First Sentence: I was just sitting down to a cold beer and hot corn soup, at the end of a long week, when my phone rang.
Half Tibetan, half Caucasian, raised in the Buddhist monastery, Tenzing “Ten” Nurbu always wanted to be Sherlock Holmes. Now retired from the LAPD, he becomes a private investigator with a high-tech sidekick and his first case.
It’s always intriguing to have a protagonist with an unusual background and Ten is definitely different. A very good opening introduces us to the character, his background, outlook, and ambition all within a dangerous situation and very effectively sets him, and us, up for the next step. Then, for some unexplainable reason, Hendricks falls into the rookie author trap of not one, but two portents. Happily, he stopped that completely unnecessary device after those two.
The mix of Buddhism, with descriptions and explanations of the rituals such as a bardo, is nice, but more research for accuracy would have been appreciated. Still, it’s a nice offset to Ten’s passion for his car and guns. His alleged telepathic powers with his cat is a bit over the top. I would suggest not reading this while hungry—“Thirty minutes later, we were serving up a cashew-and-vegetable stir-fry with basmati rice. Expertly chopped cucumber salad on the side.”
There is an interesting mix of philosophy and menace in a verbal dual--“The Buddha himself said we shouldn’t believe his words without question—we must discover the truth for ourselves.” Brother Eldon saw things a little differently. “Obey your God, Nehemiah. Obey me. Go! Guard God’s Paradise!” I got a sudden urge to “find my own way” out of there, and quick.”—and a simplistic, but adequate definition of karma—“…it is our intention that determines our karma; good intentions produce good karma; bad intentions produce bad karma.”
The story is well-plotted, and a bit painful for those of us who all too well remember Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple, but with a very interesting and effective twist. There are a few minor inaccuracies related to Buddhism, and rather TSTL move by the protagonist.
“The First Rule of Ten” has plenty of action and a good resolution, as well as some minor first-book problems. Still, it makes for a good airplane read.
THE FIRST RULE OF TEN (PI-Tenzing Norbu-LA-Contemp) - Good
Hendricks, Gay and Tinker Lindsay – 1st in series
Hay House Visions – January 2012