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TheInsideRingBook Review:

The Inside Ring

By Mike Lawson

Joe DeMarco is a law school graduate working as a “fixer” for the Speaker of the House. At the Speaker’s request, DeMarco begins investigating an assassination attempt against the President. Did the man who admitted to the assassination attempt in a suicide note really do it? Or was the Secret Service hiding the truth? DeMarco seeks the answers while wadding through Washington politics and hidden agendas, risking his life to find the truth in a Georgia county run like a kingdom.


Review: The Inside Ring is the first book in the Joe DeMarco series and the first book I’ve read by Mike Lawson. While the plot was pretty good once the book got going, I would not read another book by Lawson. As a main character, I found DeMarco pretty unremarkable. He was neither likeable nor unlikeable. He didn’t seem all that intelligent, his “ah ha” moments coming largely when someone else was was hinting at what they had already deduced. It bothered me that DeMarco was supposed to be a “fixer” but he relied heavily on others to help him in his investigation.

In this book, DeMarco received the most assistance from a retired Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) agent named Emma. Lawson tells the reader, in a few pages, that DeMarco met Emma when he saved her life, thus beginning their relationship. In The Inside Ring, DeMarco partners with Emma (and an array of people that help her) to investigate the assassination attempt. This whole relationship baffled me. I can understand Emma repaying a favor, but Lawson indicates that Emma helps DeMarco on a fairly regular basis. Apart from absolute boredom and a bottomless fortune (which I did not get the impression that she had), I could not understand why Emma would bother spending the time and energy to help DeMarco.

Ultimately, the weak main characters and relationships are what proved to be the downfall of this book. It’s unfortunate because the plot was pretty interesting, and I enjoy finding new mystery authors that I enjoy.

Grade: C

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2 Responses to “Book Review: The Inside Ring”

  • Chandra Lawrie:

    I thought the same thing about this book. I also love finding new authors as that is a great way to get into a book without any preconceived expectations. If you are looking for a good author, Jonelle Patrick is fantastic. Her latest book Fallen Angel which I just finished was incredible. Set in Tokyo, a great thriller more than mystery I thought but it worked. jonellepatrick is her site, take a look if you like! Thanks for the review!

    • Liz:

      I’ll definitely check out Jonelle Patrick and Fallen Angel – the description on Goodreads sounds great. Thanks for the suggestion!

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