Zen Moses

Created by Elizabeth M. Cosin

ZEN (short for Zenara) MOSES is the tough, smartass, intriguingly-named female Santa Monica PI hero in Zen and the Art of Murder (1998), Elizabeth Cosin’s first private eye novel. Zen’s not your typical white-wine sipping sensitive soul female California eye, even if she does own a cat.

Nope. She’s a cigar-smoking, microbrew-quaffing, mountain bike-riding kinda gal, and a breath of (cigar-tinged) fresh air in a crowded field. She’s one tough cookie, a cancer survivor (she lost a lung a few years ago), and a former sports journalist (she gave that up after she lost her temper and slugged a World Series MVP). Mouthy, pushy, and not afraid to get in your face. And just in case, she’s got a psycho sidekick called — get ready for it! — Bobo! So Zen may not be the nice Jewish girl your mom wanted you to settle down with….

“I haven’t read the book yet, but it sounds like a winner,” says fellow rookie P.I. writer Steve Hamilton, creator of Alex McKnight, who first clued me in. “If she hits it big, remember you heard it here first.”

According to her website bio, author Elizabeth M. Cosin was born in Ossining, New York in the shadow of Sing Sing Prison. She now lives in Los Angeles with her cat and can frequently be found belly-up to the bar at the real Father’s Office in Santa Monica, enjoying a microbrew. She is a former investigative reporter, sportswriter and also writes for television. Shows she has written for include Buddy Faro, Snoops, Law and Order Criminal Intent, 24, and Dragnet. At one point, a series based on Zen was even apparently in the works.


  • “Zen Moses is as cool, tough, and hip as they come.”
    — Janet Evanovich
  • “Here’s the deal with Elizabeth Cosin’s Zen and the Art of Murder. It will knock your socks off.”
    — Robert Crais



  • Zen and the Art of Murder
    Zen and her creator impressed us enough that our very first published fiction on this site was an excerpt from Zen’s debut.
Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. Thanks to Jan for her keen eye and her swift kick. I’m grateful for the former, and deserve the latter.

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