Me and Raymond Chandler

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.

Mar Preston | No Dice - isbn: 0984495207, best reviews Myy first novel, No Dice,  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. I want you to know  it feels presumptuous to put my name on the same page as Raymond Chandler.

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 research, years of it, to write No Dice. I read the newspapers, kept track of  stories  in California, and set up a Google Alert on 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.

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.

No Dice is a pretty good book.  You can find it here:

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