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A Single Eye by Susan Dunlap

A Single Eye (2006)

by Susan Dunlap

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I like the character and story concept but not the writing in this first novel of the series. I'll get the second from the library and see if, like so many series, things improve in the second book. The idea of a stunt person as the main character is a good one and I enjoyed the Zen and meditation tie in as I dabbled in that years ago. ( )
  Tom_D | Nov 24, 2012 |
I've missed Susan Dunlap and her two series characters, private investigator Kiernan O'Shaughnessy and homicide detective Jill Smith. These soft-boiled mysteries, heavy on characterization and masterfully plotted, were books I read and savored the moment they appeared on bookstore shelves. It's been years now since I saw Susan Dunlap's name on a book, when, lo and behold, there sat A Single Eye on my inaugural trip to my town's new library. A perfect confluence of events!

A Single Eye introduces Darcy Lott, a Manhattan stuntwoman and a Zen practitioner, in what I hope is the first of a series. Despite her willingness to leap from cliff to cliff and fake a dangerous stumble on the far side, Darcy has one paralyzing fear: the woods. In a final effort to conquer her fear before it damns her in the macho world of stunts, she makes plans to attend a Zen sesshin in a redwood forest in northern California. A sesshin is a retreat that only the hardiest Zen practitioners are likely to undertake, with nine zazen sittings per day, subsistence on oatmeal, gruel and tea, and basic physical labor to break up the periods of staring at a wall and deep into one's self.

Even before Darcy arrives at the monastery, however, she finds herself thrust into a clash of personalities between the monastery's roshi -- its principal teacher -- and his jisha, his assistant. The roshi seems to be friendly, personable, a deep thinker who can communicate easily, while the jisha seems to be arrogant, brittle and thoughtless. And it becomes almost immediately apparent when the sesshin opens that there is a mystery in attendance as well, a mystery dating back to the opening of the monastery six years earlier: Aeneas, a star Zen pupil, disappeared.

This is a mystery that has much to tell, about Zen, about (of all things) chocolate, about the dark places in the soul. It's exquisitely plotted, with plenty of red herrings, and can keep even the most experienced mystery reader guessing right up until the bitter end.

Welcome back, Ms. Dunlap. Please write more. ( )
  TerryWeyna | Jun 10, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0786718501, Hardcover)

After a terrifying stunt gone wrong leaves her plummeting into the tops of forest trees, a shaken Darcy Lott is dispatched by her Zen master to a remote monastery in California's redwood forest to face her worst fear — but also to deliver a message. This monastery has its own secrets. A student has disappeared and is feared dead. The leader of the monastery, Leo, Garson-roshi, is soon to leave under mysterious circumstances, and Darcy fears that trusting the likeable Leo will lead her into further danger. Yet, as Darcy struggles with her phobia, she becomes drawn further into this mystery, one she learns she must solve it in order to get out alive.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:45 -0400)

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