top of page


Published By Lake Union Publishing

Publish Date: April 24, 2018

ISBN-10:  1503949003

ISBN: 978-1503949003

382 Pages

The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell

Sam Hill always saw the world through different eyes. Born with red pupils, he was called “Devil Boy” by his classmates; “God’s will” is what his mother called his ocular albinism. Her words were of little comfort, but Sam persevered, buoyed by his mother’s devout faith, his father’s practical wisdom, and his two other misfit friends.

Sam believed it was God who sent Ernie Cantwell, the only African American kid in his class, to be the friend he so desperately needed. And that it was God’s idea for Mickie Kennedy to storm into Our Lady of Mercy like a tornado, uprooting every rule Sam had been taught about boys and girls.

Forty years later, Sam, a small-town eye doctor, is no longer certain anything was by design—especially not the tragedy that caused him to turn his back on his friends, his hometown, and the life he’d always known. Running from the pain, eyes closed, served little purpose. Now, as he looks back on his life, Sam embarks on a journey that will take him halfway around the world. This time, his eyes are wide open—bringing into clear view what changed him, defined him, and made him so afraid, until he can finally see what truly matters.


Sam Hell has been purchased by a producer and the screen play is currently being written by an LA Screenwriter for adaptation into a major motion picture. More to come soon.

Awards and Recognition

• Winner, A Suspense Magazine Crimson Scribe Award

• Semifinalist, Goodreads Choice Award, Historical Fiction

• Amazon Best Book of the Month: Literature & Fiction Category

Some stories are simply special, extraordinary in fact, and Robert Dugoni has given his fans a gift that I fully expect to find on everyone’s ‘Best of’ lists by year end. Seamlessly shifting between the present and past through emotionally-riveting flashbacks and current-day turmoil, Dugoni introduces you to Samuel Hill (aka: Sam Hell). 

     Madeline Hill isn’t daunted when her son, Samuel, is born with red eyes, also known as ocular albinism. Deep down, she always knew that her son was destined for greatness and she’s got enough faith in God to keep Sam headed in the right direction. Honestly, she has enough faith to keep nearly everyone in the small town of Burlingame, California in line as young Sam soon learns.

     She certainly doesn’t run from confrontation when six-year-old Sam is rejected from attending Our Lady of Mercy by the principal, Sister Beatrice. However, his mother has made it clear: Madeline’s son won’t be attending public school. Sam doesn’t fit in at the Catholic elementary, yet finds lifelong allies in others who equally stand out: Ernie Cantwell, the sole black student, and Mickie Kennedy, a girl who defies the norms.

However, even with the help of his very vocal and protective friends, Sam’s adolescence is peppered with instances that cause him to question his faith in everything, especially the greatness from God his mother professed, and he carries that baggage into his adult life. It will take a young girl, in dire need of a hero, to help Sam see that maybe his mother wasn’t so far from the truth.

     Distinctly different in style from Dugoni’s typical fair, “The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell,” is a captivating and poignant journey of strength and the power of finding your true self. Without a doubt, this is Dugoni’s best yet. 

Suspense Magazine

“Dugoni is a superb storyteller"

Boston Globe

“Dugoni has produced a novel that, if it doesn’t cross entirely over into John Irving territory, certainly nestles in close to the border…Told in two separate time lines (Sam as a boy, and Sam as a man) that eventually come together, and written in a gentle, introspective yet dramatic style that is very different from that of Dugoni’s crime fiction, this is an inspirational story of a man who spends a lifetime getting to know himself.”


“Sam Hell is inspiring and aglow with the promise of redemption.” 

Kirkus Reviews

“Dugoni has a gift for creating compelling characters. "

Criminal Element

bottom of page