My name is Robert Dugoni. I’m the author of many bestselling books, including the Tracy Crosswhite police series set in Seattle. I think the thing about me that raises the most eyebrows is, I am one of ten children, all from the same two parents. It’s rare, especially today. It was a bucolic childhood where in the summers my mother would open the door and we’d run outside to play in the cul-de-sac. I never wanted for someone to play with, and I was never lonely. With six brothers we were always up to something or guilty of something, and I remember fondly my father saying to me, or one of my siblings, “What the Sam Hell were you thinking?” Little did I know that Sam would become one of my more endearing characters in The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell.
What Are You Reading?
I read an eclectic mix of books. Often, I’m reading a book seeking a blurb. At present I’m reading Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin and it’s as good as its reviews. I’m also reading The Brisling Code by Janet Oakley, who has become the authoritative person on Norway during World War II. I’m also reading, The Wise Man’s Fear (The Kingkiller Chronicles) by Patrick Rothfuss which my son told me I had to read. He was right.
Books That Shaped Me
I’ve always been a reader, since I was young and my mother, a former English teacher, handed me classic literature to keep me occupied and out of trouble in school. Certain books have stuck with me, each for a different reason.
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
I recall this as one of the first books I read cover to cover. I fell in love with the characters, and I was fascinated with the thought that a friend could betray another for the love of a woman. I fell headfirst into the adventure and was mesmerized at Edmond Dantes’ ingenious escape from a seemingly inescapable island prison. The book taught me to never quit fighting for my dreams and for what is right.
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
I was thirty when I read Larry McMurtry’s classic western. I fell in love with the Old West and with the characters on a journey to bring home cattle to Lonesome Dove. I read the book at a pivotal moment in my life. My longtime girlfriend and I had separated, and I was living alone and in the shadows of my highly successful siblings. When I read the ending, and Captain Call came home alone to Lonesome Dove, I cried for him and all that he had lost. It was one of the first books that touched me deeply, and I’ve tried to do the same in my own writing.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
This was one of the first books I read that was more than just a story. It was a commentary on racial injustice. I came to understand that books could have a higher purpose than just entertainment, and could truly be a guiding light on intolerance, bigotry, racism, and other social issues while still being a fascinating read filled with wonderful characters. For much the same reason, The Green Mile and Stephen King’s deft touch at discussing racial issues and the unfair application of the death penalty, moved me.
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
I read this book for a course at Stanford University. I didn’t choose it and wasn’t all that excited, but I was hooked on page one and eagerly devoured the beautiful prose and the harsh reality of slavery in the deep south. It was an eye-opening read for a white, young man who grew up in a town with very few Black people, and who, up to that point, had never traveled farther south than the shores of Lake Tahoe in Nevada.
More Good Stuff
There are a few of my books that, if you’re looking to discover me, I would recommend.
The first in the 10 book (and counting) Tracy Crosswhite series. Tracy is a Seattle Homicide Detective wracked with guilt over the death of her sister and determined to find her killer. To do so, she’ll first have to get the man convicted of the crime a new trial.
This coming-of-age story of a boy born with ocular albinism (red eyes) has captured the hearts and minds of millions of readers. With his uncompromising mother determined to give Sam the very best education at the local Catholic school, Sam must navigate classroom bullies and a principal determined to break his spirit. Sam bonds with his two best friends, Ernie, the only Black student in the school, and Mickie, a misfit tomboy, to navigate the pitfalls and difficulties of life and find for himself the true meaning of an ‘extraordinary life.’
The first in the Keera Duggan series. If you like games, police procedurals, legal thrillers and/or family dynamics, you’ll love watching Keera, a chess prodigy, deftly navigate in the courtroom defending Vince LaRussa, accused of killing his wife. She does so at the family criminal defense practice with her dysfunctional siblings, all of whom are scarred from their highly successful father’s lifetime of binge drinking.
The first novel in the Charles Jenkins espionage series. After years out of the spy game, Charles Jenkins is pulled back to Russia by his former case officer. His job is to find the Russian spy who has infiltrated an American spy ring and is killing the seven sisters who have provided America with a wealth of valuable information. Jenkins realizes, too late, that he’s a pawn and is soon scrambling to evade a dogged former KGB Agent, Viktor Federov, who has orders to bring Jenkins in, dead or alive.