I grew up in northern Ontario and love its lakes and forests. But I lived in Santa Monica for decades watching big money, land development, and politics clash. Getting a good murder mystery novel out of what goes on behind the scenes in grassroots politics, glitzy businesses, and developer skullduggery makes all those dreary Santa Monica city council meetings worthwhile.
I live now in a village in the California mountains, not that far from the edge of the Los Angeles sprawl. There’s too much to do here: I’m writing crime fiction seriously, but I can’t get away from the SPCA, local environmental politics, and the writing community.
Life is good.
Publisher: Pertinacity Press/Createspace
No Dice is the first in the Dave Mason series. No Dice is set in Santa Monica, California where a gaming goliath is trying to steamroller local opposition to building a glitzy casino complex on the shoreline. A real whodunit confronts Santa Monica police detective Dave Mason when a crucial city councilwoman is murdered on the eve of the vote bringing the gaming consortium another step closer.
The dance between politics, money, and big ideas that change the landscape draw Mason in, taking his attention away from his daughter’s bullying, and acknowledging finally that his wife is serious about a divorce. He struggles against his attraction toward the witness, a scared cop hater he’s trying to protect.
The leader of the opposition forces, an ally of the councilwoman, must prove her innocence in a murder she didn’t commit. She must also live with the knowledge that the real killer–probably someone she knows–is hunting her, fearing she could identify him.
She can’t run. She can’t hide because she’s running the election campaign to fight off the casino consortium. The police can’t protect her, nor can her brother and father, both Sheriff’s Department deputies. Mason struggles to keep his mind on this baffling case with way too many suspects with no alibis, while his own life unravels, and the activist he’s trying to protect keeps interfering, turning up legitimate leads of her own.
The focus of the investigation lands on the money people: real estate developers, PR flacks, the hotels, the politicians and their dark shenanigans. An explosive secret boils up from Santa Monica’s seamy past that the casino interests cannot suppress. It’s then a down-to-the minute challenge for Mason to stop the killer before he strikes through the flimsy curtain of protection surrounding his witness.
Billions of dollars in profit can turn the nicest people ugly. No Dice shows how grassroots organizations and smart, conniving women sometimes win local contests against powerful moneyed opponents.
Rip-Off is the second in the Dave Mason series. Both are set in Santa Monica, California and feature Detective Dave Mason of the Santa Monica Police Department and his community activist girlfriend Ginger McNair.
Payback is the debut novel featuring Kern County Homicide Detective Dex Stafford and Security Officer Holly Seabright, investigating how big city crime comes to Sierra Mountain Village.
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On Behalf of the Family was published February 2014
Is it a hate crime? Domestic abuse, honor killing, or what? A car arson fire claims the life of a beautiful young girl, a rich Turkish student at Santa Monica College. Detective Dave Mason of the Santa Monica Police Department must break through the family’s silent conspiracy surrounding her vicious murder. He is handicapped by fact that the eleven members of her family who share the mansion in the high-end real estate section of Santa Monica do not speak English. Or so they say.
The city is in turmoil, accusing the department of racism and worse. Mason makes a promise to a girl he never met that he will bring her justice; yet, he is drawn away from the turbulent investigation with a promise to the love of his life. Can he keep his promises to both of them when political blow back and an escalating demand for answers threaten every step he takes?