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The Zen Man

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  317 Ratings  ·  54 Reviews
Semifinalist Best Indie Books of 2012, The Kindle Book Reviews

BookRooster Reviewers' Pick 2013

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 in the slammer with a half-mil bail.

Released on bond, Rick and his girlfriend La
Kindle Edition, 284 pages
Published December 18th 2011 by WIN, Inc.
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Aug 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
THE ZEN MAN by Colleen Collins is a tightly-written fast-paced mystery. It’s fun to read: from the cover to the chapter heads, it’s stylized, smart, and sassy, making for an engaging read. Rick Levine, the Zen Man, is a disbarred criminal defense attorney turned PI who’s been clean and sober for five years. His girlfriend, Laura, purchased a lodge outside of Denver and turned it into a B&B. For the grand opening, they’re hosting the Colorado Criminal Defense Association’s annual retreat. Fif ...more
Elizabeth A.
Former attorney and current private investigator Rick Levine has a lot to be worried about in author Colleen Collins’s The Zen Man. Now clean and sober for five years after having had his law license suspended by the state of Colorado because of his substance abuse, Rick and his girlfriend, Laura, have opened a B&B lodge and things seem to be looking up for Rick personally and professionally.

In an attempt to lure some of Rick’s former colleagues into using his investigative services, Rick an
Karin Snortland
Jan 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Kept me guessing ' til the end

A great "who dunnit" mystery. Fabulous main character. Lots of twists and turns. Romance, suspense, humor and legal action all combine for a full story that kept my rapt attention.
Jun 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
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 conf ...more
Mar 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
Very diverse characters will a well developed sense of place.
Becky Sherriff
Apr 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rosemary Cantrell
Jan 25, 2016 rated it liked it
This mystery is filled with all the ingredients that make a good mystery - interesting characters (with flaws, humor, and humanity), intriguing murder (is it a murder? or a accident? what is the actual cause of death?), clues that appear little by little and change the flow of the investigation each time, trouble knowing who to trust and who is suspect (ex-wife, partner, pill-head handyman, a judge, other attorneys, etc.). This was actually a good mystery and I enjoyed it. There was suspense, in ...more
Toni Osborne
Dec 02, 2014 rated it it was ok
Book 2, in A Humorous Colorado Mystery series

This is a tightly written the run of the mill whodunit mystery told in the first person narrative of Rick Levine, the Zen Man, a disbarred Denver attorney turned Private Investigator. Charged with murder after hosting a party at his B&B ends up in the slammer with a half-mil bail bond and 30 days to clear his name.

This is a lighthearted approach into mystery/crime fiction supposedly written with a sarcastic and humorous side to it but I failed to
Charles Ray
Jan 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Rich Levine is a disgraced ex-lawyer, currently a private investigator, and is aching to get his license back so he can practice law again. He and his current girlfriend, Laura, are operating a bed and breakfast in the mountains of Colorado, and hosting events for criminal defense lawyers in an effort to attract clients to his PI business. Things go off the rails when Levine’s flamboyant ex-wife is murdered at one of the events, and he’s the prime suspect.
Except for Laura, and a partially reform
Apr 02, 2014 rated it liked it
Fun and clever, but needed more editing. CC had a fondness for phrases that sound good initially, but don't actually mean anything. One character has a look of "pert confusion" on her face. I highlighted this passage because it was particularly strange: "Her eyes were still a pale brown, like a fawn, which was funny 'cause her temperament was more like a hawk's than some leaf-eating Bambi. There was still a flicker of imp about her..." Flicker of imp? Pert confusion? What does that mean? There a ...more
Wendy Hines
Jul 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Rick Levine used to have a great life - a lawyer and a PI Investigator. But then he let his vices get the better of him. Now, he's been clean five years and it's time to lure some of Rick's former colleagues to his and Laura's bed and breakfast for a criminal defense seminar. Not only can they reform old friendships but hopefully Rick and Laura can get some business out of it for their investigation service.

But then Rick's ex-wife shows up and soon after is found dead in the hot tub. Seen and he
Dec 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I really liked this book. Was a real who done it with style. The Zen Man, by Colleen Collins is a wonderfully written mystery that has fantastic lifelike characters. The story line is very smooth and, has sharp snappy dialog. Having the protagonist as a former Jewish lawyer who's destroyed his own law career. P.I. Rick Levine along with girlfriend, associate,and P.I. partner, Laura are indeed a crazy couple. The book has a nice mix of murder, mayhem and, some romance to keep this story very int ...more
Apr 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was a great mystery. The characters were engaging and well written, with enough back-story to make them real and easy to relate to. The main characters of Rick and Laura are a solid leading pair and I would like to see them in future novels.

What would you do if your ex was murdered at a retreat hosted at your business? That's what confronts Rick Levine when his girlfriend/business partner Laura finds his ex dead in one of the hot pools at their inn. Rick, who is a suspended lawyer, has been
Midge Bork
Jul 20, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: kindle
Why is this labelled humorous? Maybe it's breezy, but it's not funny.

From the moment of the murder almost every reader could guess who did it. That has nothing to do with having read too many mysteries, it's just that blatant. There's more to a mystery than whodunnit. All good sleuths know we need to consider motive and opportunity. So I kept reading.This book was unsatisfying in plot development. And the dinosaur decor was distracting whenever it was discussed. Made me think of a kid's room.

Mackenzie Brown
Oct 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A Fantastic read from start to finish. Reminded me a great deal of the works of Robert Crais and Robert B Parker. The story concerns Rick a recovering alcoholic and part time PI and a past that comes back to bite him on the backside, in the form of his ex-wife. When she is murdered at the home he shares with Laura he is accused of her murder and becomes embroiled in a race against time to clear his name. Superbly written and beautifully characterised, this is a fast paced thriller with one eye o ...more
Dec 02, 2013 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this action thriller "who-dun it" very much even though I figured out almost immediately "who-dun it." It was still exciting and surprising. Rick Levine, who has not been able to practice law for five years due to his substance abusive lifestyle opens a Bed and Breakfast in the Denver Colorado hills with his girlfriend Laura. He's been sober for the past year and works as a PI. At the big opening of the B&B for a group of CrimDefs his ex-wife is murdered. He has thirty days to fig ...more
maria hoggard
Mar 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Zen man or winner

I choose this rating because it was put together good. You could never see what was coming next. You could think it was going to happen one way and the writer would have you going another way. there was surprises throughout the book. I would never have thought it would have turned out to be his lawyer. I have read books with worse language in them. It would have been better if other words had been used instead of curse words but otherwise it was a good book on the whole.
Joye Meyer
Mar 23, 2014 rated it liked it
So over all I liked the book and the characters. I loved that it was set in Colorado, Morrison, which is where I used to live. So it was great to read about the different places that I have been and driven some of the same roads. So I did not like the facted that I figured out the killer at the beginning of the story again. I knew what they were going to find in the hot springs pipe. I gave it a 3 star review because I was not surprised by any of the revelations in the book. Maybe the author des ...more
Katherine Jessica
Dec 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I originally picked this book because the main character was a life long DEADHEAD. Reading this book, the characters are loveable and warm, interesting and could been friends of mine. The plot twists and turns with surprises filled this book with obsessive page turning marathon reading sessions until I finished this book!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone DEADHEAD or not!! GOOD READ!!! REALLY GOOD READ!
Apr 03, 2014 rated it it was ok
Halfway through, although I was enjoying the story, the Grateful Dead quotes, and the characters for the most part, I got fed up. "C'mon! You KNOW who the murderer has to be. You are considering everyone EXCEPT 'X'". I turned to the end of the book, read the last chapter, and yup, I was right. Did not go back and finish the rest of the book because I was tired of the character's huge and obvious blind spot.
Sep 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Rick and Laura make an engaging detective couple, and the secondary characters are also enjoyable. Colleen Collins breezy writing style and humor make for a quick read. The setting details made the plot more believable, and there were enough chilling scenes to balance the humor. I did figure out the culprit before Rick did, but that did not detract from the story (nor did the romance). I'm hoping for a sequel.
I received a complimentary copy of this book in order to review it.
Donna Gettings Apperson
Oct 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Lack of nouns. Read it anyway. Story was fun and I didn't figure it out until the end. Would like to know more about Rick and Laura. Ending was open ended, so to speak, so let's get another volume! Okay, it's hard for me to write without "I" or "we" or whatever; I'm not sure how the author did it. That was the only discomforting part of the reading. Enjoyable read for sure.
Aug 16, 2012 rated it liked it
Very satisfying. Got this one free from the top 100 free kindle bestseller list. The story was mostly told in the first person, but occasionally switched to third person to follow another character which was pretty confusing in the beginning. But overall, it was a satisfying crime thriller. Nothing amazing, but it held my interest.
Mrs Mommy Booknerd
Readers of mystery are going to love Colleen Collins novel THE ZEN MAN. It is a fast paced who-done-it that will keep you turning pages and guessing to the very end. I was shocked and surprised by all the twists and turns. This novel will leave you wanting more. I highly recommend it and rate it 4 stars.
Kechell Jackson
Oct 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This well written book was an easy read. I enjoyed the quotes at the beginning of each chapter. The characters are interesting with good back-stories. This fast pace book had many twists and turns; never having a slow moment. The end was kind of predictable but still a good book to read.

I recommend this book for those who are fans of mysteries.
Feb 12, 2016 rated it it was ok
The lodge

Someone kills Rick Levine's ex-wife, Debby, at a retreat for some fifty lawyers. The retreat is at a lodge owned by Rick and his girlfriend, Laura. The story was okay. Needlessly long, with a whole lot of situations going on.
Nov 02, 2014 rated it did not like it
Interesting mystery embalmed by f-bombs & sexual references (main characters' thoughts revolve around his scrotum). His 'dislike' list includes the reason for Christmas. His like list is Buddha, sex, & Jerry Garcia - by 30 it should be larger.
Dawn Loomis
Dec 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
A good read

This book kept me guessing and reguessing. Laura and Rick learn more about each other as well as the case as the story progresses.
Marguerite Czajka
Dec 10, 2012 rated it liked it
This book seemed to slow down about half way through. The killer is pretty obvious from near the beginning, tho the lead characters don't see it, so I grew a little impatient
Mar 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012-and-prior
Awesome murder mystery! This book is packed full of action and a love between Rick and Laura. There are many surprising twists in this book and it keeps you on your toes until the very end!
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Colleen Collins is an award-winning author who’s written several dozen novels for Harlequin and Dorchester, including two indie-published mysteries, The Ungrateful Dead and its sequel, The Zen Man, as well as three nonfiction indie books, Secrets of a Real-Life Female Private Eye, How Do Private Eyes Do That? and How to Write a Dick: A Guide for Writing Fictional Sleuths from a Couple of Real-Life ...more

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“Teachers open the door. You enter by yourself —Chinese proverb” 3 likes
“When the pupil is ready to learn, a teacher will appear —Zen proverb” 0 likes
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