The First Rule of Ten by Gay Hendricks & Tinker Lindsay: review

The First Rule of Ten: A Tenzing Norbu Mystery The First Rule of Ten: A Tenzing Norbu Mystery by Gay Hendricks

Tenzing Norbu (“Ten” for short)–ex-monk and soon-to-be ex-cop–is a protagonist unique to our times. In “The First Rule of Ten,” the first installment in a three-book detective series, readers meet this spiritual warrior who is singularly equipped, if not occasionally ill-equipped, as he takes on his first case as a private investigator in Los Angeles.

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I sent out a request to the Universe that I might be allow to win this book – and it was with much gratitude that I received this book as a First Reads prize.

I really wanted to read The First Rule of Ten when it arrived but practised a little delayed gratification as I completed some overdue reviews and read some author-gifted books I had agreed to review. Then finally, I could wait no longer. Once I started the book, I found it difficult to put down and after a couple of restrained sessions, I polished off the majority of the book in four hours one Saturday morning.

The First Rule of Ten is superbly written, peopled with detailed, well-drawn characters and has a multi-layered ‘who is the puppeteer pulling the strings?’ plot that moves along at a clip but without leaving the reader behind.

The whole concept of a Buddhist ex-monk (the term ex-Buddhist monk didn’t ring true to me, since Ten is clearly still a Buddhist at heart) who becomes an LAPD cop was so intriguing – and the explanation of his journey from one to another is gradually uncovered and expanded throughout the book. It is a delightful and realistic reveal that would happen if you actually met Ten. He is a warm and compassionate human being, who although flawed (aren’t we all?!) is aware, thanks to his monk’s training, of how these flaws are made manifest., He therefore works to guard against many of them, whilst accepting and acknowledging others, such as his love of his car.

The reader is able to learn from Ten, but the lessons are those of observation and never stray into that annoying realm where authors, via their characters, preaches at the reader. Instead, here the lessons are laid out in front of us and, like those presented by life, it is for us to choose to learn from them. It is well, in this situation, to remember, as we learn from the book, the First Rule of Ten: Don’t ignore the tickle …

This is an excellent book on all front and I am grateful to have read it. I thank the authors for making the book available through First Reads and the universe/random winner generator for picking me!

I’m claiming this book as No. 84/150 in the Goodreads 2012 Reading Challenge;  and No.4 in the First in Series Reading challenge..
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