The Madness of Mercury
by Connie di Marco
on Tour May 7 - June 3
Published by: Midnight Ink
Publication Date: June 8, 2016
Number of Pages: 312
About the Book:
Astrologer Julia Bonatti never thought her chosen profession would bring danger into her life, but her outspoken advice in her newspaper column, AskZodia, makes her the target of San Francisco’s recently-arrived cult leader, Reverend Roy of the Prophet’s Tabernacle. The followers of the power hungry preacher will stop at nothing to quell the voices of those who would stand in his way and Julia’s at the top of his list. She’s willing to bet the charismatic Reverend is a Mercury-ruled individual, and she knows all too well that Mercury wasn’t just the messenger of the gods, he was a trickster and a liar as well.
Life is good for Julia Bonatti. She has a thriving astrology career plus she writes a column for the local paper. After her response to a submitted question involving the cynicism of a cult leader, his practices, and the religion as a whole, Julie finds her world crumbling. Seeking solace and safety, she temporarily stays in the estate of a wealthy pair of elderly ladies, Evandra and Eunice, who are currently under the care of their niece, Dorothy. Things really begin to heat up when Evandra starts displaying odd behavior and Eunice leaves home to join up with the cult leader at his compound.
Honestly, I wasn't really sure about The Madness of Mercury at the beginning. Yes, I read the synopsis and I knew the book would involve astrology to some degree but I wasn't prepare for the amount that was used in the book. As someone who isn't really interested in astrology, I didn't really have anything in common with Julia, it was hard to relate to her. However, as the story progressed, I was able to push the astrology parts aside and focus on the characters and the plot.
The multi-faceted story line kept me engaged and interested. The goings on within the sisters' estate, along with the threats from the cult that invaded San Francisco, will have the reader pushing on with anticipation. The character development and world building was done well and nothing was lacking. The mystery wasn't easily solvable and I found that the couple people I thought could be responsible were not, so the author did a great job building up the mystery without giving anything away early.
Lovers of cozy mysteries will enjoy this first book in the Zodiac Mystery series.
Review copy courtesy of the publisher at no cost in exchange for an honest review.
Read an Excerpt:
As I stood in line at the checkout counter of the bookstore an uncomfortable feeling stole over me. Was I being watched? I turned slowly and surveyed the customers in line behind me. No one looked suspicious. No one turned away suddenly. Just holiday shoppers focused on their own business. When I turned back my eye caught someone standing at a table close by, separated by a metal bar from the line of shoppers. A man, dark hair, black jacket, seemingly immersed in a book he was holding in his hands. No shopping bags in sight. Something about him . . . I mentally shook myself, pushing the thought out of my mind. I was being paranoid. Nerves were getting the better of me.
I paid for my purchase and left. Bundling up against the cold, I retraced my steps and approached the garage entrance. I took the elevator down to the lowest level where I had parked, stepped out and glanced around. In contrast to the crowds of people above on the streets, not a soul was in sight. I felt a frisson of fear. Why was it so deserted? My nerves were just on edge, I decided. I was imagining threats where there were none. I took a deep breath and hurried to my car. I unlocked the door and threw my bags onto the passenger seat. Before I could turn the key in the ignition I glanced in the rearview mirror. A face in a ski mask stared back at me, the eyes bright in the ambient lighting. A gasp caught in my throat. My heart raced as a gloved hand pulled my head back and covered my mouth. I felt the sharp prick of a knife point at my neck. I froze. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t speak.
“Forget about the Prophet. Make sure you keep your big mouth shut or my next visit won’t be so nice,” he growled. He pulled the knife away, let go of my jaw and jumped out of the car.
Meet the Author:
Connie di Marco is the author of the new Zodiac Mystery series from Midnight Ink, featuring San Francisco astrologer Julia Bonatti. Writing as Connie Archer, she is also the author of the national bestselling Soup Lover’s Mysteries from Berkley Prime Crime. Some of her excerpts and recipes can be found 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. She grew up in New England and now lives on the other coast.