Delmo (Del) Castigliano leaves Madison, Wisconsin and heartbreak behind to start fresh as a homicide detective with the Seattle Police Department. He’s assigned to work his first case with veteran Moss Gunderson who immediately places him as the lead. As Del works the case, he gradually realizes he’s taken on much more than solving two murders.
I agreed to review this gem of a short story before I realized its connection to the author’s Tracy Crosswhite series, which I’m starting as a Goodreads group read in January. Del is a continuing character in that series but this is more like his own private prequel. Yes, it’s short but I got hooked about five minutes in and didn’t stop until I was finished. Now, I’m more than anxious to get started because it ended in such a way that I need more.
This was a delicious little bite and the author as narrator worked just fine. I can’t wait to see how this case impacted Del’s future self. As an appetizer, this went beyond preparing me for the main course.
- Release Date: October 21, 2021
- Series: Tracy Crosswhite #8.5
- Narrator: Robert Dugoni
- Audio Length: 1 hour, 22 minutes
- Publisher: Amazon Original Stories
$20 Amazon Gift Card & Digital Copy of THE LAST LINE by Robert Dugoni
Q & A with Robert Dugoni
From books to movies to television, police procedurals are incredibly popular with audiences. What do you think is the appeal of these stories?
I think the appeal is readers and viewers have good guys to root for and bad guys to root against. Readers also like a good mystery. They like to see if they can solve the crime, determine the bad guy and figure out what he did and how he did it, just like the detectives. It keeps them engaged in and part of the story.
Do you recall the first detective story you ever read or perhaps you have a favorite? What was it about this type of story that made you want to write in the genre?
Years ago, I remember reading Michael Connelly’s The Poet. I don’t know if it was the first detective story I read, probably not, but it was visceral and stuck with me. I do recall reading All The President’s Men when I was in high school, and though Woodward and Bernstein were not detectives, per se, they very much functioned like detectives in that story—finding clues, trying to piece together those clues, and then solve the puzzle. In many ways, that’s what a good detective story is all about: solving a puzzle. I think that is one of the appeals to writers, as well as readers and viewers.
Del Castigliano, the police detective in your newest release The Last Line, has worked in narcotics, arson, sexual assaults, robbery, and now homicide. He has definitely seen the worst that humans have to offer. What keeps him sane and on the job?
For most police officers I’ve spoken with, they do the job knowing that they are keeping people safe—maybe people they know or even love. It’s a tough job and burnout can be a problem. Most detectives have to be mentally tough and can be frequently rotated to help minimize burn out. It’s one of the reasons detectives and uniformed officers, I believe, are underappreciated. It’s a tough job.
Throughout The Last Line, readers get to see Del at his worst—he faces loss, failure, insecurity, loneliness…yet we also respect him. He is honest, hardworking, and clever. How do you see him? If you were to sit down to have a beer with him, what would you talk about?
In The Last Line, I see Del as a guy trying to find his way after life has thrown him a curveball. If we sat down for a beer, I’d ask him if, looking back, he has any regrets, or if time has helped him put life in perspective and he realizes that what he went through as a young man actually helped him to get to a better place in his life.
The Last Line ends in a way that will have readers wanting more. Do you have any future plans for Del and the larger cast?
Very much so. Del is a central character in the Tracy Crosswhite series, and in Tracy #9, What She Found, the story of Del’s first case from The Last Line comes back to Tracy, who is now working a cold case and trying to figure out what happened 24 years ago.
For fans of your bestselling Tracy Crosswhite series, will they feel at home with Del as the lead protagonist? For readers who haven’t discovered Tracy yet, will they be able to dip right in?
Absolutely. The Last Line is a standalone story that predates Tracy arriving at Seattle PD. I’ve had so many readers ask me for more of Del and Faz! Writing The Last Line was an opportunity to dig into how they got started and what shaped them. I have a thought now about Tracy #10 being a cold case that Del and Faz investigated 25 years earlier and telling the story from both time periods leading up to Tracy solving the crime in the present.
What do you have coming up next?
The third book in the Charles Jenkins espionage series, The Silent Sisters, will be published, February 22, 2022, followed by Tracy #9, What She Found, which will be out August 23, 2022. Beyond that, readers can look for a new standalone legal thriller introducing criminal defense attorney Keera Duggan. I’m excited about that novel and working hard to get it finished soon.
About the Author
Robert Dugoni is the critically acclaimed New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Amazon Charts bestselling author of the Tracy Crosswhite series, which has sold more than seven million books worldwide. He is also the author of the bestselling Charles Jenkins series; the bestselling David Sloane series; the stand-alone novels The 7th Canon, Damage Control, The World Played Chess, and The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell, Suspense Magazine’s 2018 Book of the Year, for which Dugoni won an AudioFile Earphones Award for narration; and the nonfiction exposé The Cyanide Canary, a Washington Post best book of the year. He is the recipient of the Nancy Pearl Book Award for fiction and a three-time winner of the Friends of Mystery Spotted Owl Award for best novel set in the Pacific Northwest. He is a two-time finalist for the Thriller Awards and the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction, as well as a finalist for the Silver Falchion Award for mystery and the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Awards. His books are sold in more than twenty-five countries and have been translated into more than two dozen languages.
(Thanks to Brilliance Audio for my complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.)