8 July 2011

Review: WRONGFUL DEATH, Robert Dugoni

My edition: Simon & Schuster Pocket Book 2009
ISBN 978-1-4165-9297-6
429 pages
Source: My local library

Publisher's Blurb (Author's site)

Just minutes after winning a $1.6 million wrongful death verdict, attorney David Sloane confronts the one case that threatens to blemish his unbeaten record in the courtroom. Beverly Ford wants Sloane to sue the United States Government and Military in the mysterious death of her husband James, a National Guardsman killed in Iraq. While a decades old military doctrine might make Ford's case impossible to win, Sloane, a former soldier himself, is compelled to find justice for the widow and her four children in what is certain to become the biggest challenge of his career.

With little hard evidence to go on, Sloane calls on his friend, reclusive former CIA agent turned private investigator Charles Jenkins, to track down the other men serving with Ford the night he died. Alarmingly, two of the four who returned home alive didn't stay that way for long, and though the mission's wheelchair-bound commander now works for a civilian contractor, he refuses to talk. The final and youngest soldier is also the most elusive, but he's their only shot at discovering the truth if Sloane and Jenkins can keep him alive long enough to tell it.

Meanwhile, Sloane isn't the only one on a manhunt. As he propels his case into a federal courtroom, those seeking to hide the truth threaten Sloane's family, forcing his new wife Tina and stepson Jake into hiding where they become the targets of a relentless killer. Now Sloane must race to uncover what really happened on that fatal mission, not only to bring justice to a family wronged, but to keep himself and the people closest to him from becoming the next casualties...

My take

I put WRONGFUL DEATH on my reading list as a result of a recommendation on a discussion list I belong to. It will probably appeal most to people who like Grisham-type legal thrillers or someone who is looking for a crime fiction title related to America's recent war efforts in Iraq.

It is the second title in his David Sloane series
1. The Jury Master (2006)
2. Wrongful Death (2009)
3. Bodily Harm (2010)
and seems loosely based on those news stories we've all heard about American contractors supplying the Iraq government with the ability to make war, and then on profiteering happening during the war and the reconstruction efforts.

The tension in WRONGFUL DEATH builds nicely as David Sloane and Charles Jenkins search for the remnant of the team who were companions of the dead Guardsman James Ford. Two of the men are killed just before Sloan and Jenkins locate them and the race is on to locate the third.

What seems to be a simple wrongful death case hinges on technicalities and takes a surprising twist when the US government offers a compensation package. There were times in the book when I wished I had read the earlier title THE JURY MASTER if only for the background on Sloane whom I really liked as the leading character.

My rating: 4.4

1 comment:

Margot Kinberg said...

Kerrie - Thanks very much for your take on this. It sounds like a solid, taut thriller.

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