The Night Watchman

The Night Watchman keeps the reader absolutely riveted to the story. This is Zimler’s best novel: tightly constructed, driven by realistic dialogue, and with all the action held together in a web of keen psychological insight.
— Sabado (Portugal)
Cover:  The Night Watchman

The Night Watchman
Richard Zimler | 2014


Can a single crime reveal the tragic truth about an entire nation?

Chief Inspector Henrique Monroe of the Lisbon Police Department is not your usual cop. Eccentric, elliptical and stunningly observant, his peculiar behavior at crime scenes is legendary. But his colleagues put up with it because, in the end, Monroe is the best of the best. But he has a double-sided secret. And when he's called to investigate the brutal slaying of well-connected Portuguese businessman Pedro Coutinho, it's not just the murder case that will unravel - but his own identity, too.

As Henrique’s investigations lead him deep into a torrid world of shady political corruption and sexual violence, the details of the case trigger memories from his childhood in rural Colorado - memories he has travelled far, and worked hard, to hide. His behavior becomes even more upsetting and inappropriate than usual, and even his family - his wife, his brother and his two young sons - start to fear for the man they thought they knew.

Henrique struggles to move his investigation forward whilst keeping the walls of his identity from crumbling. And then, another violent crime changes his life forever, destroying any chance he has of continuing to keep his secret . . .

The Night Watchman is a chilling psychological mystery and a uniquely moving portrait of a troubled police detective and his family.


‘The Night Watchman’ and the Dilemma of Living in Portugal
Shiny New Books

Review in the Irish Examiner

Review in Christoph Fischer’s literary blog

Review in Karina Magdalena’s literary blog

Praise for The Night Watchman

“The Night Watchman is a first class psychological thriller, with a plot that races at breakneck speed on its way to a breathless conclusion. It is chilling, masterful and far more than a mere murder mystery. Absolutely unique.”
–ABC Radio (Australia)

“Once you start reading The Night Watchman, you won’t be able to put it down!”
–SIC television (Portugal)

“In The Night Watchman, Richard Zimler spins an intricate web of psychological intrigue. It’s his best novel. Hats off to him!”
–Sábado Magazine (Portugal)

“Meticulously researched especially in its psychological insights into both the perpetrators and victims of child abuse.”
–The Irish Examiner

“A crime story in which nothing is what it seems.  Unique and completely authentic!”
–O Público (chosen as one of the Top 10 books the Year)

“This is more book than books usually are. A deeply reflective and compassionate view of the horrors that people experience as children and how they deal with them as adults. In this case it is worked out skilfully with love but not in a simplistic way but in ways that are complex and believable. All with a gripping story as well.”
–Anonymous review at

Richard Zimler