House Divided is another review I submitted to Shelf Awareness and they were unable to run. So with their permission, I'm posting it here now. This was my first experience reading Mike Lawson's work and I'm officially hooked:
The National Security Agency is illegally recording when a double murder is carried out by a U.S. military group. Needing to take action, but in a way that prevents anyone from discovering their unlawful behaviors, the NSA group, led by Dillon Crane, takes on a covert mission to discover the truth behind the murders.
Meanwhile, Joe DeMarco finds himself trapped in the middle of the mission because one of the citizens murdered was his cousin, Paul Russo.
Lawson’s symbolic title for the sixth novel in his Joe DeMarco series indicates a new civil war brewing in the United States. Only this war isn’t fought on the traditional battle grounds. Instead it’s fought in the political factions of our intelligence agencies. The weapons being technology and information, but the victims still U.S. citizens. As with any war, each side feels its platform is justified and best for the nation.
Instead the reader finds Lawson’s characters are all ethically questionable yet magnetically appealing. There are no distinct “good guys” and “bad guys.” Instead, their presence creates philosophical questions the reader must ask him/herself.
Lawson fleshes out his female characters masterfully, careful to avoid stereotypes and give them distinct personalities. It would be a great shame if Claire and Alice did not reappear in future novels.
Lawson draws the political climate through sharp imagery and metaphor. His humor is fittingly dark and sarcastic to match the murky waters he’s dragging his characters through.
House Divided is the epitome of “political thriller.”
House Divided is available in hardcover (ISBN: 9780802119780) from Atlantic Monthly Press and on audiobook from Blackstone (ISBN: 9781455112470), narrated by one of my favorites, Joe Barrett.