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Publisher's Summary

At first glance, the death of media mogul “Big Bill” Argosy appears to be suicide. But his widow, Laila, thinks otherwise. Because Big Bill made enemies - lots of them. And he’d rather fight to the death than take his own life. 

When the authorities refuse to investigate, Laila turns to the one person who can see connections in the universe where others can’t: Zip Ono, a young private investigator - and practicing Buddhist. 

Zip quickly learns that there’s no shortage of suspects who might very well want Argosy dead. A foul-mouthed hedge fund operator. A pistol-packing TV anchor. Even the Criminal Investigator for the County Sheriff - who happens to be the only man Zip has ever loved. 

Following a complex trail of clues, Zip draws on her faith and “the eye of the Buddha” to lead her to the truth. The truth of what happened to Big Bill Argosy. And the truth of her own heart.

©2020 John Christian Plummer (P)2020 Audible Originals, LLC.

About the Creator

John Christian Plummer is currently the writer of Mystery 101, the #1-rated mystery movie limited series for Hallmark and was head writer on all 3 seasons of Granite Flats, the cold war spy drama featuring Christopher Lloyd, Parker Posey, Cary Elwes, and Charlie Plummer. He’s worked as a writer and producer for NBC, Fox, Bravo, Comedy Central, TBS, IFC, VH1, MTV, Discovery, and History. John is also a theater director, with a special focus on Shakespeare. His 2008 production of Twelfth Night for the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival was the subject of a documentary, Shakespeare on the Hudson, for Channel Thirteen/PBS. His original play, Bastard Nation, was produced by the Dynamo Theatre Lab at Vassar College; his play Rendition in Damascus was produced at the Philipstown Depot Theatre and at the Working Stages Theatre in Los Angeles. We Have Brought Nightmare, a play about New Netherland and the Wappinger War, was the winner of the True North Theatre Project’s River Play Festival Competition. He is a recipient of a prestigious Tanne Foundation Award for outstanding achievement in the arts. He has been a practicing SGI Buddhist for 24 years. He lives in the Hudson Valley with his wife, Maia Guest, sons Charlie and James, and their English bulldogs, Luigi and Luna.
Photo Credit: Ashley Garrett

About the Performer

Allison Hiroto is an actor, musician, and voice-over artist. Her voice-over work ranges from commercials to audiobooks, and she is an AudioFile Earphones Award winner and Audie nominee. As an actor, Allison is a member of La MaMa’s Great Jones Repertory Company, Loco 7 Dance Puppet Theatre, Yara Arts Group, and NYU's First Look Theatre Company. She has performed all over the world, including London, Taipei, Toronto, Bogota, Zagreb, and the Venice Biennale. Allison is also a grant recipient of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Creative Engagement Award.

What listeners say about Zip Ono, Buddhist Detective

Average Customer Ratings
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LOVED IT!!!!

John Christian Plummer proves himself this time (I'm familiar with his TV writing) to be a terrific novelist!! I went in to this book not quite knowing what to expect and came out the other side thoroughly entertained! Zip is a wonderfully well-rounded character. As are all the characters! It's a great murder mystery, that's not to heavy (can't do it during covid-19), has great twists and turns and is absolutely plausible! And you get the added bonus of gaining some wonderful insights into SGI Buddhism and how Zip Ono applies her Buddhist lessons to her work as a top-notch Sleuth! My favorite line is when Zip observes, "Destiny is my Watson." Give it a listen, you'll see why. I promise you'll be so glad you did! I've already been recommending this book to ALL my friends and family!! Enjoy!

14 people found this helpful

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Peacefully exquisite and uplifting ...

As for the detective part, this is a first class mystery, with a realistic, satisfying ending.

As for the detective herself, she's the real thing, a very capable, very human, very clever, compassionate, and yet fiercely competent sleuth.

And as for the Buddhist part, I've learned a thing or two from this book that I will incorporate in my own concept of how to live a kind and meaningful life.

Here's a wish that this becomes a series!

13 people found this helpful

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Too preachy and Protagonist is a confused assembly

I was expecting a cool, clear eyed buddhist detective, so that has influenced my expectation. Instead this is a strange mixture of the old trope of a Private Eye that makes terrible life decisions, falls into bed with old lovers cheating on supposedly serious partners, but is also a dedicated SGI practitioner - so it doesn't work well - hardly a protagonist to appeal. SGI Buddhism is unusual in that it actively hunts for converts, and you, Dear Reader, are one of the targets. Preaching to you about the wonders of chanting and SGI Buddhism gets well in the way of the story. Chanting is the response to every challenge, and this emotionally shallow and low personal insight protagonist needs to chant a lot. I found it a real struggle to finish.
The plot is OK, and gets tied up in a neat bow, and many participants are 'shakubuku'ed' into considering chanting, so there's that. Just have a clear view of what you're getting into.

11 people found this helpful

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Detective of the Heart

Why do you do what you do? Or, don’t do what you know you should? Or, most puzzlingly, do what you know perfectly well you shouldn’t? It would be enough if a well-crafted detective novel reimagined the 2017 sex abuse scandal and heart attack death of Roger Ailes (Fox News Founder) as a suicide/murder mystery, examining the wrenching collateral damage of sexual exploitation, particularly on the young and most vulnerable. But John Christian Plummer’s eponymous character in his new novel wants to know both, accompanying us through the sordid details of the latter through an examination into the former derived partly from her Buddhist chanting practice. Among the novel’s many pleasures is Plummer’s gift for creating interesting 3-dimensional characters ripe for growth just before he kills them. And the fueling of a page-turning hard-edged crime detective yarn with a brilliant, self-effacing and ambitious Buddhist is perhaps most interesting in that her principle attribute is one unusual for the genre: compassion. Zip Ono- truth seeking, insecure, lovelorn, human, demonstrates that open-eyed courage in pursuit of justice is a good way of being in the world.

10 people found this helpful

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Zip Ono -- Good Story

Zip Ono is in interesting young prvate detective who has already solved one tough case, but let her policeman boyfriend take the credit. She is now on another puzzling case of the death of a not very nice, important man whose death was ruled a suicide by the police. His widow believes he was murdered and hires Zip to investigate. The case has many lose ends that Zip starts to tie together up to the surprise ending of the story.
When I started this book, I had learned a lot about Buddhism but not Zip’s SGI Buddhism. Learning about this area of Buddhism and hearing useful Buddhism concepts throughout the story was a very nice extra positive feature for me.
There was a feature of the book that I found unpleasant and distractive with the overload by foul language. I have heard it all and read it in other books, but in this story it was far over the edge and I almost stopped reading the book for that reason.
I would rate the language a one but all other parts of the book much higher.

9 people found this helpful

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A Relatable Whodunnit

I honestly couldn't put this book down. Not only is this a complicated and air-tight mystery, the characters as well-developed and relatable. I usually don't love stories with many characters to meet and understand but Zip Ono, Buddhist Detective makes you want to know each character. I'm usually quick to figure out "whodunnit" before it becomes clear in the story but I was so wrong and deeply surprised/shocked by the turn of events. I also learned A LOT about how practical and helpful a Nichiren Buddhist practice is for daily life. Five stars all around. Round of applause to the author and I really hope we see Zip in future volumes.

9 people found this helpful

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Pretty darn good!

I really enjoyed the story. The mystery was well constructed, the characters were complex, and the reader was great! My only issue was that the author was a little heavy-handed on f-bombs and Buddhism, but only a little heavy. On the whole,a great book! I hope to see more of these characters in the future!!!!

8 people found this helpful

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Why I loved listening to this book

First, the characters are authentic. I liked many of them and found even those I disliked very interesting. I was eager to know more about both the characters and the details of how and what had happened from the beginning. It is impressive how the reader skillfully portrays each character with her voice. I grew to be an admirer of Zip Ono and cared about her personal challenges and I hope to get more Zip cases in the future. I was intrigued to learn about Buddhism and to hear about small town details in the Hudson valley.

6 people found this helpful

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Definitely worth a listen!

Great book and also thought the narrator was a perfect fit for the character. I'm looking forward to many more great reads by this author as well as listening to this narrator!!

6 people found this helpful

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Made me pretty uncomfortable

Overhaul the mystery/ detective part of the book it totally fine. It’s nothing too crazy, there is no blood and it’s no bid thriller. It’s kind of slow and nice.

What made me super uncomfortable is that the entire book sounds like a recruiting flyer for some sort of cult.
I had chosen it because of the « bouddhiste » part. But the entire book is about recruiting people. The detective interviews someone and then asks them if they want to join her group. It’s super weird.
At the end it’s pretty much « see? All those people’s life were terrible and they joined our cult and now they are super happy! » honestly it was super creepy

I ended up looking it up online and she is not a Buddhist. She belongs to the SGI which is a branch of Buddhism often accused of being cultish.

Word to the wise. Felt like a recruiting pamphlet

4 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for Deirdre E Siegel
  • Deirdre E Siegel
  • 10-26-21

Hilarious no brainer :-)

Should you enjoy the unbelievable lawlessness of Fortune, Gertie and IdaBelle in Sinful or Stephanie Plum, Lula and Ranger in Jersey this will tick a box.

Disengaging your brain will cause the kick back mode ideal for Zip,
the main interestingly behaved practicing Buddhist character of this amusing murder with mystery and mayhem book which is hopefully the first in a series.

Likeable laughs listen, thanks John :-)