Why a Celebrity Crime Novel?

Nov 17, 2021 | 2021 Articles, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Mar Preston

By Accident may be my last police procedural crime novel set in Southern California. Moving back home to Canada, specifically Ottawa, Ontario, I can’t hear the shush of the ocean waves on Santa Monica Beach any longer, or the buzz of traffic on Wilshire Boulevard, or the crowds on the Pier.

Research for past novels included reading Chechen and Turkish newspapers in English for years to get the characters and situations right. Research for By Accident meant watching entertainment TV, reading People and Us magazines while I waited for my hairstyling appointment or scanning the tabloids in line at the supermarket. Writing this novel, I knew who was doing what to whom and how.

Who isn’t interested in celebrities — even if they won’t admit it? Reading about sports figures, the royals, and music stars gives the illusion they are our friends, weird as we know that is.

Detective Mason who is the lead investigator in By Accident has had a crush on Poppy Sinclair since he was a teenager. Every man in America wants to be her husband, the action hero. Yet, Mason knows they are the ones who buried that body in the construction site next door. Ah, but to prove it. Haven’t you watched a smug celebrity stroll out of the courtroom smirking at the cops?

The celebrity couple pull in the Hollywood Fixer, certain they can make Mason go away. They barricade themselves in their estate with their six-year-old twins and livestream pleas to their fans, telling them to storm the house and rescue them from the Santa Monica police. Here is a display of the power of social media.

Mar and her dog Prius

It’s a star-spangled, social-media catastrophe starring warring spouses. To keep them and their family safe from adoring fans, a well-paid security apparatus and household staff surround the couple. They are no heroes to the people who know them well. Mason must not only deal with this dysfunctional movie star family, but issues that arise in his own family as well. Why has his father come from Grand Rapids, Michigan, to move in with him? What legal issue will his mother not talk about? What did his father do?

Justice of a sort prevails, but not before detective Mason and his social justice warrior girlfriend get dragged down a dirty trail of power, privilege, and perversion.

Santa Monica, California, is home to the homeless, a city of haves and have nots, ripe for dirty politicians, psychopathic homeowners, car thieves, and celebrity troublemakers. A rich liberal city on the shoreline of Los Angeles, the police department, and Detective Dave Mason, are beleaguered by more than its share of social issues, master criminals with high stakes robberies and murder. He is frequently at odds with his activist girlfriend and department politics.

You can get away with almost anything if you’re rich, beautiful, and famous in Santa Monica. Once in a blue moon, a good-guy cop gets to say no. Not this time.

By Accident Winner 3rd place, 2018 Best fiction (Book) from Public Service Writers Association
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Mar Preston is the author of seven police thrillers and whodunits, and winner of multiple awards. Whatever experience and wisdom she gained in writing crime fiction is distilled into a series of six writing craft books. All her books are enrolled in Kindle Unlimited and priced to sell. In 2019, she upended a fifty-year hiatus in California, and returned to her roots in Ottawa, Canada.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


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