Meeting Doug Kari, Author of The Berman Murders

We’re diving into a conversation with the adventurous Doug Kari, a true-crime investigator who doesn’t just stick to the archives. Whether he’s laying in a shallow grave to connect with past tragedies, uncovering clues in Death Valley’s expanses, or navigating Mexico’s tough terrains to tell the stories of migrant refugees, Doug’s method is anything but conventional. Join us as we uncover the stories and motivations of this unique explorer and writer as his new book, The Berman Murders.

If your book was turned into a film/TV show, who would you tap to play the lead(s)? Why? 

Having my book The Berman Murders turned into a film isn’t something I dream about. But if I had to cast the leads, I’d pick Jesse Eisenberg and Jessica Chastain as the victims Barry & Louise Berman; Shia LaBeouf as the suspect Michael Pepe; and Bradley Cooper as the dogged deputy Leon Boyer. Their looks and vibes would fit the parts. 

What is the core message you want to deliver to the world through your writing/books/stories?

That sometimes – maybe even most of the time? – justice prevails. 

 What makes your book unputdownable? 

Because the plot twists are fantastical, yet real. 

 When did you decide to write this story and why? 

The case came calling on me in 2014. I was at my desk, thinking about Saline Valley, and how I’d like to write a story in that extraordinary setting. At that precise moment, a bird landed on the window screen, only a couple of feet away, gripping the mesh. As the bird stared in at me, I thought of Barry and Louise, who’d disappeared in Saline Valley many years earlier. 

What is something you learned while writing this book? 

That there are people in this world – Barry Berman being one of them – who have genuine disregard for wealth and its trappings. 

What has been your favorite comment/review so far about your book? 

Publisher’s Weekly called the book “a stirring account of [a] nine-year quest to crack an unsolved double murder in California’s Mojave Desert.” 

 If you were given a one-minute ad slot during the Super Bowl, what would you fill it with?  

 Video (G-rated, of course) of the clothing-optional hot springs in Saline Valley – there’s nowhere like it. 

 What would be your superpower?   

The ability to absorb and process information like a super-computer, but with human emotions and sensibilities. 

 If you had 3 wishes, what would you wish for? 

I wish for outcomes that perhaps I can help achieve, such as: justice for the victims in the cases I write about; meaningful lives for my children; positive outcomes for the people to whom I provide legal advice. 

What is your dream vacation?   

A lonely desert wherein lies a gripping tale of love, adventure, murder, and justice. 

 Rapid Fire Questions 

  1. Long walk or long car ride?
  2. A long walk to saturate my brain with oxygen.


  1. Comedy or Drama?
  2. Drama of course – after all, I’m a true-crime writer.


  1. The city or the country?
  2. The country because I scour the deserts of California and Nevada for stories to tell.


  1. Baking or Cooking?
  2. The elusive quest to bake the perfect loaf of sourdough bread.


  1. Margarita or Cosmo?
  2. A. Margarita, because I became friends with Roy Parodi, the husband of Margarita Henkel, who was the daughter of the German ambassador to Mexico. Roy and Margarita owned Hamilton Ranch, a large guest ranch near Ensenada. In October 1941, Roy and Margarita walked into to Hussong’s Cantina in Ensenada. In honor of his VIP guests, the bartender, Don Carlos Orozco, named his new drink after Margarita. Noe: After Roy passed away, his family gifted me some of his vintage clothing, including an embroidered tuxedo that I still wear on special occasions.


  1. Holding a Puppy or Holding a Baby?
  2. A puppy – I’m head-over-heels in love with dogs.


  1. invisibility cloak or sparkling skin?
  2. Invisibility assuming my pad and pen are invisible too, so I can jot notes about what I’m seeing.


  1. Coffee or tea?
  2. Coffee, strong, at least twice a day.


  1. Dinosaurs or princesses? 
  2. Princesses abound, but dinosaurs in real life would be cool.


  1. Laptop or phone?
  2. Phone for photos, laptop for writing.

Make sure to check out The Berman Murders. For another author interview, click here.