It is my stop on the Blog Tour today and I cannot wait to share my thoughts with you on what is a ‘wow’ novel! Thank you to Corinna at Quercus for inviting me onto the tour and also sending me a lovely hardback copy of the book.
‘Zen and the Art of Murder’ is a beautifully written, atmospherically detailed novel beholden with excellent characters.
Louise Boni is a strong-minded Chief Inspector who is part of the Black Forest crime squad. She is mentally scarred from an incident that happened in her past. A man keeps entering her head, a man she is responsible for killing.
Louise has been asked to trail a semi-deluded Japanese monk and bring him back to safety, but she is quick to realise that there is something far more to this investigation as it takes on a frantic and disturbing twist.
Louise’s relationship with her mother is a tricky one. It is almost as if she blames her mother for something. Her parents are divorced and her mother’s current residence shows no memories of Louise or her brother, no photos, nothing. Louise is always drawn back to her mother though when times get tough; when her marriage broke down, when she killed a man, and now. It is almost like she needs her mother’s love, guidance and acceptance – but don’t we all really?! Louise is a functioning alcoholic, but how will this affect her job and her life?!
The book is adrenaline pumping at times, like when Louise is in pursuit of a car with potential suspects and it soon backfires as she ends up being the one who is chased. There are weapons involved and plenty of hatred, and Louise is a tough old nut to have survived that situation.
You can see as you read the amount of research that has gone into discovering the world of Buddhism. I felt an almost inner calm during the chapter where Louise goes and visits where the missing Japanese Monk, Taro, used to live his life. It was beautiful and very much needed to help relax what is definitely a thought-provoking puzzle piece.
Friendships, relationships and the many issues that run alongside them all weave together perfectly to make this a breathtaking mystery. This is the first in a trilogy of books involving “the Black Forest”, – the Black Forest being on the borderlands of the Rhine – and it is a trilogy that I will desperately be following as I cannot wait to read more from this maverick Chief Inspector.
“Whether it was arrogant of her to think she could save the world if she couldn’t even save herself” – this is my favourite quote from the book. It sums up Louise Boni to perfection. She wants to help everyone but first she needs to help herself.
‘Zen and the Art of Murder’ is already available to buy from all good bookstores and I suggest that this is one you should hit up quick.
Bye for now!
About the Author and Translator
OLIVER BOTTINI was born in 1965. Four of his novels, including ZEN AND THE ART OF MURDER and A SUMMER OF MURDER of the Black Forest Investigations, have been awarded the Deutscher Krimipreis, Germany’s most prestigious award for crime writing. In addition his novels have been awarded the Stuttgarter Krimipreis and the Berliner Krimipreis. He lives in Berlin. http://www.bottini.de.
JAMIE BULLOCH is the translator of Timur Vermes’ Look Who’s Back, Birgit Vanderbeke’s The Mussel Feast, which won him the Schlegel-Tieck Prize, Kingdom of Twilight by Steven Uhly, and novels by F.C. Delius, Jörg Fauser, Martin Suter, Katharina Hagena and Daniel Glattauer.