EskieMama & Dragon Lady Reads Sunday Spotlight w/Giveaway: The Zen Detective By Devorah Fox



Welcome to Eskiemama & Dragon Lady Reads
Sunday Spotlight!

Today we are spotlighting Devorah Fox's 
The Zen Detective!
Our 100th Spotlight!

Enter below for a chance to win a print copyof Magic Unveiled, 
A Science Fiction/Fantasy anthology from Devorah Fox


Devorah Fox's
The Zen Detective!



On the road to Zen enlightenment, homicide detective Will Mansion takes a seductive detour down the path to perdition.
When a bust goes terribly wrong, Paradise City detective Will Mansion nearly dies while saving his partner. On leave, Will seeks relief from post-traumatic stress disorder through Zen meditation and abstinence. He responds to the plea of the cryptic Sister Clyde to find a man missing from her soup kitchen, a man who may provide a lead to the vicious drug dealer who nearly killed Will. The search seduces Will away from the healing he seeks and he finds himself on the smarmy Miracle Mile. Alcohol, sex, and the potent drug “Nearvana” numb Will’s pain better than his infant Zen practice. He slips further and further into an underworld of the lost and hopeless only to find himself facing death—again.


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Tell us about The Zen Detective.

On the road to Zen enlightenment, homicide detective Will Mansion takes a seductive detour down
the path to perdition.

When a bust goes terribly wrong, Paradise City detective Will Mansion nearly dies while saving his partner. On leave, Will seeks relief from post-traumatic stress disorder through Zen meditation and abstinence. He responds to the plea of the cryptic Sister Clyde to find a man missing from her soup kitchen, a man who may provide a lead to the vicious drug dealer who nearly killed Will. The search seduces Will away from the healing he seeks and he finds himself on the smarmy Miracle Mile. Alcohol, sex, and the potent drug “Nearvana” numb Will’s pain better than his infant Zen practice. He slips further and further into an underworld of the lost and hopeless only to find himself facing death—again.

It’s a story that combines an outwardly-directed search for clues to a killer with an inwardly- directed search for self-awareness and serenity.

What initially inspired you to write The Zen Detective?

I had an experience of amplified awareness in my own meditation practice. It gave me the idea of creating a detective whose skills are similarly enhanced. My original intent was for a sort of superhero powered not with heightened strength or speed but rather insight. However, Detective Will Mansion’s personal issues took the story in a different direction.

Tell us little about the characters in The Zen Detective.

Police detective Will Mansion was shot in the line of duty and died, but was brought back to life. At the time of the story he is on medical leave, trying to get his post-traumatic stress under control. He would rather not rely on barbiturates and in the course of exploring meditation as an alternative becomes interested in Zen Buddhism.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?


It’s told in the first person, present tense which made writing it an intense experience. I was deeply immersed in the character. Plus, there wasn’t any easy way to tell the reader anything that Will Mansion doesn’t himself know, see, or feel, so I had to tell the story of solving the mystery within the limits of his abilities and at his pace.

What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?


Chapter Fifteen, wherein Will gets tattooed. Long before I had sketched out much of the story at all, I had that scene clearly in mind. I then had to figure out who was Will, who was Lix, and what transpired that led them to that encounter. In a way, I started with Chapter Fifteen and had to write my way up to it.

What are your future project(s)?

I have ideas for two more cases with Detective Will Mansion. I’m also currently working another police procedural mystery. It’s set in a different part of the country, with different characters, but it also combines a crime investigation with a personal spiritual search.

Is there anything else you would like to tell the readers about this book/series?

I feel that “The Zen Detective” is quite different from my other novels. Compared with The Bewilldering Adventures of King Bewilliam literary fantasy series, my thrillers “Naked Came the Sharks” and “Detour,” and my cozies, “Murder by the Book” and “One Bad Apple,” “The Zen Detective” seems to me to be darker and grittier. However, one reviewer called it “silky and muscular.” Other reviewers found it to be “humorous” and “wacky.” I’m delighted that one book can evoke such a wide range of responses.




Lix’s sketchpad hides his face, but not the rancor in his voice. “Why should I tell you? You went and told everyone I gave her up.”
  “No, I did not ... Yes. Yes, I did.”
  “See? Now everyone thinks, ‘Lix Gemini, you can’t trust him, he’s a snitch.’” He raises his eyes over the top of his pad and fixes me with an accusatory glare. “Now how am I supposed to go on living here?”  
  “I needed to find Hector—”
  “Yeah, that’s it, isn’t it?  It’s about what you want. Always about what you want, screw anyone else.” Lix trades his red pencil for a yellow one and returns to his sketch. “Story of my life. No one ever does, I don’t know why.”
  Yet he helped me last night in the alley. “I’m sorry. I’ll make it right.”
  “Yeah?  How?”
  “Well, I don’t know, I—”
  “Unzip your pants.”
  A five-car pile-up of words forms against the brick wall in my throat. In the silence I can hear Lix’s pencil skritch on the rough sketch paper. He looks up over the top of the pad, his expression innocent and serious.
  “Go on,” he says
  I am frozen in place.
  “You don’t have to take them off if you don’t want, just unzip and tuck in the flaps.” He slides down off the chair and mimes what he wants me to do. “I just need to get at your navel, actually the real estate below it.” He twirls his pencil.
  “A ta ... a tattoo?”
  “Yeah, a tattoo, what did you think?” He blinks his dark, long-lashed eyes once. “Oh, that?” His lips look very moist. “Is that what you want?” he asks.
  “Me?” My voice is a squeak. “I thought this was about what you want.”
  “What I want ...” His eyes get that wistful look again. He picks up his sketchpad and turns it around to show me his drawing. “It’s a lotus blossom.”
  Maybe. But a fierce one. The petals are tongues of flame, their rose color hot with orange undertones. Its yellow heart is a glowing ember. “A lotus?”
  “Uh huh. I know what you’re thinking: ‘a flower, that’s a hell of a tatt’ for a tough guy like me.’ But see, the lotus, it starts off in the muck at the bottom of the pond but then it grows up through the water and finally breaks the surface. A good symbol for you, Will, the way you can’t quit nosing around. And if I put it here, below the belt,” he pats his own belly, “no one will see it unless you show it to them. It’ll be your secret. Our secret.”
  A tattoo. The man wants to tattoo a lotus on my belly. The lotus, symbol of the pure perfection of the awakened mind, blooming only after it has risen above the murk of ignorance and beguiling desire. Outrageous. But temptation tingles my spine and my skin is warm as if Lix’s campfire of a lotus already burns there.





"What if?" Those two words all too easily send Devorah Fox spinning into flights of fancy. Best-selling author of award-winning books including The Bewildering Adventures of King Bewilliam literary historical fantasy series and several thrillers, she also penned Mystery Mini Short Reads and contributed short stories to popular fantasy anthologies. Born in Brooklyn, New York, she now lives on the Texas Gulf Coast with rescued tabby cats ... and a dragon named Inky. Visit the “Dee-Scoveries” blog at http://devorahfox.com.

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