Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Book Tour & Giveaway: The Berman Murders: Unraveling the Mojave Desert's Most Mysterious Unsolved Crime by Doug Kari

The Berman Murders
Unraveling the Mojave Desert's Most Mysterious Unsolved Crime
Doug Kari

True Crime
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
Publication Date: March 5, 2024
Page count: 258 pages




At daybreak on January 6, 1986, a couple on a camping trip in the Mojave Desert set out for a stroll and never returned. The local sheriff’s office eventually discovered that Barry and Louise Berman had been murdered. As years passed and the double homicide remained unsolved, the Berman case spawned speculation and conjecture. Despite extensive investigation by local and federal authorities, to date there’s never been an arrest made in the case – let alone a conviction. But this doesn’t mean the crime is unsolvable.

After years of investigation, research, and interviews, Kari was able to link the Berman murders to a Cambodian sex crimes and trafficking case involving a former Marine. This is the first book to tell the full story of the Berman murders and uncover the likely suspect.




5 stars!

Suspense-filled and well-presented research into the long-unsolved murders of Barry and Louise Berman. 

The Berman Murders is the well-presented culmination of years of research by attorney and investigative journalist Doug Kari into the long-unsolved murders of husband and wife Barry and Louise Berman. Kari sets out a strong and convincing scenario, with a myriad of supporting details that his investigation uncovered, compiled, and connected, of what happened to the Bermans, who went missing in January 1986; their desiccated remains discovered hidden in the desert, almost three years later.

The author does a great job introducing and building a clear picture of the victims, witnesses, and suspects, including their mindsets at the time of the fateful trip to Saline Valley. I liked how the author compared the Bermans’ drive to their final destination to their lives passing before their eyes, seeing many familiar landmarks representing important events in their lives as they traveled.

Kari creates a vivid picture of the Saline Valley and the hot springs where the couple headed for their second honeymoon, emphasizing its utter remoteness and lack of people in the area. There are few eyes to witness what occurs there and fewer options for possible suspects in the Bermans’ murders.

The narrative follows the investigations of the couple’s disappearance and the tense, desperate search and rescue operations. However, he also points out the missteps in the initial and follow-up responses by law enforcement that may have impacted the resolution of the case. The author’s storytelling made these events feel recent and as fresh as if they had happened yesterday rather than almost 40 years ago. Incredibly, the story takes a bizarre turn. The number one suspect is eventually indicted for heinous crimes unrelated to the Bermans. The final trial for those charges only concluded two years ago, 36 years after the couple’s disappearance.

I recommend THE BERMAN MURDERS to true crime readers.



From The Berman Murders - About the Author:

Doug Kari is an investigative journalist and attorney who focuses on true crime. Besides writing about the Berman case, Doug has covered stories ranging from the cartel’s slaughter of Mormon moms and children in Mexico, to the baffling disappearance of a teenage girl from alongside a rural highway in eastern California. His articles have been featured in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, LA Weekly, San Diego Union-Tribune, the LA Times, and many other outlets.

While majoring in English at UC Berkeley, Doug studied creative writing under Leonard Michaels (Sylvia, The Men’s Club). After graduating magna cum laude from UC Law SF, Doug spent seventeen years as a litigation attorney for Orrick, an international law firm, and then became chief legal officer of Arbitech, a technology company.

An avid outdoorsman, Doug cofounded the conservation group Desert Survivors. As chronicled in Frank Wheat’s book California Desert Miracle, Doug took a lead role in fighting to protect the remote wilderness where the Bermans disappeared. 

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Author Doug Kari will award a randomly drawn winner a $25 Amazon GC.

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