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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

If You Think This Only Happens in Saudi Arabia, You’re Wrong

This book has created a buzz because it’s an untouchable topic
What is this? 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 Muslim 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?
Detective Dave Mason is outraged to have to fight his own department
  • A car arson fire ignites a firestorm of controversy
  • The community rises up against the police department
  • Even his skeptical girlfriend thinks he’s wrong
  • Mason knows where the answer lies
  • But he's stymied
˃˃˃ And the clock is ticking
Police procedural, Dave Mason, Santa Monica, honor killing, Kurds, Turks, Santa Monica College, car arson, thriller, police, Los Angeles, hate crime, domestic abuse, Hollywood.

Book Readers Review
On Behalf of the Family is a story of police procedure and a vicious crime set in Santa Monica, California.  The plot begins with the murder of and the mystery surrounding a young Kurdish girl.  Detective Mason is called out to a car arson death at the College. The victim is a teenage, rich Turkish girl, Yasemin Safak.  Yasemin lives with her large family in the high-end real estate part of Santa Monica.  Her family is rigid in maintaining their ancestral traditions which leads to many kinds of complications in the investigation. The Police are trying to do it ‘by the book’ to solve the crime.  Mason is up against cultural differences, beset by the media, and under pressure to solve this crime in a hurry without political blow back.

The characters come alive in this story with the addition of interesting personal asides into their lives.  Mar Preston has crafted the characters and subject matter with good research and background.  Detective Dave Mason, the main character is likeable and keeps the reader pulling for him. His love Ginger, has a small part in the story but you cannot help wondering if the romance will bloom.  There are many of characters to keep track of, but Mar’s ability to bring to life with great description helps the reader keep track. Mar's writing is captivating and free of clichés.

Make sure you have lots of time to read.  This book is a fast read and you will not want to put it down for another day.  I highly recommend ‘On Behalf of the Family’ and give a big five star rating.  I will definitely search for more books by Mar Preston for my reading review list.  Thank you Mar for the opportunity.

 About Author

Payback, the debut of a second series, features a Kern County Sheriff’s Detective and takes place in a village somewhat like where she lives. She is a co-founder of the local SPCA, a network of low-power radio stations, and picks up road kill for her wildlife rehab buddies to feed the big raptors. 


 Welcome to my blog Mar.  Please tell me and my readers about you new book and work?

Tell us about your latest work—title, genre, etc. — and why you wrote it?
It’s my attempt to understand honor killings. It’s a mysterious element of a foreign—to me—culture. I truly think that people are the same everywhere at heart. But I just couldn’t understand how it could happen. I understand a little better now. Not every Muslim man is a black-hearted villain by any means.
What draws you to your genre(s)? Why is this type of story compelling to you?
I read about the investigative problems of honor killings in America, and yes, they happen here too. We call them hate crimes or even domestic abuse. Again, it’s my attempt to burrow into an unimaginable happening and ravel it backwards. I learned not to think of it as evil. Evil does fascinate me, I must admit. My books are not especially dark. People says there’s a lot of things in them that make them laugh.
What is your writing process like? Do you map the whole thing out or do you just let it unfold?
I’m a little of both. Sometimes the idea is so urgent I just race into it headlong. After 5 crime novels I’m more patient, so I outline first and write pages and pages of character description. This way you avoid blind alleys and running face first into walls.
What kind of research was involved?
I read middle-eastern newspapers in English for years first, account after account of honor killings. Some were Indonesian, Pakistani, British, and Scandinavian. I read until I came up with a story and a family that represented all the elements. And then I put it in a setting that I know so well, upscale, glitzy Santa Monica. How could such a terrible thing happen there?
How much of YOU makes it into your characters?
After five novels Detective Dave Mason is me in some ways. Somehow I manage to get him interested in things that interest me, like animal rescue and dancing the tango. But I’ve never had daydreams about being an actual homicide detective. Eeeuw. All that blood and gore.
How do you balance the need to have time to write with the needs of family, society, etc.?
Being a childless, parentless, sibling-less old widow certainly helps. I do have a helium-filled right hand that floats up in the air at every good cause volunteer opportunity however.
Have there been any authors in particular, that inspired your writing?
John Sanford, Ian Rankin, J.A. Jance. Someone told me I looked like her.
Is there a story you want to tell behind or about your work(s)?
My husband died four days after we retired from Santa Monica and moved to our dream home in a mountain village in Central California. I had to find a way to fill long, empty hours p.d.q. Writing and researching police procedurals propelled me into a new life and into new worlds I had never imagined.
What other projects are you currently working on or about to start?
Just started the second book of a mystery series set in the village where I now live. I assure you though that only nice people live here. Just yesterday I sent a new manuscript to my editor titled “A Very Private High School.”
Could you share some of your marketing strategies?  Which ones are the most effective in your opinion?
I just don’t know. I think one is better than another and suddenly it stops working. I’m on Facebook a lot because I spend so much time alone and I enjoy it. Does social media sell books?  Maybe. You must steel yourself to paying for “marketing.”
What would be the top five, (or 3 or 1 or however many) things you would tell aspiring authors?
Apply seat of pants to chair for long periods of time. Don’t be in a rush to publish. Hire the best editor and proofreader(s) you can afford.
Again, thanks for taking the time to share your knowledge with us. We appreciate you and your work.
Mar Preston
Author of No Dice, Rip-Off, Payback & On Behalf of the Family
YesMarPreston Twitter

 It was so little to ask of him. And Dave Mason knew it.
            He and Ginger had been arguing about the dancing lessons ever since he got to her place. She didn’t want to do extremist hikes, hockey games, or dirt bike riding. Ginger insisted they had to plan some fun.
Pacing around her small, rent-controlled apartment, in desperation Dave suggested they do LA walking tours or wine tastings. No. Ginger continued unloading the dishwasher, smashing mugs and plates up on the shelves, her back to him.
She turned to face him. He saw her mind made up. She squared her shoulders, and pushed her fists deeper into the pockets of the black skinny jeans she wore with a red camisole top. He saw ultimatum in her indigo blue eyes. Gone were the after effects of fear that had dogged her after being attacked and nearly killed. She was back to herself now and she knew who she was and that she had a lot to offer.
            His phone rang and he leaped to answer it. He stood a moment listening and then faced her.
Her arms crossed, Ginger blocked the doorway as he threw on his suit jacket, grabbed his cellphone, and prepared to leave. “Dammit, Dave.”
            “I have to go,” he said, thundering down the stairs. He caught sight of himself in the mirrored lobby as he fled out onto the street, a tall guy in his thirties with a guilty look on his face.
He crossed the street and got into his Jeep, glancing into the back seat to make sure he had his murder kit. He looked up to see her standing in the window, the honey-blonde do-gooder he loved helplessly. She saw him watching her and gave him a shrug.
            His excuse this time was a homicide at Santa Monica College.

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