Book: Zen and the Art of Murder

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Zen and the Art of Murder: A Zen Moses Mystery

Author: Elizabeth M. Cosin
Publisher: St Martins Pr

To live and die in L.A.

Zen Moses is either having a bad day or bad karma. Her cat is dead. The IRS wants to talk to her. And she just found her long-lost cousin’s body bound to a beer keg at her favorite neighborhood bar. It’s enough to drive even a tough private investigator to drink, smoke a good cigar, and find a firm male shoulder to cry on.

But cynical, wise-cracking Zen is both a loner and survivor. At thirty-three she’s already beat a bout with cancer—and soon she’s being offered big bucks to find a talk-show celebrity’s missing father. It seems like an easy job until Zen finds out she’s just one step ahead of a hit man. Now Zen’s professional and private lives are converging into a world of murder and gunplay…and the sound of one hand clapping may end up being bang bang.


Move over Sue Grafton and Marcia Muller—here comes Elizabeth Cosin with a heroine who’s a worthy rival to Kinsey Millhone and Sharon McCone. Zen Moses is a hip, fresh, cigar-smoking PI who’s so tough she’s beat lung cancer, but she’s still vulnerable enough to admit her attraction to Jonathan Brooks, a Santa Monica homicide cop she meets in this first of what will thankfully be a series of mysteries. When Zen (short for Zenaria) finds a dead man wrapped around a beer keg in the walk-in cooler at Father’s Office, her favorite L.A. watering hole, she’s only a little surprised. When she turns the body over for a closer look, however, she discovers that the victim is her cousin Danny—a man who supposedly died in a mass suicide with other cult victims 15 years earlier. It’s enough to make a girl forget she’s facing an IRS audit. Danny’s father, an uncle from whom she’s long been estranged, asks her to investigate, and she’s quickly off and running. The plot is strewn with clues that add up to an intriguing solution, but the real star is California craziness as seen through the eyes of the funny, engaging Zen (who manages a wisecrack on every page). With a strong voice and a unique heroine, Zen and the Art of Murder is a promising debut that’s just right for a rainy night. —Jane Adams

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