The Zen Man
Nick and Nora in the 21st Century
by Colleen Collins
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, who also happens to be his ex-wife, Deborah, and ends up in the slammer with a half-mil bail.
Rick recently moved in with his girlfriend Laura Fitzhugh, who’s invested her entire savings into renovating the Dinosaur Foot B&B and Hot Springs, named after the historical dinosaur footprints in Morrison, Colorado. For their grand opening, she and Rick had hosted the Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyers’ (“CrimDefs” to insiders) retreat, which ended abruptly after Deborah’s body was found stabbed through the heart in a hot springs pool.
Using the B&B as collateral, Laura makes bail. Unfortunately, the D.A. has filed a motion demanding Rick be incarcerated until trial. This motion will be heard in court in 30 days—-which means Rick has a month to find the real killer.
Although Rick’s immediate priority is to save his own skin, his overriding goal is to salvage his reputation in the legal community (before he got clean and sober five years ago, he was the Hunter S. Thompson of the Colorado Bar).
Laura’s priority is to salvage the lodge. After a childhood spent in numerous towns while her dad moved from job to job, having roots is paramount to her.
In the course of their investigations, Rick and Laura dig for dirt among Denver’s shady legal backrooms to going undercover in the city’s tony corporate centers. Despite their lives being endangered, Rick being jailed on trumped-up drug charges, and the FBI’s unwanted intervention, they continue tracking key suspects who have motive…until a final, deadly encounter with the surprise killer.
Praise for The Zen Man
"Great humor. Great dialogue. Author did a great job of establishing the relationship between Rick and Laura. It never overshadowed the mystery, but it made the book truly multi-dimensional."
~New York Times best-selling author Dorien Kelly
"A real page turner. I enjoyed this book full of suspense and surprises. I have never read this author before but will look for her next surprise."
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2015 Aspen Gold Award Winner
"I loved The Zen Man and really had fun catching Rick and Laura's first case in the prequel, The Ungrateful Dead. These novels have everything I love in a mystery: smart dialogue, a flawed hero, a little romance and a great plot. Murder at a coroners conference? What could be more fun!"
~ Nancy Warren USA Today Bestselling Author of The Toni Diamond mysteries