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Over the years, there have been a few authors that have been in my reliable column: back in the 80s, Robert B. Parker’s Spenser series was among the first. Then, Elizabeth George’s Lynley series (although there were some bumps along the road). More recently, Robert Crais and his Elvis Cole-Joe Pike books. And I just realized after reading two books by Robert Dugoni recently that he is firmly in that camp.

I first read My Sister’s Grave (#1 in the Tracy Crosswhite series, followed by Her Final Breath, and In the Clearing, which I recently read and reviewed), and loved the protagonist and the way the story gripped me from start to finish. Now I have found a new Dugoni protagonist in Peter Donley, the young attorney in The 7th Canon.

While Tracy Crosswhite spends her time in Seattle, working as a detective, Donley is an attorney in San Francisco. This story opens in a crappy part of the City known as the Tenderloin, where a young street hustler is found murdered in a homeless shelter for young males run by a dedicated priest, Father Thomas Martin. I confess at first I had some trepidation about whether this was going to go in the pedophile priest direction…but I kept reading. Along the way, there is evidence that Father Martin is guilty of the murder, as well as other creepy things, but Peter Donley believes in his innocence and the legal wrangling begins.

Donley is an interesting character who has worked for the first three years of his legal career in a low-rent law firm where his uncle has carved out a living putting people over profit for decades. While Peter admires the intent, and also admires Father Martin’s dedication, he is just about to leap at a position at a cushy firm where he can stop worrying about money when the murder case involving the priest and the homeless boy lands in his lap. The story includes a ruthless DA and a brutal homicide detective, both of whom make Peter’s challenge even greater. Oh, and to add to it all, his uncle lands in the hospital so Peter is on his own handling his first murder case.

It was a fun read, and I’m glad I stuck with it. I confess I set it aside in favor of others in my TBR pile before I finally got into it…but am now firmly in the pro-Dugoni camp. And I realize I have some new titles to add to that TBR pile, as I have only read one of Dugoni’s David Sloane series, including The Jury Master, Wrongful Death, Bodily Harm, Murder One, and The Conviction).

I appreciate Thomas & Mercer (publishers) and NetGalley for providing a copy in exchange for my review…and I promise to jump QUICKLY on the next Dugoni book that crosses my path! Four and a half stars…