A burglar is found dead in an upscale condo in the beautiful beach city of Santa Monica. The murder seems to be linked to a series of high-tech murders that have been taking place in the area. Dave Mason of the Santa Monica Police department is called to the case. Soon, he suspects that the Chechens are connected to the murders, but how? While investigating in the Hollywood Russian community, he’s thrown into a vortex of dark suspects, embezzlement, explosions and FBI agents.  When Dave and his department are blamed for a take-down gone wrong, it’s up to him to solve the case and restore their reputation, while at the same time trying to salvage his relationship with his girlfriend. 

Mar Preston delivers yet another exciting whodunit mystery in this, her second book in her Dave Mason series. The prose is crisp, the dialogue gritty. The author doesn’t waste time with unnecessary description or backstory in this little page-turner that will keep readers guessing for the culprits. She also does an excellent job in bringing upscale Santa Monica and its people to life, with its luxurious condos and leftist politics. The characters are interesting, each distinct with their own quirks. Dave Mason is a likable protagonist with both flaws and good qualities. Rip-Off is a well-written mystery with a well thought-out plot that will be enjoyed by fans of the genre. Recommended!

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