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Murder One: Author Robert Dugoni



 Rebecca Han stood in front of Judge Myron Koslowski and received an oral reprimand in front of an entire courtroom. Preparing her case against a man noted for drug trafficking she hoped to be able to present evidence to lock him away for along time. What she did not expect is getting you might say blindsided by the legal system, red tape and judge who was unyielding. By the time all was said and done in the courtroom Rebecca Han knew that the defendant would not do any jail time and that his lawyer had one more than just this round. As Vasiliev’s defense attorney leaves the courtroom he nods at one of the spectators as his message rings loud and clear. Claiming that the sheriff’s department violated this man’s Fourth Amendment when they did their search left little room for a conviction.


David Sloane is an attorney who is attending a black tie dinner where he is the keynote speaker. A chance encounter as he is trying to slip out unnoticed would bring him face to faced with an old friend. Things often happen for a reason whether good or bad. Sometimes a chance encounter might change the course of events of your life in a different direction. Bumping almost head on into Barclay Reid this chance meeting would not only draw them closer together not just in the courtroom but in fighting for one of their lives too. Murder One by Robert Dugoni starts out on a fast paced track and the rest will keep that roller coaster going as I review this first rate novel.


As Barclay and David decide to get reacquainted he tells her of the tragedy of his wife’s death and she of her daughter’s overdose. Barclay had close ties to the case regarding the drug dealer and hoped the Attorney General would pursue it even further. Filyp Vasiliev is the Russian Mafia head that is responsible for her daughter’s death and she aims to make him pay. As David and Barclay get closer someone is definitely out there following their every move. Tina, his wife was murdered and her daughter gone this makes for an interesting start to a unique relationship. But, Barclay is relentless in her quest to take this man off the streets and hopes that justice will prevail. After Tina’s death his law partner and several others decided to intervene and get him back on track.


As we learn more about Barlay the reader begins to wonder about her true character and whether she is using David for her own ulterior motive. As they rapidly become close or you might say an item as it appears to others some warn him to be careful and not jump into a new relationship so fast. Barclay has her eyes and mark on David as more than just a friend when she broaches him about filing a wrongful death suit in her daughter’s murder. Revenge is a heavy component or player in this novel as both Barclay and David want to avenge the death of his wife and her daughter. But, fate plays its own hand and rears its ugly head when Vasiliev after threatening David in person and his family too, winds up dead and now the rules change.


Detective Kinsington Rowe enters the picture and the crime scene along with his partner Tracey Crosswhite. Warrants in hand and entering the murder scene, paper completed and all the i’s dotted and t’s crossed, Rowe and his team assessed the scene but not before making sure that their warrant covered every single facet needed and allowed them all the information including technology available. Added to this unique team was King Country Senior Prosecuting attorney and part of a new unit called the Most Dangerous Offender’s Program. Experienced prosecutors working the start of an investigation join with the regular team in a violent crime. Even the call to the police, a gunshot alerts the reader to know that the police in this case responded within an hour and not rapidly. Author Robert Dugoni takes the reader inside and directly through the investigative process, procedures and stages as described and experienced by the investigators allowing the reader to experience the action first hand. The author even describes how the warrants are prepared and how the investigator decides which judge to approach for it and why. The lead or Cerrabone chose the judge he thought would grant a warrant that encompassed a wider and expansive search. But, the worst has yet to be revealed as Sloan goes to file the wrongful death suit for Reid, learns about the murder of drug trafficker and then stands by as she is brought in for questioning. Barclay’s reaction to the murder and learning Vasiliev’s fate was not really relief it was quite cold and stark. Most would cry or be overjoyed that the criminal got what he deserved she seemed in control and very reserved. As Rowe questions her concerning the deceased you feel a certain amount of detachment in her voice.


Then things heat up even more as the detectives get enough evidence to arrest Barclay and she convinces David to defend her. With his legal team of Charles Jenkins, Alex and his assistant Carolyn they uncover more about Barclay then they care to know. Interviewing her ex-husband they get a whole other side of her that does not match his perception but maybe others. The judge on the case is no nonsense and both sides win and lose some before the trial begins. A dirty DEA agent and a judge that might need a lawyer himself, the corruption goes way up and you won’t believe where it stops. A polygraph that some thought proved her innocence and a young teen that would change it all by placing her at the scene of the crime and one sentence that might convict her for good.


The courtroom is set and the players are seated but first Barclay presents David with something special as a thank you. Barclay is not what she appears to be on the surface. Her demeanor too calm her reactions appear rehearsed. Did she really bump into David or was it planned and what about the night she saw her ex-husband? Too many things add up and the sum total is definitely incorrect as the scales of justice are tipping but definitely in the wrong direction.


But, the judge set the stage in a different direction even before the trial begins. The opening statements given and the trial proceeds and both sides present their cases. But, the explosive ending and the trial will definitely keep the reader glued to the printed page. Author Robert Dugoni takes the reader through the trial; the judge’s rulings, the investigation and the lessons learned by one lawyer that he would never forget. Not everything and everyone is what they seem. Loyalties, trusts, betrayals, determination and revenge all play a part in this novel. Which one wins out? Who comes out the winner? Remember: Barclay does not like to lose? What do we learn about her from her ex-husband and what do we learn about him? Just how far will everyone go to keep her free? What happens at the end you won’t believe as the special twist will definitely put a super grin on the reader’s face.  Remember Rebecca Han: She just might be smiling too!


Murder One is a fast paced, research filled, based on a real case novel that only author Robert Dugoni can deliver with his special brand of delivery. This book gets: Five Wins!


Fran Lewis: reviewer 

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