by: Connie di Marco
Series: Zodiac Mystery
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Release Date: October 8, 2020 (re-release)
Publisher: Suspense Publishing
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The Zodiac Mysteries feature San Francisco astrologer, Julia Bonatti, who never thought murder would be part of her practice. Julia sought answers and found solace in astrology after the death of her fiancé in a hit and run accident. Since then, she’s successfully built a clientele of the city’s movers and shakers.
In The Madness of Mercury, Julia’s outspoken advice in her newspaper column, AskZodia, makes her the target of a recently-arrived cult preacher who advocates love and compassion to those less fortunate. But the power-hungry preacher is waging war on sin and his Army of the Prophet will stop at nothing to silence those who would stand in his way. Julia is at the top of his list.
I went into reading The Madness of Mercury with an open mind. I quickly realized I was in over my head. Astrology is a true science and for a novice like me, very confusing. During her meetings with clients, Julia gives them details of their charts, discussing planets, houses, and whatnot. Try as I might, I couldn't understand any of it. In fact, in order for me to truly get into the book, I had to dismiss any discussions of Astrology.
As a main character, I liked Julia. She's kind, caring, and very determined. She goes out of her way to help her friends and even her clients. At times, she doesn't even think of her own safety. We don't see an in-depth relationship with her friends, but you do get a sense of how they all care for one another. The secondary characters to this storyline are intriguing if a little eccentric at times. I must admit they truly made the book. Evandra Gamble may be an octogenarian, but she does have her spitfire moments.
Julia has recently started a column in the San Francisco Chronicle called Ask Zodia. People write in to the newspaper and ask her for advice regarding things currently going on in their lives. They include their date of birth as a means for her to see what the planets and stars think they should do. It never occurred to Julia or anyone at the newspaper that her small little column could put her life and livelihood in jeopardy. But that is exactly what happens when Julia unconsciously goes against Reverend Roy and his Prophet’s Tabernacle.
Connie has this ability to draw you in and become invested in the characters and story. The mystery was one I didn't see coming. Perhaps I got distracted by the science found in the book or maybe it was simply that I found myself enjoying the story and not thinking about the who and why. In the end, I did get a general understanding of what was going on with Mercury and why certain events occurred.
**Received a copy of the book courtesy of the publisher and voluntarily reviewed it.**
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You can read an excerpt from The Madness of Mercury and my interview with Connie here.
Writing as Connie Archer, she is also the author of the national bestselling Soup Lover’s Mysteries from Berkley Prime Crime. You can find her excerpts and recipes in The Cozy Cookbook and The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook. Connie is a member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers and Sisters in Crime.
Places to find Connie di Marco: