Cover Image: Her Deadly Game

Her Deadly Game

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"Never ever play games with a girl who knows how to play them better. I'm not waiting for the Karma train. I'm driving it."  (Unknown)

Nothing wounds greater than a love affair on the skids. Keera Duggan found out the hard way. Her former lover, Miller Ambrose, keeps turning the knife. But Keera cut all ties with Miller. Doesn't seem like Miller can read a Stop sign.

Keera even left the law practice in Seattle where she and Miller worked. Her only option was to fall into the open arms of her family's law firm headed by her famous father, Patrick Duggan, known as "Patsy". At seventy-two, he's still a force to be reckoned with. Her sisters, Ella and Maggie, work there as well.

High Point: Keera is approached by Vince LaRussa, a successful investment adviser. Upon returning home from a charity affair, Vince came upon his wife, Anne, dead from a gunshot wound in their kitchen. Anne had been relegated to a wheelchair for some time which made the crime even more gruesome. Suspect #1 is the husband. Vince is gonna need a top-notch lawyer.

Investigating Detectives: Frank Rossi and Billy Ford of Seattle's Violent Crime Division step into this circle. Both have years of experience under their belts. This is no suicide with a shot to the back of the head. No other suspects but Vince.

Gasoline On the Fire: Miller Ambrose has been assigned as the prosecuting attorney. He will try to lay bear traps along the way for Keera. It's personal.

Trick Up the Sleeve: Keera was a Chess prodigy for years. She and Patsy played non-stop and she continues to enter games online. Strategy is always key. But is it enough to, once again, sharpen her skills when a man's life is at stake and your ex is lobbing grenades around every turn?

Needless to say, if you've read Robert Dugoni in the past, you know he's should to shoulder with even John Grisham when it comes to courtroom tactics and scenes. The man holds your attention taut throughout. And with a lead female character like Keera Duggan who is well aware of her potential for checkmate, you're in for a mighty good read. Buckle up and let's set up the board.

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to Thomas & Mercer and to the talented Robert Dugoni for the opportunity.
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Enjoyed reading the latest by Robert Dugoni.  A complex case, explained in a way you'll never imagine!  Touches on abuse and alcoholism.  Strong female lead (she's smart AND a chess player)!  I could see this become a series.
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This book is the start of a series about Keera Duggan, a former prosecutor turned defense attorney. Dugoni is one of my favorite authors and he has outdone himself with this book. Once I started I simply could not put it down and I finished it the next day. The book is exciting from the first page to the last. It is first and foremost a legal thriller with a good dose of courtroom drama. Keera is strong and likable yet humble. I am not a chess player but I found the chess dialogue was easy to understand. I highly recommend this book.
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In Her Deadly Game we meet Keera Duggan, a young Prosecutor working in Seattle for her family's failing firm. Her father was once a leading light in the field but is now too fond of the bottle and is losing his edge. As a consequence Keera, although inexperienced, finds herself taking the lead in the defence of an accused murderer.

This is a court room thriller with a side of police work accompanied by a family drama. Something for every one and I loved it! The characters are written excellently well, and Keera in particular stands out as smart, determined and no one's fool. I especially liked the theme of a chess game running parallel with and reflecting the action in court.

The book starts well, moves at an excellent pace and finishes in great style with an unexpected twist. Highly recommended.
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Her Deadly Game by Robert Dugoni, a propulsive, mind-bending legal thriller that is razor sharp.

As a rule, I don’t read legal thrillers as much as I once did and had never read Robert Dugoni until I picked up Her Deadly Game. I saw the book was available for review, was intrigued by the book summary, and requested it. And I’m so pleased I did. I think the epigraph Dugoni uses at the beginning and mentions again in the narrative fits the novel perfectly.

    “The truth is rarely pure and never simple.” ─ Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest

Keera Duggan, the main character, is a young Seattle trial lawyer, a former prosecutor now working as a defense attorney in her father Patrick “Patsy” Duggan’s law firm. Keera is struggling to get out of her father’s shadow and to make a name for herself as a lawyer. Patsy, nicknamed the Irish Brawler, earned the moniker because he had “knocked out” so many prosecutors in the courtroom using not only his razor-sharp legal mind, but every other inventive tactic he could think of. Finally, when someone murders the disabled wife of a prominent and rich Seattle wealth manager, Vincent LaRussa, and the authorities zero in on him as the prime suspect, Keera gets her chance. LaRussa hires her to defend him when the Seattle police arrest him for murdering his wife. Keera Duggan, also a keen legal mind, proves she is her father’s daughter, quite a legal brawler in her own right. She provides LaRussa the vigorous defense he’s paying her for. Keera undergoes several transitions during the buildup to the trial and then the trial itself. First, she isn’t sure whether her client is innocent, as he claims, and doesn’t care. Then, she feels certain LaRussa is innocent of his wife’s murder. But as the trial unfolds, Keera has reason to feel there is something sinister about Vincent LaRussa that may or may not involve his wife’s murder.

There was so much I liked about this book, but it was Dugoni’s direct, concise writing style that truly made the story sing for me. Dugoni didn’t offer any fluff. It seems each word and each sentence play an integral part in his narrative. Another thing I enjoyed was that Dugoni offers an important clue early in the book. But reminiscent of a stage magician, he cleverly pulls the reader’s attention away from the revelation by presenting the reader with many other bright, shiny objects that cause the important clue to be all but forgotten. Then Dugoni springs the trap much deeper in the story, creating a most unexpected twist.

Robert Dugoni’s writing style proves the truth that less is often more in descriptive writing. He wasted no time with extensive descriptions, yet provided enough detail to allow my mind to fill in any blanks. That allowed me to visualize each particular character and setting with ease. I found this especially effective with his characterization and had visual images in my head of each of the principal characters.

Something I enjoyed when I used to read more legal thrillers was that the better written ones, though fiction, offered much insight into the law, lawyers, and the courts and made me think. That is another strength of this book. It’s an unflinching look at the American criminal justice system, particularly the adversarial legal system used in our common law country where two advocates, a prosecutor and defense attorney, represent their parties’ case or position before an impartial judge or jury. For all its positives, it’s also easy to see the flaws of the system in that Americans often get the amount of “justice” they can pay for. In the case presented here, we have a wealthy defendant claiming innocence paying six-hundred-dollars per billable hour for a highly competent and resourceful defense attorney. That immediately made me think about how much justice an average person, perhaps relying on an overworked, underpaid public defender, might get in a similar situation.

Fans of legal thrillers and crime thrillers will enjoy this tense, pacy page-turner. It begins with a bang and doesn’t let up until the gripping and dramatic conclusion.
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Just finished "Her Deadly Game" by Robert Dugoni. I really this book. One of those you think about until you read again. Great plot and characters. Comes out in a few months. Read it if you like crime mystery books. This was a very enjoyable read!
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A defense attorney is prepared to play. But is she a pawn in a master’s deadly match? A twisting novel of suspense by New York Times bestselling author Robert Dugoni.

Keera Duggan was building a solid reputation as a Seattle prosecutor, until her romantic relationship with a senior colleague ended badly. For the competitive former chess prodigy, returning to her family’s failing criminal defense law firm to work for her father is the best shot she has. With the right moves, she hopes to restore the family’s reputation, her relationship with her father, and her career.

Keera’s chance to play in the big leagues comes when she’s retained by Vince LaRussa, an investment adviser accused of murdering his wealthy wife. There’s little hard evidence against him, but considering the couple’s impending and potentially nasty divorce, LaRussa faces life in prison. The prosecutor is equally challenging: Miller Ambrose, Keera’s former lover, who’s eager to destroy her in court on her first homicide defense.

As Keera and her team follow the evidence, they uncover a complicated and deadly game that’s more than Keera bargained for. When shocking information turns the case upside down, Keera must decide between her duty to her client, her family’s legacy, and her own future.
It was a great. Highly recomended.
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Book Title: Her Deadly Game
Author: Robert Dugoni
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer 
Genre: Mystery Thriller
Pub Date: March 28, 2023
My Rating: 5 Stars

This is my seventh Robert Dugoni novel, I have read most of the novels in the Tracey Crosswhite series and always enjoyed them. Yep Dugoni is one of my fav authors.

Keera Duggan's father is a famous defense attorney with his own firm Patrick (aka Patsy) Duggan & Associates. Keera had a solid reputation as a Seattle prosecutor, until her romantic relationship with Miller Ambrose also a prosecutor ended.  She joined her father’s firm and will be defending her first murder case. 
Vince La Russa, a millionaire investment banker who is accused of murdered his wife.  And guess who will be prosecuting the case? Yep Miller Ambrose he is determined to destroy Keera in court.

Background info ~ Keera is a former Chess prodigy and loved to strategize which has helped her in her law career. She only plays online on.  She considers not just what her opponent will do next but also the two or three moves which may follow. Her opponent is the “Dark Knight” and his chess moves can be applied to strategies in this case. She knows the “Dark Knight” is her dad. 
In this case, she has another opponent Jack Worthing. She doesn’t know who he/she is but knows that Jack Worthing is a fictional character; he was the protagonist in Oscar Wilde’s play “The Importance of Being Ernest” - Ernest is the fictitious brother and does nasty things Jack wouldn’t do.  
Now someone using Jack’s name is sending Keera emails with clues that may help with this case.

I love good court drama and this is one of the best. Plus love the chess strategies. As [author: Robert Dugoni] mentioned in his acknowledgements ~ ~I truly hope you, Loyal readers, enjoy the game within the game. ~
Speaking of “Acknowledgement” which I always love reading ~ Robert Dugoni tells us his motivation and of course acknowledged those who helped him with this story; including his research on chess playing.
As I mentioned I read several of his other novel but this is now my #1 favorite!

Want to thank NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer for this granted me the pleasure of reading this early eGalley. 
Publishing Release Date scheduled for March 28, 2023
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“The truth is rarely pure and never simple.”
Robert Dugoni’s latest is a legal thriller with a new main character.  Keera Duggan has recently joined her family’s law firm after leaving the prosecutor’s office after an affair gone wrong with her boss. The firm isn’t doing well as her father, a functioning alcoholic, is starting to slip and lose his confidence.   She’s the lawyer on call when a wealthy investment advisor calls.   His wheelchair bound wife has been murdered while he was at a charity function, but as the spouse, he’s still the prime suspect.  As you would expect, she ends up going against her ex-lover as the prosecutor on the case and he makes the case a personal vendetta to boot.  
Keera was a chess prodigy in her youth and still plays online to relax.  In fact, chess was a major focus of this story.  I don’t play and don’t really understand the game and the moves involved.   But Dugoni did a good job of giving someone like me an understanding of the logistics of the game.  
It’s a strong plot and I was bamboozled up until almost the end.  I did figure out the big secret about the defendant early on but it didn’t dampen my enjoyment of the story.  I hadn’t realized that Dugoni was originally a lawyer before switching to writing.  He wasn’t a criminal attorney, but his understanding of the mindset shines through.  
My thanks to Netgalley and Thomas & Mercer for an advance copy of this book.
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Her Deadly Game by Robert Dugoni is a great legal thriller.   Keera Duggan is a defense attorney in Seattle.  She has returned to her family’s firm after a failed affair with a senior lawyer. 
She is a chess champion and uses those skills in the courtroom.  She is trying to repair the reputation of her family’s firm.
I have read several of Mr. Dugoni’s series and this one was particularly good.  I loved the story and how Keera maneuvered the action to not only get her client justice, but also to get back and her adversary.  I recommend this book.
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Thank you to the author and publisher for the advance reader copy. This has not influenced my review. 

I'm already a huge Robert Dugoni fan, and had previously devoured his Tracey Crosswhite series. Because of this, my expectations for this book were incredibly high. This book did not disappoint! As always, Dugoni drew me in with the way he writes intrigue and mysteries, and I was kept guessing until the very end.  Thriller fans will not be disappointed!
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Thank you NetGalley and Amazon Publishing for the early read. I could not put Her Deadly Game down! I love how Robert Dugoni pulled me into the story with his excellent writing. I loved the mystery—and was guessing until the reveal. Besides the intriguing murder, I found myself drawn to the characters, especially the protagonist, Keera Duggan. Dangerously addictive as it kept me up reading way past my bedtime.
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Keera Duggan, a Seattle prosecutor, returns to her family law practice after a failed relationship with a colleague.  Her father, a celebrated defense attorney, is also a raging alcoholic with all the fallout that entails, both personally and professionally.
Keera is retained by Vince LaRussa, an investment adviser accused of murdering his disabled wealthy wife. The prosecutor?  Miller Ambrose, Keera’s former SO, who is determined to win and take down Keera in the process.  
As a former chess prodigy, Keera takes solace in online chess as a way to relax and decompress at the end of a long day. Just who is her anonymous online opponent, The Dark Night? The answer will surprise you! I don’t play chess and the moves went over my head, but I appreciated that the skills and logic needed to be a top chess player are the same skills needed to be a top defense attorney.
I love courtroom dramas and this is among the best. The ending became just a tad bit convoluted and the specifics of the murder were a bit OTT. 
But,I loved the character of Keera and her dysfunctional but loving family. Overall, the positives outweigh my reservations about the ending, and I was able to overlook a few sticking points.
The case ends with a conundrum which leaves Keera with a dilemma, and left me furiously turning the pages. I couldn’t see how the author could end this satisfactorily, but he pulled it off. I was left with wanting more from these characters which is a sure sign of a successful read for me. I want more stories featuring the Duggans!
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Her Deadly Game is a story about family dysfunction and stepping up. It’s about grit, truth, and strategy. I was hooked from the get-go and enjoyed the whole ride! 

Keera Dugan reluctantly returns to her family’s law firm, which is owned by her father Patrick and her two sisters. They are criminal defense lawyers. Patsy (Patrick) turn out to be a raging alcoholic and Keera hopes to fix the situation they are in because of his alcoholism. So much drama. This family is completely enmeshed!

Keera’s first homicide defense case is representing Vince LaRussa, an investment adviser accused of killing his wealthy wife. While there’s no real evidence, it appears that Vince and his wife were headed for divorce, so he is the first and only suspect. As more information comes out, Keera has to decide what is the right thing to do.

Keera has to go up against prosecutor Miller Ambrose, her ex-boyfriend who kind of pushed her out of her old job. He’s a bully and each is competitive. This creates a lot of tension.

Keera is a former chess prodigy and it’s almost as if chess is another character in this novel. Keera uses her experience with chess to strategize, always aiming to be a step ahead. Throughout the book Keera is involved in an online chess game and the moves are detailed painstakingly. This was the one part I didn’t like, I was completely lost, so I just skimmed over it.

This character driven story made me fall in love with Keera and her family. It is a complex, suspenseful police procedural and courtroom production, thoroughly enjoyable. I will be reading more of Robert Dugani.

Thanks to NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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What is a deadly game? Is it a game played to one's demise or can it be just a game of cat and mouse that will have one of the participants put away for life?

A handicapped woman is murdered in her wheelchair leaving a number of suspects behind plus a gun, some fibers, water, and a shattered glass. What heinous person could have shot this wealthy woman in the back of the head? Of course, it has to be the husband, one Vincent LaRussa, an investment counselor, who himself has amassed a fortunate. However, LaRussa seems to have an air tight alibi and with two others visiting his wife beforehand, including her best friend who is also her doctor, and the lawyer her wealthy family had retained for a prenup agreement before the marriage.

As the eyes of guilt seem to focus on Vince, he hires Keera Dugan as his defense attorney, whose father, also a well-known lawyer, has both a fine reputation in law as well as that of being an alcoholic. Everyone is hell bent on seeing Vince brought to trial and the prosecuting attorney, a former boyfriend/paramour of Keera's is on the mission to make her and her client guilty. Interspersed with the courtroom drama, is the online game between Keera and The Dark Knight over a chess game. It mimics the moves so well of the happenings in court as pawns are moved about on the board of life and death. One is certainly be aware of the expertise of the author, Robert Dugoni, a former lawyer himself who so adeptly handled all the courtroom drama and what went on behind the scenes.

The characters, particularly Keera were strong showing a wonderful and sometimes frightening image of courage, determination, and the sly tricks some will play to get back at any adversary. (I do mean you Miller Ambrose, a rat in lawyer's clothing)

My only qualm is how the deadly deed was done as well as some medical issues, but the rest was so good. I tossed those qualms aside.(and yet I couldn't stop thinking about them! )

I have read a fair number of Dugoni's books and have enjoyed them all. He is an accomplished author who never fails to entertain and amaze his readers with a comprehensive story that doesn't require the reader to make quantum leaps.

Thanks are extended to Robert Dugoni, Thomas and Mercer, and NetGalley for this outstanding book that was ever so hard to put aside as my life's duties called. Also thanks to my ever-wonderful reading twin, Jan, and for Dorie for joining us during this book's reading.
Grab yourself a copy of this book due out March 28th, 2023 for you won't be disappointed.
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When it comes to mysteries and thrillers - my favorite category of books - I gravitate first to those with a legal and/or medical theme. Such is the case with this one, which introduces lawyer and grown-up chess prodigy Keera Duggan in her first big case for the family firm. I don't know if she's destined for a series or not, but if so, count me in as one who will be reading.

Actually, Keera is a reluctant addition to the family firm, led by her well-documented alcoholic father and three sisters. But she had little choice; fresh off a soured relationship with a heavy-hitting Seattle prosecuting attorney who's out to destroy her professionally every chance he gets, the only haven for her for now is in the arms of her more-than-a-little dysfunctional family. But then, the firm lands what could be the opportunity of a lifetime: uber-rich financial guru Vince LaRussa, who is accused of murdering his disabled wife Anne. He's got a reasonable alibi, but it's far from airtight; and turns out he's got a honker of a motive. To make matters worse, who do you suppose is the prosecuting attorney?

Constantly bickering with her sisters and concerned that her former top-tier attorney father, Patrick "Patsy" Duggan, will once again fall off the wagon, Keera gets help from likable cop-turned private investigator J.P. Harrison and hones her strategizing with a challenging online game of chess with a mysterious opponent. As she navigates the trial facing a prosecutor whose ethics are suspect and a judge who, let's say, isn't a Patsy fan, Keera digs in her heels deep enough to reach what just may be a very uncomfortable truth.

In particular, I enjoyed the courtroom activity; the chess back-and-forths a little less so, but that's simply because the few games I've actually played mostly made me realize I don't really want to play any more. More often than not, the transition from setting to setting seemed a little disjointed, but overall the story was intriguing enough that it didn't matter much and I'm sure that other fans of the author will be happy as well. As I said early on, I'm hoping this is the start of a series, because I'm looking forward to another one. Many thanks to the publisher, via NetGalley, for allowing me to get in on the action with a pre-release copy to read and review.
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Keera had just ended a bad relationship with Ambrose Miller and at that time she worked in the PA's office. She felt like she did not have a good future with this job. So she asked her father for a job working for him at Patrick Duggan & Associates. She had sworn that she would never work for him. Her father had a drinking problem and needed a lot of help and the whole family always kept an eye on him so she started working for him.

Keera wants to have a better relationship with her Dad. She wants her Dad to have a better reputation. She then ends up getting a big case defending Vince Larusso who is an investment advisor and is accused of murdering his wife who is very wealthy. Larusso is facing life in prison. The prosecutor is Ambrose Miller, Keera's former lover, who wants to destroy her.

Keera also is an excellent chess player and is playing chess with the Dark Knight when she is not in the court room.

I really did enjoy this book. I love legal thrillers. It also is a police procedural. I did not like the chess playing in the book but never liked playing chess. I really loved Keera and her family.
This book gets very shocking and I loved the dramatic ending.

I want to thank Netgalley and Thomas & Mercer for the copy of this book in exchange for a honest review..
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This book is part police procedural, courtroom thriller and family drama.

Keera Dugan is a trial attorney who, because of personal issues, was forced to return to her father’s law firm.  She has a wonderful relationship with her father Patrick Duggan, aka Patsy, famous for his reputation as the winning Irish Brawler in legal circles. 

Lately the law firm has been in trouble due to Patrick, aka Patsy’s alcoholism. Part of the reason for Keera’s return is the hope that she can gain a reputation as a big time defense attorney and restore clients faith in their firm.

From the blurb: Keera’s chance to play in the big leagues comes when she’s retained by Vince LaRussa, an investment adviser accused of murdering his wealthy wife. There’s little hard evidence against him, but considering the couple’s impending and potentially nasty divorce, LaRussa faces life in prison. The prosecutor is equally challenging: Miller Ambrose, Keera’s former lover, who’s eager to destroy her in court on her first homicide defense.

There are so many elements that made this novel completely enthralling to me.

**First we have the complicated case of who killed LaRussa’s wife. The police are hiding something and so is the husband, Vince LaRussa. Keera has to deal with Miller Ambrose who is a cut throat lawyer and wants to win this case to prove he is the best and to also avenge Keera ending their relationship. He will stop at NOTHING to win the case.

**Keera was a child prodigy chess champion who only plays online for fun now. It’s calming to her. Her best opponent is the Dark Knight and she doesn’t know who he is but he helps her apply the strategies of chess to solving this case.

**The family dynamics and character development are top notch. This is a firm run by her father that also includes two of her sisters who work in other aspects of the law.

There are a multitude of characters but they are all well developed and I enjoyed getting to know all of them.

I think character development and wonderful writing is what draws me to all of the books that Durgoni writes. In the author’s notes there is reference to his being an attorney which accounts for all of the great detail during the trial.

If you enjoy a strongly character driven courtroom trial with lots of interesting “moving parts” then I think you will love this one as much as I did.

I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher through NetGalley. It was my pleasure to read and review this title.

This was a buddy read with Jan and Marialyce, be sure to check out their wonderful reviews!
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This is another humdinger from Dugoni. He really knows how to write a gripping tale, and I found this legal thriller – a mix of fierce courtroom encounters and police/PI investigations – really exciting. It had all the right elements – a David versus Goliath trial, loathsome characters you can’t wait to see fail, complex family dynamics and heroes you just have to love.
The title refers to the hunt for wheelchair-bound Anne LaRussa’s killer as well as the courtroom battle between young lawyer, Keera Duggan, and the experienced, ambitious prosecutor, Miller Ambrose. It also references the online chess game Keera plays throughout the trial, which works as a fabulous analogy for the real-life strategies being played out in court. It’s a game within a game, and works really well. 
I loved the trial scenes. Dugoni knows his stuff (he refers to himself as a ‘recovering lawyer’) , and I found them riveting. 
Altogether a cleverly-plotted five-star read for those who love their thrillers clever, interesting and suspenseful, and want characters they feel they fully understand and can root for (or against).
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I have never been disappointed by a book written by Robert Dugoni and Her Deadly Game is no exception. The main character, Keera, has earned a top spot along side Tracy Crosswhite. I like how Keera the lawyer is paralleled with Keera the chess player and the writing just made me feel the two things (lawyering and chess) were similar in strategy although I know nothing about either. In addition, the dysfunctional family aspect was very realistic and highlighted consequences of addiction. 
A very good book and I hope there is more coming for Keera Duggan (and her investigator)
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