Sunday, June 30, 2013

Blurting Out the Truth

A work of fiction has to be about something, doesn’t it? And really good books are about a lot of things, some of them heavy social issues. Raymond Chandler’s novels are about crime and corruption in the 1940s in a place he called Bay City, in truth, Santa Monica.

No Dice, my first novel published in 2010, is about crime and corruption in Santa Monica and the attempt by a casino consortium to build a high-rise casino downtown. Please know that it feels presumptuous to put my name on the same page as Raymond Chandler.

However, I write police procedural mysteries to entertain you. I want to provide a few hours of escape from humdrum reality and give you a picture of Santa Monica only a longtime resident and activist could. But let’s have some fun doing it. So I slide in a few snarky comments about social issues as well. I’m sure even Dan Brown and James Peterson think they engage seriously with heavy social issues.

I did the research, actual years of it, to write No Dice, ending about three years ago. I read the newspapers, kept track of certain stories as they developed in California, and set up a Google Alert for casino development issues.

I knew what I was talking about when I wrote the book. Then I was faced with a tough interviewer who notified me he wanted my opinion of new casinos and land use planning, and the ethical issues surrounding gambling. (The term the industry wants you to use by the way is gaming, not gambling.)

I am no expert on casinos. People seem to want to gamble. But I am an expert on Santa Monica.

Like most anxieties that never take shape in a real form neither he nor anyone else has ever asked me a thing about casinos. Not once! My nervousness comes from the unfortunate habit of blurting out the truth when someone asks me a disturbing question because I’m just not quick on my feet. Terrible things have been said in a fit of anxiety.

My dears, I want you to know: this is a trait that doesn’t always serve you well. I know I should never have said that snarky thing about Dan Brown. People will stone me.

Has blurting out the truth ever happened to you?

No Dice is available at at

Mar Preston is also the author of Rip-Off, the second in the series featuring Santa Monica Police Department Homicide Detective Dave Mason is available at

Payback, a third mystery set in a tranquil mountain town in the Sierras is available at


Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Good post, Mar. I'm afraid I've blurted out the truth more times than I'd like to admit.

Morgan Mandel said...

Welcome to our lineup here for the first and third Sundays of the month at Make Mine Mystery, Mar.

I'll blurt out the truth and confess that I love going to the casino way too much. Slots are very addictive. That's why I restrict my visits to vacation only.

Morgan Mandel

Anonymous said...

You obviously love and are passionate about Santa Monica. That always makes a setting more interesting to readers. I've never been there, but maybe I can visit vicarously through your books. Best wishes for continued success.

Lynn Cahoon said...

Welcome Mar - Gaming is a huge issue with the country, mostly due to the lure of quick money. I was sitting on a table with a guy once who's mood finally brightened when he started winning.

He admitted his wife didn't know he was there AND he was playing with the rent money. My heart sank.

Looking forward to getting to know you better. :)

Kaye George said...

Welcome to the blog. It's an awesome group!

I don't tend to blurt out much since I'm mostly Scandinavian, but I'm thinking the thoughts. :)

Mar Preston said...

Thanks for the warm welcome. I had a reading of my new whodunit today in Santa Monica. Big day for this girl, that's for sure.

Kathleen Kaska said...

Once I blurted out a lie; it was a whooper. Years later, I still wonder where that came from. I usually don't do that sort of thing. It was bad; just kind of fun too.