More About the Author
Richard Zimler was born in Roslyn Heights, a suburb of New York, in 1956. After earning a bachelor's degree in comparative religion from Duke University (1977) and a master's degree in journalism from Stanford University (1982), he worked for eight years as a journalist, mainly in the San Francisco Bay area. In 1990, he moved to Porto, Portugal, where he taught journalism for sixteen years, first at the College of Journalism and later at the University of Porto.
Richard has published nine novels over the last 17 years. In chronological order, they are: The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon, Unholy Ghosts, The Angelic Darkness, Hunting Midnight, Guardian of the Dawn, The Search for Sana, The Seventh Gate, The Warsaw Anagrams and The Night Watchman. His novels have appeared on bestseller lists in 12 different countries, including the USA, Great Britain, Portugal, Italy, Brazil and Australia. His books have been published in 23 languages.
Richard has won numerous prizes for his work, including the Marquis de Ouro prize in 2010 - as Book of the Year in Portugal - for The Warsaw Anagrams. This prize is voted on by high school teachers and students. He also won the 2009 Alberto Benveniste prize in fiction for Guardian of the Dawn (for best Jewish-themed novel published in France), and the 1998 Herodotus Award, for The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon (Best First Historical Novel). Additionally, The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon was picked as 1998 Book of the Year by three British critics. Hunting Midnight, The Search for Sana, The Seventh Gate and The Warsaw Anagrams have all been nominated for the International IMPAC Literary Award, the richest prize in the English-speaking world. He was also granted a 1994 U.S. National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship in Fiction.
The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon, Hunting Midnight, Guardian of the Dawn and The Seventh Gate form the "Sephardic Cycle," a group of inter-connected - but fully independent - novels about different branches and generations of a Portuguese Jewish family.
His latest novel, The Night Watchman, was a bestseller for three months in Portugal during the fall of 2013. It will be published in the UK, Ireland, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand in June of 2014.
A short film he wrote and acted in - The Slow Mirror - was awarded the Best Drama award at the 2010 New York Downtown Short Film Festival.
When Richard is not writing, he enjoys gardening at his weekend house in the north of Portugal.
Here is a synopsis of my new novel, THE NIGHT WATCHMAN:
When can a single crime reveal the depth of the moral crisis undermining a nation?
July 6, 2012... Chief Inspector Henrique Monroe is summoned to a luxurious Lisbon mansion to investigate the slaying of a construction magnate named Pedro Coutinho. The handsome 59-year-old has been gagged so cruelly that he choked to death before bleeding out from the bullet wound in his gut. On the wall behind him, five Japanese characters - ディアーナ - have been written in blood. After questioning the victim's guilt-ridden daughter, Henrique comes to believe that Coutinho might have been killed for defending the troubled teenager from the violent sexual advances of a family friend. And yet files on a hidden flash-drive he soon finds indicate that the victim may have been silenced by any one of a number of politicians whom he'd bribed in order to win construction contracts.
Henrique has occasionally alienated his police colleagues with his extraordinarily observant but wildly erratic behavior at crime scenes, and as he investigates Coutinho's murder, his conduct becomes ever more peculiar. We come to learn that he was severely abused during his childhood in rural Colorado and that a uniquely intuitive and highly protective guardian took over his mind and body when the mistreatment became impossible to bear. As Henrique struggles to keep the walls of his identity from crumbling in, another member of the victim's family dies under mysterious circumstances, destroying any chance he has of continuing to keep his alter-ego a secret.
In this uniquely moving portrait of a troubled police detective, Zimler has created a chilling psychological mystery that explores the ongoing effects of child abuse. Along the way, he has also given us a sensitive portrait of contemporary Portugal, a country just waking up to how badly it has been betrayed by a corrupt elite and suffering under the weight of its own historical errors.