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Collateral Damage (Matt Royal Mysteries, No. 6) (Matt Royal Mystery) Hardcover – December 5, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Matt Royal, a fiftysomething retired lawyer living in Florida, jumps in with both feet when an old army buddy (they served together in Vietnam) asks him to find out who murdered his son. But what do the apparently unrelated deaths of some people on board a cruise boat have to do with the case? Not to mention another murder, way off in North Dakota. Matt is an easygoing narrator; he tries to keep his lifestyle laid back, to match that of the Florida beach community where he lives, but it’s tricky when his old instincts kick in, and he’s back in crime-solving mode. Comparisons to John D. MacDonald’s Travis McGee novels are natural, but it’s worth noting that the Matt Royal novels also fit comfortably on the shelf among the thrillers of Lescroart, Margolin, and Grippando. --David Pitt

About the Author

H. Terrell Griffin is the award winning author of seven Matt Royal mysteries set on Florida's Suncoast. Prior to succumbing to his lifelong yen to write, he earned degrees in history and law from Mercer University and was a board certified civil trial lawyer based in Orlando for thirty-eight years. In his youth, Terry served three years in the U.S. Army, much of it as a medic in an Armored Cavalry regiment on the East German border.

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Product Details

  • Series: Matt Royal Mystery (Book 6)
  • Hardcover: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Oceanview Publishing; 1 edition (December 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1608090264
  • ISBN-13: 978-1608090266
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (375 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,506,743 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

I grew up in Waycross, Georgia and Sanford, Florida, and enlisted in the U.S. Army when I was seventeen years old. After three years of active duty, most of it in Europe, I began my studies at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, and received degrees in history and law. I became a board certified trial lawyer and practiced law in Orlando, Florida for thirty-eight years. I wrote my first book, "Longboat Blues," the first of the Matt Royal series, in 2005. Since then, six more books in the series have been published, and the eighth one, "Found," will be released on November 13, 2013. I have just finished my ninth book, "The Assassin's Game," which is not part of the Matt Royal series, but introduces another protagonist named Ethan Fitzgerald.

I'm married to the former Jean Higgins of Macon, Georgia, and we have three sons and two grandchildren. We live in Maitland, a suburb of Orlando, and Longboat Key, Florida, where the Matt Royal series takes place. I invite you to visit my website at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 36 people found the following review helpful By TChris TOP 500 REVIEWER on November 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Trouble surrounds Matt Royal despite his residence in paradise. It seems that Florida's Longboat Key isn't paradisiacal for everyone. A young man is shot by a sniper while he's walking on the beach near the Hilton, just a day after his wedding. Then a dinner boat runs aground after nearly colliding with Royal's boat. Then the bodies of two more murder victims are discovered, both of whom had been passengers on the dinner boat. When a town resident is killed, it looks like a serial killer has invaded paradise. The killings aren't connected in any obvious way, leaving Royal's friend, Detective J.D. Duncan, without any obvious hope of solving the crimes. Then a former soldier from Royal's past shows up, the father of one of the victims, and Royal joins the search for the elusive killer. Every now and then another death occurs, leaving the reader, like Royal, to puzzle out the connection that links the murders.

Some aspects of the plot are hard to accept. Royal is a retired lawyer. The victim's father wants Royal to start a lawsuit -- against whom, he's not sure -- to help gather information against the murderer of his son. I found it difficult to believe that the police would willingly hand over their investigative file to him; giving open files concerning recent unsolved murders to private lawyers just isn't done. If you can suspend your disbelief in that regard, however, the story that follows is entertaining. It isn't particularly credible but that's standard for a thriller, and it's not much more difficult to believe than some newspaper stories.

The need to suspend disbelief isn't limited to the plot.
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34 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Ethan on June 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Matt Royal attracts trouble. No matter what he is doing, the retired lawyer always seems to find himself in intriguing and life-threatening situations. In Collateral Damage, the latest installment in author H. Terrell Griffins series, Matt Royal, once again, finds himself in the middle of a murder investigation and a conspiracy that could date all the way back the Vietnam War.

Longboat Key, Florida is a quiet coastal town that sees little excitement outside of the tourist season. When a young groom is shot while running along the beach, the town is shaken. That same evening, while fishing with his good friend Logan, Matt witnesses strange events on a dinner cruise boat, sailing by them, that leads to two other deaths. When he receives an unexpected contact from an old war buddy, whose son happened to be the young murdered groom, Matt promises to help investigates the murder, and searches for a connection between the shooting and the mysterious murders aboard the cruise.

As in the previous novel, the supporting characters help to keep the plot moving. Matt's best friend, Jock Algren, works for a secretive government agency that gives him practically unlimited resources to assist in the investigation. This James Bond like character, while highly unbelievable, works well within the world of the novel, and allows for an easy way for Matt to have some credibility as an investigator. The love interest, Longboat P.D. Detective J.D. Duncan, is written with a subtle touch, allowing the budding relationship to simmer throughout the novel, without falling into the stereotypes of most thriller love elements.

Griffin's love for the place and people of Florida permeates the novel, providing the fictional world with some much-needed reality. While the plot becomes a bit hard to follow at times, the story resolved nicely. This novel is a fun, escapist type read, that is sure to provide fans of mystery thriller novels with a great time.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Litwormie on March 16, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Everything in the novel (the plot, characters, setting) is bogged down by simplistic sentences: "I'd left Jock....He was working....He was calling....I drove back....I typed my notes....." Leaves much to be desired in expression complexity which is needed to create rich characters, realistic action, and well-drawn plot lines. Repetitiveness is also an issue. How many times does it need to be pointed out that Floridians don't move too much outside in the summer and the tourists come in the winter? Didn't even get halfway through it before deciding I could get more intellectual stimulation from watching birds.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Island Gal on June 15, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Collateral Damage was a great read. It was my first H. Terrell Griffin book and was a good purchase. I just ordered a second book in the Matt Royal Mystery series yesterday and looking forward to reading it as well.

I have always enjoyed an intriguing mystery/thriller with a bit of detective and attorney story lines weaving throughout, and this novel did not disappoint. The characters were well created and the story kept me guessing to the end. It also moves around the Southeast with excellent descriptions of the cities, history, and sights. I actually learned quite a bit about the South Florida area and the Bahamas. Terrific writing!

There is a little typo at the end of chapter sixty six. At one point Jock is called Jack. It actually made me back up a few pages to see if I missed a character. Might want to correct this. :o)

I would highly recommend this book.
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