Robert Dugoni: True Fiction

Posted on June 7, 2017 in Guest Author Blog

My guest blogger this week is Robert Dugoni, bestselling author of 14 novels, including the current chart-topping Tracy Crosswhite series.

Bob Dugoni played an instrumental role in getting my debut novel, Perilous Judgment, to the finish line. I attended the Novel Writing Intensive in the fall of 2014 taught by him and Steven James, another national bestselling author. Both Bob and Steven elevated my grasp of story, and Bob made a critical plot recommendation that, for me, blew away the uncertainty I was battling at the time about how to engineer the story’s climactic events.

In today’s guest blog, Bob shares some important facts he uncovered while researching his next novel about the scourge of heroin addiction among today’s youth.

True Fiction

Robert Dugoni

The subject of my fifth Tracy Crosswhite novel, Close to Home, which comes out September 2017, is troubling, especially for parents.

I never fully understand the subject I am writing about until I have written the first draft of the novel. Often, my novels start with an idea spurred by a newspaper or magazine article. In this case, however, the idea came from real life.

In the year prior to writing Close to Home, I read of multiple students at a local high school dying of heroin overdoses, and I wondered how that could be happening in my suburban hometown. Heroin, when I was growing up, was a hardcore drug injected by the dregs of society. Not any longer, I learned.

The loss of a person so young is always tragic. The loss of that person, often after years of the torment heroin wreaks on the entire family, is shocking. As I researched this topic, I was surprised and dismayed to learn how heroin had become epidemic in this country. I never thought such could be one of the long-term and long-range ramifications of the legalization of marijuana, but it is.

I had no idea that the loss of the marijuana market had caused the Mexican, South American, and Chinese drug cartels to plow under their marijuana fields to plant poppies so they could flood the United States market with cheap and affordable heroin. This came at an unfortunate period in the United States, when so many people had become addicted to prescription opioids because of the over-prescribing of those drugs and misinformation spread by pharmaceutical companies.

While I don’t profess to know all about this mess, the substantial amount of information that I read in books and in newspaper and magazine articles, as well as conversations I’ve had with many intricately involved in treating those addictions, was sobering and frightening.

I’d always believed heroin addicts were people living in rodent-infested apartments. The words that had the greatest impact on me during my research were those describing so many currently addicted as, “good kids from good families.”

So I had the genesis of my next novel, one I hope sheds some light on a topic that needs attention.

Seattle is currently debating opening treatment addiction facilities. The idea is both controversial and potentially expensive. The facility would be set up so that those addicted could receive treatment, including being injected with heroin. In Vancouver, these sites have reduced the number of overdose deaths dramatically, as well as the spread of infections and diseases that come with the use of shared needles. Would such sites be good for Seattle? Time will tell.

But something needs to be done and sooner rather than later. Good kids, from good families, are dying.

Robert Dugoni is the #1 Kindle bestselling and #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Tracy Crosswhite Series, including My Sister’s Grave, Her Final Breath, In the Clearing, and The Trapped Girl.

His books have twice been nominated for the International Thriller Award. He is also the author of the Edgar Award–nominated The 7th Canon; the New York Times bestselling David Sloane Series, which includes The Jury Master, Wrongful Death, Bodily Harm, Murder One, and The Conviction; the stand-alone novel Damage Control; and the nonfiction exposé The Cyanide Canary, a Washington Post Best Book of the Year selection.

Dugoni is a two-time nominee for the Harper Lee Award for Legal Fiction and the recipient of the Nancy Pearl Award for fiction. Visit his website at and follow him on Twitter @robertdugoni and on Facebook at