I don’t know Robert Dugoni beyond his status as a very successful author of mystery thrillers, a genre much of my own work focuses on. This week, one of my loyal readers sent me a book page link for Mr. Dugoni’s soon-to-be released fourth installment of his popular Tracy Crosswhite detective series. That message was sent with this headline:
“Dugoni stole your crab pot idea!!!!!!”
To which I thought, “HUH?”
And then I read the promotional blurb for the book to be released at the end of this month:
“When a woman’s body is discovered submerged in a crab pot in the chilly waters of Puget Sound, Detective Tracy Crosswhite finds herself with a tough case to untangle. Before they can identify the killer, Tracy and her colleagues on the Seattle PD’s Violent Crimes Section must figure out who the victim is.”
After which my response turned to, “HUH!”
You see, my novel DARK WATERS , released two months earlier, opens with a prologue that has an unknown young woman’s hacked up body being unceremoniously dropped into the waters of the Puget Sound, an event which is the genesis for the second installment of my ongoing SAN JUAN ISLANDS MYSTERY SERIES. The local sheriff and an intrepid young female reporter are left to try and figure out who the young woman was, and more importantly, the person or persons responsible for her grisly murder.
Look, Dugoni is big-league in the author-world.
Me? I’m a small prawn hoping to someday join him in the big-league. Now, if he had released The Trapped Girl some six months later, I might be more inclined to harbor at least a hint of suspicion regarding where he came up with the crab pot idea. As it is, I know Dugoni likely began work on that novel many months ago and that the similarities in both location and means of murder within the context of our two mystery-thrillers are coincidence, and nothing more. Perhaps a case of great minds thinking alike?
I would also add that Dugoni’s location is Seattle, and mine is the San Juan Islands, a far more beautiful and mysterious place within the same general region of the Puget Sound – so hah!
At any rate, I wish Mr. Dugoni the best. I’m sure “The Trapped Girl” will be yet another deserving bestseller for him.
He tells a good story and is but one of many inspirations for my own work.
D.W. Ulsterman is a bestselling, award-winning author and socio-political commentator.
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