Awards & Reviews

Awards & Reviews

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


Winner – Genre Fiction
Pacific Northwest Writers Conference

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


Crashpad is a great vintage mystery read. Lots of surprises & plot twists. The best part is the nerdy college student who works the case in spite of personal challenges. The writing is great!”
– Marie S., Amazon Review

“A fascinating book (Pennies For Her Eyes), with humor and mystery and plenty of California sun and surf. James R. Preston is a good writer!”
– Passionate For Books, Amazon Review

Picked this up (Sailor Home From Sea) on a web recommendation and very glad I did. An engaging mystery with just the right mix of believable characters, exciting events and well-described locations. The twists and turns will keep you reading, and guessing, through the night. And Preston’s wry humor is a refreshing addition to the genre. I’m definitely going back to start this series from the beginning.”
– Jack B., Amazon Review

“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