NY Times Best-Selling Author Sets Latest Novel In Burien

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by Scott Schaefer

That’s New York Times best-selling Author Robert Dugoni above on the left, along with Burien businessman Dan House, right. Dugoni has incorporated the Burien area into his latest novel, “Wrongful Death,” including this pivotal scene set in House’s The Tin Room:

Dugoni will be celebrating his creative ties to Burien with a reading and book-signing party at The Tin Room at 6pm on Wednesday, May 6th.

We recently caught up with Dugoni, along with longtime Burien resident and businessman Dan House (aka “Dan the Sausageman,” and yes, his name was purposely misspelled in the book as “Hause”), and spoke with both about Burien, writing, and the importance of using authentic locations in a story.

House asked Dugoni why he chose to set the novel’s main character David Sloane’s home in Burien, and why he included The Tin Room.

“Burien is a very interesting place,” Dugoni said as he sipped an iced tea. “On one hand you’ve got this relatively remote, rich area with gorgeous views and beautiful waterfront homes, while just up and over the hill there are pockets of poverty. I just love the contrast, and the possibilities it allows for a mystery are tremendous.”

Author Robert Dugoni laughs as he unwraps his "teen idol" publicity poster.

Another reason Dugoni may have decided to include The Tin Room could be because it’s located next to House’s other retail business, “Dan the Sausageman.”

“One time I was driving through Burien and I saw this odd red neon sign that said ‘Dan the Sausage‘ and I just had to stop,” Dugoni laughed. “I parked, went inside and spoke with an older woman (Dan’s Mom Chirlee) who pointed out that the sign actually read ‘Sausageman‘ but because it was bent to go around a corner it looked like it only said ‘Dan the Sausage.’ I thought that was very unusual. Then I ate at The Tin Room and that was it.”

Dugoni, who makes his home in Kirkland, has family ties in Burien and often spends summer days down on the beach at Three Tree Point. This is his third novel, with the previous two being “The Jury Master” and “Damage Control.”

Here’s the synopsis for Wrongful Death, along with some early reviews:

Acclaimed attorney David Sloane (from the New York Times Bestseller, The Jury Master) agrees to take on a wrongful-death claim with a strong emotional tug. Beverly Ford, the widow of a national guardsman killed in Iraq is convinced her husband perished under nefarious circumstances. Sloane soon learns that established case law makes the prospect of victory over the federal government nearly impossible. When Sloane discovers that other members of Ford’s platoon have died under suspicious circumstances since returning to the U.S., he suspects a conspiracy to conceal the truth. In a battle for justice, Sloane must keep himself, and those he loves, from becoming the next casualties.

Mixing the suspense of a Grisham legal thriller with the political angle of a Baldacci. Dugoni is knocking on the A-list thriller door.
– Booklist

Page-turning action…
– Publishers Weekly

An entertaining thriller. Good guys to like, villains to hiss, windmills to attack.
– Kirkus

And here’s a publicity video produced for publisher Simon & Schuster that showcases some Burien areas – see if you can identify any:

Here’s Dugoni’s bio:

Robert Dugoni was born in Pocatello, Idaho and raised in Burlingame, California. Growing up the middle child in a family of ten siblings, Dugoni jokes that he didn’t get much of a chance to talk, so he wrote. By the seventh grade he knew he wanted to be a writer.

Dugoni wrote his way to Stanford University where he majored in communications/journalism and creative writing and worked as a reporter for the Stanford Daily. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa and worked briefly as a reporter in the Metro and San Gabriel Valley Offices of the Los Angeles Times before deciding to attend the UCLA law school. Dugoni practiced law full-time in San Francisco as a partner at the law firm, Gordon and Rees and is currently of counsel for a law firm in Seattle.

While practicing law he satisfied his artistic thirst studying acting at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, appearing in equity and non-equity shows throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. His longing to return to writing never wavered, however, and in 1999 he made the decision to quit the full-time practice of law to write novels. On the 4-year anniversary of his wedding, he drove a u-haul trailer across the Oregon-Washington border and settled in Seattle to pursue his dream.

For the next three years, Dugoni worked in an 8 x 8 foot windowless office in Seattle’s Pioneer Square to complete three novels, two of which won the 1999 and 2000 Pacific Northwest Writer’s Association Literary Contests.

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One Response to “NY Times Best-Selling Author Sets Latest Novel In Burien”
  1. Guy Soderlind says:

    I love the concept of this novel. set in three tree point is perfect.

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