The Siegel Dispositions, by David E. Grogan: An ex-Navy JAG Oversees a Deadly Legacy

siegel_dispositionsAn heiress gets richer as others die, but who’s behind the killings? Ex-Navy JAG Steve Stilwell has to find out quickly, or he’s next.

The Siegel Dispositions ($15.95, 298 pages, ISBN: 978-1-60381-981-7), by debut author David E. Grogan, is book one of a new detective series featuring retired Navy-JAG officer and Williamsburg, VA, attorney Steve Stilwell. In The Siegel Dispositions, Steve draws up a last will and testament for a client, little knowing it will be linked to several murders and perhaps even his own demise.

“Well-researched and fast-moving, The Siegel Dispositions tackles hate crimes, history, legacy and the ever-mysterious bonds of family. Steve Stilwell, lawyer/detective, is a straight-shooter with years of military experience, raw intelligence and a knack for attracting clients with a story. Watch out CSI!”
—Kathleen Jabs, author of Black Wings

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“A fast-paced thriller with lots of twists and a refreshing moral center. Our hero Steve Stilwell is excellent company.”
—Vaughn Sherman, author of Sasha Plotkin’s Deceit

“It’s rare that a first novel will be compelling enough to immediately draw in a reader and refuse to let go…. In The Siegel Dispositions, David Grogan has produced a stem-winding, magnetic barnburner in his very first novel out of the chute…. A masterful work for anyone who loves a great legal mystery.” —Don Brown, bestselling author of The Navy Justice Series, The Pacific Rim Series, and the Navy JAG Series

On September 30, 1997, in Düsseldorf, Germany, an old Jewish man named Emil Weisentrope is shot dead. That same day in Williamsburg, Virginia, Steve Stilwell hangs out his shingle after serving 22 years as a Navy “JAG.” Steve’s first assignment as a civilian attorney is to update the will of a 70-year-old Auschwitz survivor, Professor Felix Siegel. Accompanying the professor is his beautiful but surly adopted daughter, Michelle. Michelle will inherit, but there’s a catch. The first $1.5 million of Siegel’s fortune goes to three wartime friends … if they survive him. If they don’t, their shares belong to Michelle.

After Professor Siegel’s untimely and violent death, Steve begins his search for the beneficiaries, only to learn that two—including Emil Weisentrope—have already died under suspicious circumstances. Although the German police investigating the Weisentrope case are convinced Michelle is behind the killings, Steve needs to be sure. Determined to find the connection between the Siegel dispositions and the murders, he begins a frantic search for answers. His own life and that of the final beneficiary hang in the balance as he struggles to stay ahead of a cold-blooded and elusive killer.

Says Grogan, “I took a class in human rights at The George Washington University Law School, taught by Professor Thomas Buergenthal, a world-renowned expert on human rights. One night, while surfing the Internet at home to learn more about my mentor and his field, I stumbled across a website that gave me the idea for The Siegel Dispositions. I love writing, but I want my writing not only to entertain but also to make a difference by promoting awareness of the importance of protecting human rights worldwide.”

David E. Grogan was born in Rome, New York, and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. A certified public accountant and an attorney with a master’s degree in International Law, Grogan served on active duty in the U.S. Navy for over 26 years as a Navy Judge Advocate. His experiences abroad and during the course of his career influence every aspect of his writing. Grogan currently resides with his wife in Virginia. They have three children. Click here to find Grogan online.

Keep reading for an excerpt:

“I take it you’d like to have your new will done before you leave?”

“I’d like to sign it Friday, at the latest. You can never tell about Israel. I want to make sure my affairs are in order before I go.” Then he laughed and added, “Signing it will be my best insurance against anything happening. Now, if I don’t sign, something will happen for sure.”

“Friday it is then. How about 2:30?” Steve had no idea how he would get the will finished by then. There was no way he was going to do a multi-million dollar estate without his boss’ supervision. There was also no way he was going to let his first client slip away without helping him. He would just have to find a way.

“That’ll work just fine,” the professor said. “Now, what about the money? I suppose this isn’t free.”

“I always save the bad news for last.” Steve shuffled some papers on his desk, looking for the fee agreement Marjorie gave him. As he picked it up and prepared to hand it to Professor Siegel, Michelle opened the office door.

“Will you be much longer, Father?” Michelle glared at Steve as she spoke. Steve glared back and went on the offensive by addressing her question.

“We’re just about finished here. I’d guess no more than five minutes.”

Michelle didn’t retreat into the lobby; instead, she stood by the door, holding it open with her arm.

“Mr. Stilwell, I have no objection to my daughter joining us now.”

“That’s fine,” Steve said, breaking off his staring contest with Michelle. “Please, Michelle, come over and sit down with us.” Michelle did just that and immediately resumed her gaze out the window. After the eavesdropping incident on the intercom, though, Steve knew her disinterest was only a ruse. He wondered how a woman that beautiful could be so socially bankrupt, but managed to return his focus to his discussion with Professor Siegel before his opinion of Michelle became too much of a distraction.

“I’m sorry, Professor, we were going over my fees, weren’t we? Normally my fee for preparing your will would be based in part on the amount your estate. Given the nature of your will, though, I’ll limit it to $1,000. If I serve as executor, I’ll charge your estate a full three percent. That, of course, isn’t payable now, but I want to make sure you understand that if I’m the executor, your estate will be billed for my services.” When Steve mentioned that he might serve as executor, he saw Michelle briefly shift her eyes toward her father. She said nothing, though, and soon returned to gazing out the window.

“I understand,” Professor Siegel acknowledged. “It sounds reasonable.”

Michelle broke her silence. “It sounds outrageous.”

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