Damage Control


Attorney Dana Hill is used to managing a stressful life: she's one of the most successful lawyers at Strong & Thurmond, mother to a young daughter, wife to a busy, self-involved man. But when she is diagnosed with breast cancer, and her twin brother turns up beaten to death in an apparent robbery-gone-wrong in the same week, the careful balance of Dana's life is sent into flux. Agreeing with the police that this is more than just a simple botched burglary, she begins to sift through the pieces of her ...
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Attorney Dana Hill is used to managing a stressful life: she's one of the most successful lawyers at Strong & Thurmond, mother to a young daughter, wife to a busy, self-involved man. But when she is diagnosed with breast cancer, and her twin brother turns up beaten to death in an apparent robbery-gone-wrong in the same week, the careful balance of Dana's life is sent into flux. Agreeing with the police that this is more than just a simple botched burglary, she begins to sift through the pieces of her brother's life, a life she thought she knew as well as her own, to find out who would want him dead and why.

But bad things happen in threes, her mother has told her. When Dana discovers her husband cheating, she throws herself headlong into the investigation. Delaying cancer treatment, she teams with an intuitive detective to find the link between a one-of-a-kind earring found in her brother's bedroom and a mysterious girlfriend no one seems to be able to identify. But those connected to the murder are beginning to turn up dead, the evidence trail is growing cold and someone is masquerading as a police officer, cleaning up the details as they go along.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

For the low-tech world of audiobook recording, any move forward resounds with the heavy tread of technology's step. Lane's reading of Dugoni's legal thriller features the clever, realistic touch of rendering the book's ever-present telephone and cellphone conversations through static and slightly digitized reception. While only a small detail, the phone effect is evidence of an open-minded attitude to audiobook recording—one that looks for new ways to do the same old same old. Lane (a veteran of more than 100 audiobooks) reads unobtrusively but distinctively, artfully pausing for effect to underscore the domestic and legal tension in Dana Hill's life, whose already difficult juggling of work and personal life is further complicated by the murder of her twin brother. Lane manipulates pitch and tone to differentiate between characters, nicely avoiding overwrought voices, and his solid work amply redounds to his credit as a nuanced reader. Simultaneous release with the Warner hardcover (Reviews, Nov. 20). (Feb.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal
In New York Timesbest-selling author Dugoni's (The Jury Master) latest, successful attorney Dana Hill's life begins to fall apart when her brother is murdered and she is diagnosed with breast cancer. Going to her husband for support, she learns he is having an affair. Rather than collapsing in self-pity, she decides to take control and starts investigating her brother's death. An examination of his life proves to Dana that she really didn't know him at all. As she digs deeper, the forces behind his murder want her out of the picture, and a man dressed as a policeman is killing people who might know the answers. Dana and the supporting characters are fascinating, helping to propel the narrative to its shocking conclusion. Comparisons to John Grisham's early works and David Baldacci's thrillers are easily warranted. Destined to damage the best sellers lists; for all fiction collections.
—Jeff Ayers
Kirkus Reviews
Dugoni centers a high-speed murder mystery around infidelity and jealousy. In his second workmanlike thriller (after The Jury Master, 2006), Dugoni goes feminine. This time out, his overworked, brilliant lawyer-protagonist is Dana Hill, and her woes include a cheating husband and a lump in her breast. Keeping up with doctors' appointments while holding down a demanding job at a top Seattle firm is bad enough. But as the story opens, Dana's ambitious, and often absent, husband has stopped taking care of their adorable three-year-old, Molly, so when Dana's twin brother James calls with a problem, she brushes him off. Her shock is augmented by guilt the next day, when James is found dead. Unlike her, he had left the fast-track legal career that had helped destroy their parents' marriage for a more rewarding, if less lucrative, life as an academic. So why would anyone want to kill this gentle soul? And could it have anything to do with the expensive earring Dana finds in his bedroom? With the aid of handsome and gentle detective Mike Logan, the lovely Dana with the sparkling blue eyes determines to find out. But several blind spots threaten to trip up this thriller in its enjoyable rush toward resolution. Why, for example, would a woman who has been nearly killed twice (once by a car bomb), and who is in hiding, open a front door without first checking the identity of the visitor? And would a devoted mom and workaholic like Dana really drop all her responsibilities to fly to Hawaii to follow a clue? No matter. Although the personal resolutions are telegraphed early on, the plot twists keep the pages turning despite leaden dialogue and comic-book characterizations of the men, good and bad, inDana's life. With its romantic underpinnings, this pleasant escapism should serve to divert some female readers.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781423326526
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio
  • Publication date: 2/14/2007
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged, 10 CDs, 11 hours
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 5.50 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Dugoni has practiced as a civil litigator in San Francisco and Seattle for seventeen years. In 1999 he left the full-time practice of law to write, and is a two-time winner of the Pacific Northwest Writers Association Literary Contest. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University with a degree in journalism and worked as a reporter for the Los Angeles Times before obtaining his doctorate of jurisprudence from the University of California at Los Angeles School of Law. He lives with his wife and two children in the Pacific Northwest.
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Read an Excerpt

Damage Control

By Robert Dugoni


Copyright © 2007 La Mesa Fiction, LLC
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-446-57870-3

Chapter One

Redmond, Washington

Dr. Frank Pilgrim adjusted the flexible lamp clipped to the edge of his cluttered metal desk, but the additional illumination did not keep the typewritten words on the page from blurring. He set his wire-framed glasses above his bushy gray eyebrows and pinched the bridge of his nose. His eyes had reached their limit; they could no longer take the strain of a night reading small print.

Pilgrim glanced across the room, the details a blur. It wasn't too long ago he could watch the television screen atop the military- green filing cabinets without glasses. Now he could barely make out the cabinets, even with prescription help. His cataracts were getting worse. It didn't matter. With all the reality-TV crap being broadcast, he had long since relegated the television to background noise. It kept him company at night. He liked to listen to the Mariner baseball games, though the team continued to disappoint him. At seventy-eight, he didn't have many years left to experience a World Series in Seattle.

The telephone on his desk rang at precisely ten p.m, as it had every night for the past forty-eight years. "I'm just finishing up," he said, speaking into the old-fashioned handset. He rocked in his chair, bumping against floor-to-ceiling shelving cluttered with a lifetime of books and knickknacks from his and his wife's trips around the world. Their next stop wouldbe China in the summer. "Just a couple more minutes and I'll be done, dear."

His wife told him to be careful walking to his car, reminding him that he was an old man with a cane and an artificial hip and no longer the starting wingback at the U-Dub. "I'm as young as you are, beautiful," he said. "And as long as I still feel like I'm eighteen, I intend to act that way."

He told her he loved her and hung up, looking out through the wood-shuttered window of his ground-floor office. His fifteen-year-old BMW sat parked in its customary spot beneath the flood-lights' tapered orange glow. When he'd opened his practice, the lot had been surrounded by cedar and dogwood trees, but that was a good many years ago, when getting to Redmond required taking a ferry from Seattle across Lake Washington. With the construction of the 520 and I-90 bridges, the population on the east side of the lake had exploded. Office complexes and high-rise condominiums now shadowed his medical building.

Pilgrim rolled back his chair, closed the file, and carried it to the cabinet, pulling open the drawer to the file he'd angled as a marker and sliding it back in place. Then, as was also his routine-rain or shine-he slipped on his raincoat and hat that he used to think made him look like Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca, and reached to shut off the television. He hesitated at the lead news story.

"Robert Meyers was at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center in downtown Seattle today to give the keynote address at a conference on global warming."

Pilgrim turned up the volume and watched the charismatic young senator enter the convention center, shaking hands with some of the attendees.

"Meyers took the opportunity to continue his attacks on the current Republican administration's record on the environment."

The broadcast cut to a shot of Meyers standing at a podium behind a throng of microphones. "This is an issue whose time has come," he told the audience. "The people of the Pacific Northwest know this as well as any in the United States. The current administration's continued disregard for the environment is a further demonstration that it is out of touch with issues that will affect the future generations of this great country."

The story ended, and Pilgrim switched off the television. Curious, he raised his glasses back onto the perch above his eyebrows and used his finger to trace the faded letters on the white cards on the front of the file drawers. His daughter remained determined to modernize the practice, which was now hers, but to him the computer screens, hard drives, and printers throughout the rest of the office made it look like the control room of a spaceship. Not so in the sanctity of his four walls. All he needed were cabinets and the twenty-six letters of the alphabet-a filing system that had worked just fine before Bill Gates and computers. His daughter had relented, but only after he agreed to separate his active from his inactive files. In exchange, she promised not to ship any of his files to storage. His cabinets would leave his office with his body.

He stepped to the cabinet containing his closed files and slid open the third drawer down, straining to read the faded ink on the raised tabs. He pulled the file from the crowded drawer and raised the next in sequence to mark its place, then walked to his desk. Sitting, he heard the familiar sound of the bells indicating the front door had opened. At this time of night, he locked the front door, though the janitor had a key, and Emily occasionally came back to do paperwork after putting her two children to bed. She had her father's gene for long hours.

Pilgrim stood and pulled open his office door. "Emily, is that you?" The well-dressed man in the dark suit and raincoat stood like a giant amid the miniature chairs and tables. More curious than concerned, Pilgrim asked, "Can I help you?"

"Dr. Frank Pilgrim?" "Yes. How did you get in?" The man closed the outer door, locking it. "I brought a key." "Where did you get a key?"

The man approached. He did not answer. "What is it you want?" Pilgrim asked. "I have no money here, or anything that would even remotely be considered a narcotic."

The man reached into the pocket of his raincoat, pulled out a syringe, and removed the stopper at the end of the needle. "That's okay, Dr. Pilgrim. I've brought my own."

Pilgrim's eyes narrowed. He balled his fists. "My daughter is here. She's . . . she's in the office right over there." He called out. "Emily! Emily, there's a man here. Call the police."

The intruder stepped forward, displaying no concern. Pilgrim stumbled into his office and closed the door, but the man caught the edge and pushed it open, knocking Pilgrim backward. He closed the door behind him. Pilgrim scrambled for the telephone, but his momentum abruptly stopped, and he felt himself being pulled back by his collar. Instinctively, he turned. The man grabbed him by the throat and jabbed the hypodermic needle into Pilgrim's chest, depressing the plunger. A burning sensation spread quickly across Pilgrim's shoulders and down his arms and legs. Pain gripped him, constricting the flow of air to his lungs. He righted himself, then fell backward into the filing cabinet, shoving closed the drawer. The images blurred, distorted and unrecognizable. He lurched for the telephone and managed to grasp the receiver, but the strength in his legs dissolved and he collapsed across the desk, sliding to the floor, his arms pulling forty-eight years of clutter on top of him.


Excerpted from Damage Control by Robert Dugoni Copyright © 2007 by La Mesa Fiction, LLC. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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