Thrillers
 

House Rules. Mike Lawson. New York: Grove Press, 2008.

At the start of Mike Lawson's snappy third thriller starring congressional snoop Joe DeMarco, a series of three failed attempts by Muslim terrorists to attack Washington, D.C.—one by plane, one by car, one by lone suicide bomber—causes nationwide panic. DeMarco wades into the mess when his boss, House Speaker John Mahoney, asks him to check out the possibility that the terrorist onslaught may have been more homegrown than it appears. Quickly appearing on DeMarco's radar is a suspicious, high-profile piece of anti-Islamic legislation, pushed by an amibitious junior senator, that's on the fast track for approval.

Murder in the Senate. William S. Cohen and Thomas B. Allen. New York: Nan A. Talese, 1993.

William Cohen, who served in the Senate for eighteen years and subsequently spent four years as secretary of defense, brings an insider’s perspective to this tale of death and legislative maneuvering. Setting their story against a backdrop of an effort to grant statehood to the District of Columbia, the authors combine killings in unlikely places (the Senate subway, the visitor’s gallery of the Senate Chamber) with behind-the-scenes details of the mechanical and architectural workings of the Capitol.

Murder on Capitol Hill. Margaret Truman. New York: Arbor House, 1981.

Before he served as vice president and president, Harry S. Truman represented Missouri in the Senate for ten years. Perhaps that’s why the president’s daughter Margaret focused on the Senate in her second novel (Murder in the White House was the first). In this whodunit, a reception honoring Majority Leader Cale Caldwell ends with the guest of honor dead from an ice pick wound. Asked by the senator’s widow to serve as counsel to a Senate committee investigating the murder, lawyer Lydia James confronts a varied group of suspects including Caldwell family members, media figures, and a fellow senator.

The Zero Game. Brad Meltzer. New York: Warner Books, 2004.

Congressional staff members take center stage in this imaginative thriller. Senate staffer Harris Sandler and his House counterpart Matthew Mercer are among the participants in a seemingly innocuous game in which bets are placed on the outcome of obscure pieces of legislation. But things take a sinister turn, leading to an escalating series of crises in settings that range from the tunnels beneath the Capitol to an abandoned gold mine in South Dakota.

The Capitol Hill in Fiction bibliography lists more novels about the Senate, House, and Capitol Hill.