Posted by: irenesroth | September 13, 2012

Book Review: Rip-Off, By Mar Preston

Rip-Off begins with a double crime which involves Robbery, Homicide Department of the Santa Monica Police Department on a wild chase involving extreme danger. A burglar’s body is found in an upscale condominium in Santa Monica and Detective Dave Mason is assigned to investigate this. Also, in an apartment not far away, a robbery takes place in which jewelry, bombs, a quantity of drugs and a flash drive are stolen from a beautiful Russian woman.

Are the two crimes related? Where will the investigation led Dave and his detectives?  Their complicated and dangerous investigation leads then into the violent world of organized crime in the Los Angeles area, one of the interesting aspects of the novel, and the danger which gave it most of its punch. As one of the character in the novel remarks, “We’re regretting the point that we have a large elephant called organized crime standing in the middle of the kitchen and people are keeping their eyes shut.” Mar Preston’s novel helps to bring this issue into focus.

However, Rip-Off is a crime novel with a fast-paced and involving lot. Dave must survive in this dangerous world, solve the puzzles of the initial crimes and maintain a personal love relationship at the same time. Now that is really hard to do unless you are able to draw boundaries around your professional and personal life.

Mar demonstrates a wonderful knowledge of police procedure and a fine sense of character. Her fictional characters are much like real people: with the same individual foibles and the kinds of problems that we all face.  Mar’s dialogue is witty and spicy, filling in the details with wonderful comments and anecdotes throughout the book. Further, Mar’s urgent, punchy style of writing, her unusual and shaky comparison, and her fast-paced plotting will hold the reader’s attention from the beginning of the book to the end.

The plot never wavers, developing a series of surprising threads all related to the murder and robbery which begin the novel. I was very worried for Dave’s safety from time to time and I was drawn into the angst of his life, both personal and professional, throughout the book. Dave is portrayed as an honest and yet endangered man who faces his own imminent death several times and yet manages to succeed alive and well!

Thank you Mar for such a wonderful novel!  You are truly a gifted writer!

Rating:  5 Stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

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