Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The Madness of Mercury

Author:  Connie di Marco (a/k/a Connie Archer)
Series:  A Zodiac Mystery #1
Genre:  Cozy Mystery
Publisher:  Midnight Ink
Publication Date:  June 8, 2016

Description:  San Francisco astrologer Julia Bonatti's life is turned upside down when she becomes the target of the city's newest cult leader, Reverend Roy of the Prophet's Tabernacle. Driven out of her apartment in the midst of a disastrous Mercury retrograde period, she takes shelter with a client who's caring for two elderly aunts. One aunt appears stricken with dementia and the other has fallen under the spell of the Reverend Roy. To add to the confusion, a young man claiming to be a long lost nephew arrives. The longer he stays, the more dangerous things become. Is the young man truly a member of the family? Can astrology confirm that? Julia's not sure, but one thing she does know is that Mercury wasn't merely the messenger of the gods―he was a trickster and a liar as well.

My Review

This is the first in a new series by Connie di Marco, who also writes the Soup Lover's Mysteries under the name Connie Archer. This review was a little difficult for me to write because I was torn about how I felt in about the book.  Initially, I was drawn to the book because of the bright, beautifully done cover as well as the book description.  The fact that the protagonist was an astrologer was not something I had seen done before as a theme or occupation for a cozy mystery.

To begin with, this is a very well written first book in a series and if flows very nicely.  It has a steady pace and things just continue to unfold throughout the story.  The author has a very descriptive writing style that draws the reader into the story.  However, unlike the books written under Connie Archer, I didn't feel as if the mystery was that strong.  I felt like it was disjointed.  There was a death at the beginning of the book, then Julia and some of her friends were harassed by a religious group and finally one of her elderly clients was having problems that everyone thought were connect to her health.  It just didn't seem as if all of these were tied together in a way that allowed the reader to see them as being connected.

As for the characters, for the most part I found them to be likable, but in some parts of the book I found the main character to be a little contradictory.  She would advise her friends to do one thing but when she was confronted with something similar she would waive off her own advice.   I thought that Julia being an astrologer was interesting, but at times I thought the book was too heavy with astrology, especially for a lay person, and it distracted from the story and some of my enjoyment.  The secondary characters were interesting and provided for a well rounded cast.  

As I said in the beginning, I struggled with this review because the book was so well written but I just felt that this was not what I was used to reading from this author.  Starting a new series is always difficult and because I am a fan of Connie Archer, I am willing to give the next book a try to see where she goes with the characters and a new mystery.

I was provided an ARC of this book from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.   This did not influence my review and the opinions expressed are my own.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for writing such a great review. I have to check this one out.