James' work has been well received by both his peers and the public.


LeaveAward Winner - Genre Fiction
Pacific Northwest Writers Conference
RoadAward Winner - Genre Fiction
Pacific Northwest Writers Conference


Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe operated in shadows produced by Hollywood’s harsh light and new wealth. Dashiell Hammett rendered a San Francisco whose Victorian beauty seemed suddenly tinny and cheap when we saw it from Sam Spade’s prespective.

James R. Preston’s Surf City Mysteries are like that—documents of this time and place featuring non-detective detective T.R. Macdonald, a Wall Street wizard whose personal brokenness, intellectual rigor and sense of rightness are the necessary tools for revealing an Orange County that is far darker than our local real estate promoters would like us to know.

Yes, yes: we have world-class beaches, resorts, and money. We have the infamous Housewives and the famous rock & roll. But Preston captures something else we’ve got: the despair, the meaninglessness, the violence—and this one guy, T.R. Macdonald, just trying to create a little space for justice.

Preston’s fans get his talent. They call Surf City Mysteries “addictive,” “engaging,” and “spellbinding.” They sometimes note that the series is “darkly funny.” I worry that they miss the one quality that makes them really great and terrifying: they’re true

- Will Swaim, Founding Editor/Publisher, OC Weekly



"It grabs you starting with page one all the way to the last page. Not a dull moment. An excellent read."
      - Patricia, La Marada, CA

"Once I started I didn't put it down until I finished. The details of various scenes were engaging to the point that I felt like I was right there as the action or story unfolded. I felt that the development of the various characters described real-world people that I may have personally encountered and therefore was able to relate and bond with the characters and situation drawing me into the book all the more. I am looking forward to the release of Mr. Preston's next book."
      - Ray, Orange, CA