M. A. LAWSON – Rosarito Beach. Blue Rider Press, hardcover, December 2013. Signet, paperback, November 2014.

   As Mike Lawson, the author has written a series of nine books about Joe DeMarco, whose claim to fame is is job as a troubleshooter for the Speaker of the House in the US Congress. I haven’t read any of them, nor in fact have I ever seen any for sale. I may be looking in the wrong places, since as you know, I far more favor reading detective stories than I do the present day version of men’s adventure fiction.

   But once in a while I indulge. I recently came across this book I’d bought late last year and totally forgotten about. It’s the first in a nw series of books about female DEA agent Kay Hamilton. She’s the kind of hard-nosed characters who can play act the role of a Miami druglord’s mistress for several months before shooting him in a final confrontation. (This is in her case file, and not this book’s story.)

   Since her male co-workers’ seem to resent her sleeping her way to success in this particular fashion, she’s since been transferred to the San Diego area, where he manages to capture the younger brother of yet another notorious druglord, this one based in Mexico. Which is when all hell hits the fan, as Caesar Olivera is not about to let his brother ever be convicted, no matter how incompetent he is.

    And who is in his way is none other than Kay Hamilton.

   This is one of those books in which the only way that bad guys can get away with their evil things is to do dumb things. What of course evens things out is that the bad guys do dumb things too.

   It’s all pretty predictable stuff, in other words, especially when a 15-year-old girl comes knocking on Kay’s door, telling her that she’s her daughter and that she has nowhere to go and has to move in with her. Kay is not thrilled.

   But does that give Olivera the edge he needs? You bet.

   Lawson has an easy, fluid writing style that makes the well over 400 pages go very quickly. On that basis alone, I might even read another in the series, but mitigating against that is that by book’s end Kay has worn out her welcome at the DEA, and at the beginning of the next book (showcased at the end of this one) she’s in training for her next job for some sort of super-secret spy organization. I found Kay’s resourceful daughter more interesting as a character than Kay herself, and to tell you the truth, super-secret spy organizations are a dime a dozen these days.