Book Reviews: The First Rule of Ten by Gay Hendricks & Tinker Lindsay and Barnstorming by Laura Crum

The First Rule of TenThe First Rule of Ten
A Tenzing Norbu Mystery #1
Gay Hendricks and Tinker Lindsay
Hay House, January 2012
ISBN 978-1-4019-3776-8
Trade Paperback

What happens when a former monk turned homicide detective decides to quit the force and become a private investigator? How does he cope without a steady paycheck? Or with his worries over disappointing his Tibetan father? Or with a new girlfriend who can cook up fabulous meals? And will his cat continue to respect him? This is the story of Tenzing Norbu and his venture into private practice. Get your Zen on with the first in a new series, sure to be popular.

After dodging a serious gunshot injury, L.A. Homicide investigator and former monk Tenzing Norbu, turns in his badge to go private. The next day an ex-wife of Ten’s former landlord, an ex-musician named Zimmy, shows up and gives an enigmatic warning. The next day, she’s found dead. Ten calls Zimmy to find out he’s been harassed by an individual wanting to ‘help’ Zimmy collect past due royalties. Zimmy, however, is not the first and Ten has to make the connection between a hustler, a pig farm, and a enigmatic cult.

The inclusion of various monk training regimens was well done and kept the story a little different from the normal PI mystery. Likeable characters (including the cat) and a complex plot keep the story interesting. Don’t expect too much noir style bullets flying but rather a steadily flowing story, rather like the peaceful hoeing of a sand garden, moving you toward a satisfying conclusion full of inner calm and…huh? Too much Zen? Don’t worry, The First Rule of Ten will satisfy your mystery craving.

Reviewed by Stephen L. Brayton, October 2012.
Author of Night Shadows, Beta and Alpha.


Laura Crum
Perseverance Press, April 2012
ISBN 978-1-56474-508-8
Trade Paperback

In Crum‘s latest novel, Gail McCarthy once again horses around with murder. With plenty of suspects from which to choose, this novel kept me guessing until the end. It’s a tale filled with nature and animals, and of course a main character with a lot of horse sense.

After ten years of raising her child, Gail McCarthy is considering returning to her former profession as a horse vet. She’s enjoying retirement, however, and the freedom to ride her horse around the countryside. Her life is disrupted when she comes upon a corpse of a fellow horse rider. Enter Detective Jeri Ward, an old friend of Gail’s to act as lead investigator. There is a plethora of suspects with a variety of motives from jealousy to a marijuana farm and even a nearby housing development with folks who are anti-horse. As the evidence is collected and tensions heighten, Gail discovers a second corpse.

I mention the heightened tension, but I didn’t get a sense of urgency. Gail does a good job of amateur sleuth but I didn’t feel a good connection with her. I did enjoy the excellent knowledge displayed by the author. She knows her horses and any story with animals gets a second look from me. This is a fine continuation in a long series of novels and shows how life catches up with us all and our reflections of those changes.

Reviewed by Stephen L. Brayton, August 2012.
Author of Night Shadows, Beta and Alpha.