The Zen Man by Colleen Collins
Published By: WIN, Inc.
Release Date: December 18, 2011
Format: 277 Pages / Kindle - 439 KB / Nook - 743 KB
Genre: Murder / Mystery / Suspense / Thriller
About The Author:
Colleen Collins is an award-winning author who's written 20 novels and anthologies for Harlequin (including a romantic paranormal thriller for Dorchester, writing as Cassandra Collins). Her books have placed first in the Colorado Gold, Romancing the Rockies, and Top of the Peak contests, and placed in the finals for the Holt Medallion, Coeur de Bois Readers Choice, Award of Excellence, More than Magic, and Romance Writers of America RITA contests.
After graduating from the University of California Santa Barbara, Colleen worked as a film production assistant, inprov comic, telecommunications manager at the RAND Corporation, technical writer/editor, speech writer, and private investigator. All these experiences play into her writing.
She's a member of the Mystery Writers of America (MWA), Private Eye Writers of America (PWA), the Romance Writers of America (RWA), Novelists, Inc. (NINC), and sits on the board of the Rocky Mountain MWA. She's also a member of the National Council of Investigation & Security Services (NCISS) and the Professional Private Investigators Association of Colorado.
When not sleuthing, Colleen's working on a time-traveling PI series, co-teaching "Writing PIs in Novels" with her investigative business partner, and envisioning how Nick and Nora would behave in the 21st century.
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Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review, and for hosting a virtual book event on my book review blog site.
Virtual Book Event: On Monday, June 18, 2012, author Colleen Collins participated in a virtual book event with an Author Guest Post on Jersey Girl Book Reviews.
Just as washed-up criminal defense attorney, life-long Deadhead (nickname "The Zen Man"), and current PI Rick Levine decides to get relicensed as a lawyer, he's charged with killing one and ends up and ends up in the slammer with a half-million bail.
Released on bond, Rick and his girlfriend Laura have 30 days to find the real killer. In the course of their investigations, they dig for dirt among Denver's shady legal backrooms to its tony corporate centers. Dodging bullets, a kidnapping, trumped-up charges and the FBI's unwanted intervention, Rick and Laura continue tracking key suspects who have motive ... eventually learning that true redemption begins at home.
My Book Review:
Former criminal defense attorney turned PI Rick Levine, aka "The Zen Man," has been clean and sober for five years. After losing his attorney's license six years ago for his substance abuse, he's now on the right path to rebuilding his life and getting relicensed so he can practice law again. Rick and girlfriend Laura purchased a Bed & Breakfast lodge in Denver, and was hosting an annual retreat for Colorado's Criminal Defense Association. In attendance for the criminal defense attorney conference were 55 attorneys including Rick's ex-wife Deborah, aka "Wicked as in Wicked Wench of the West," and former law partner, Sam Wexler, aka "Roof Top." During a party on the first night of the retreat, Deborah was drunk and started a fight with Rick, causing a scene in front of everyone. A few hours later, Laura finds Deborah's nude body lying dead in the pool outside the lodge, she had been fatally stabbed in the heart. Rick is taken into custody as the prime suspect and charged with the first degree murder of his ex-wife. With Sam as his attorney, Laura posts bail and Rick has thirty days to investigate his case and find the real killer. Is this a crime of passion case? Has Rick been framed on trumped up charges? Will Rick and Laura solve the case, or will he become a prisoner in Colorado's criminal justice system?
The Zen Man is a classic whodunit story with a sarcastic and humorous edgy side mixed with some light romance that will keep the reader guessing as they turn the pages. Set in Denver, Colorado, the story is told in the first person narrative by our protagonist, Rick, whose comedic personality shines through as he tells his story and keeps the reader in stitches. Jam packed with enough intrigue, suspense, twist and turns, and sprinkling of clues, this entertaining mystery engages the reader to come along with Rick and Laura on their investigation to solve the murder case.
The author creates a cast of characters in the story that are realistic, complex and have a variety of personalities that make the story that much more entertaining and compelling. Who wouldn't pull for Rick and Laura? They are a down-to-earth, engaging and lovable couple willing to go the distance to prove Rick's innocence. With supporting characters such as: criminal defense attorney Sam Wexler; Mavis the chair loving Rottweiler; stoned handymen Garrett and Ziggy; a Santa Hitman; some unscrupulous attorneys; mafioso and FBI investigators, the reader better strap themselves in for one heck of a fast paced mystery thrill ride.
As a fan of murder mystery suspense thrillers, The Zen Man was an entertaining whodunit that kept me entertained. From Rick's comedic personality, to the zen quotes and Deadhead references, to the intriguing clues and twists and turns, to the lighthearted romance, this story was simply a fun read!
The Zen Man is a fun, fast paced murder mystery novel that has all the ingredients to satisfy true murder mystery suspense fans. With an intriguing ending, the reader is left wondering if this is the first in a series that we will see Rick and Laura involved in new investigative adventures.
RATING: 4 STARS ****