it is. This book has everything you want in a great political mystery, wonderful characters, intriguing plot and a feel good ending. I recommend to everyone who enjoys a fast paced thriller.
Thank you NetGalley, and Grove Atlantic, Atlantic Monthly Press for the ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.
I am a massive fan of this very talented author and this book didn’t disappoint.
joe DeMarco is a fixer for congressman John Mahoney who uses him for things best kept in the background. DeMarco is no criminal, but he plays close to the line to get things done, but he’d much rather be playing golf.
DeMarco is avoiding a job he’s been given and is mainly concerned about his air conditioning. The last thing he wants is another job from his boss, but he is tasked with investigating the death of an intern and the more he looks the more he thinks a drug overdose might actually be murder. But when money and politics are involved, anything could happen.
The author nails it again. Entertaining characters and a clever and engaging plot. Mike Lawton has a real talent for understanding how things work and placing believable and entertaining characters in his plots. This is a thriller but you will find yourself grinning at the cleverness of it.
Really enjoyed this, but I knew I would.
This is what I would call a high thread count genre novel. Very much in the vein of an Washington DC airport thriller - you have the rugged hero who bends the rules to get justice, industrialist and lobbyist bad guys, half drunk Congressmen and flawed/sympathetic secondary characters. It hits all the usual beats. Crime, procedure, resolution.
But . . . it's done with a little more care and flair than usual. The characters have a bit more life to them. It's part of a series but you can jump right in - beyond some offhand references to what I assume were earlier books, it is self contained. Recommended.
This book is easy to read and very entertaining, with an excellent plot, and it's part of a series where the main character stays in character as himself. I usually like reading about strong and smart female characters, and the author has been clever in bringing in a few of those as well.