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by Deborah Granger
Can life get any better? That’s what I asked myself as I sat aboard the yacht (called The Lady Katherine) of author Davis MacDonald. It’s no wonder that his murder mystery novel series, which revolves around a character called “The Judge”, is more than just a “who done it”. The reader gets an intimate look at the Southern California landscape from an author whose personal knowledge fills his page turner books with drama, intrigue, crime, and romance. They’re a “must read”!
Tried and true advice for any novelist is “write what you know” and Davis MacDonald knows a lot. He’s been a law professor, bar chair, investment banker, attorney, dad, grandfather, as well as a mystery novelist. MacDonald’s ability to intertwine his credentials into compelling fiction gives his stories a credence that can only come from an author who truly “knows.” His books: The Hill, 2014 (Palos Verdes), The Island, 2015 (Catalina Island), Silicon Beach, 2016 (Venice), and The Bay, 2017 (Newport Beach), capture the beauty of their locations while setting the scene for The Judge.
According to MacDonald, “The Judge has a legal mind. He’s trained as a lawyer, as I am. If you go to a good law school – I went to USC, and I was number one in my class – they don’t teach you to pass the bar, they don’t teach you to practice law, they teach you a different way to think.” It is that difference that makes The Judge a well-defined, three-dimensional character, able to approach investigations from the perspective of the legal mind. “He’s a clever and experienced guy, but a judge no longer. Squeezed off the bench early, he retains the pride and judicial arrogance of his former robes, mixed with self-deprecating humor and sympathy for the foibles of his fellow man. But above, all he’s persistent and difficult to derail. He won’t stop until he finds the answers to the puzzling facts that define the homicide in each book.”