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A thrilling astrology themed cozy

The Madness of Mercury: A Zodiac Mystery #1

by Connie di Marco

Midnight Ink

Mystery & Thrillers

Pub Date: June 8, 2016


Julia Bonatti is a skilled astrologer living and working in San Francisco. Her “Ask Zodia” newspaper column is extremely popular. But when Julia's advice pits her against the city's newest religious zealot, Reverend Roy, he and his followers systematically target her as well as occult practitioners in the city. As the attacks grow in ferocity and destructiveness, Julia's options are limited. Politicians receiving vast donations from Reverend Roy are putting pressure on the police to leave Reverend Roy's followers alone despite the damage they are causing. On top of everything, Julia's landlord is threatening her with eviction if the disturbances continue.

At the same time, Julia is helping a client who is struggling to care for two elderly aunts – one who appears to be suffering from symptoms of dementia and the other who is falling prey to Reverend Roy's promises. When you add in a young man claiming to be a long lost relative of the two wealthy elderly women, Julia has her hands full.

Although I am not all that familiar with astrology, it was clear to me that Connie di Marco knows the subject well. Julia approaches her clients' issues with professionalism and applies astrology in a clear and realistic way. It adds an intriguing flavor to the novel, and makes Julia a fascinating and memorable character, particularly when combined with her courage and compassion.

The power exerted by Reverend Roy and his followers, the group's accumulation of wealth, the attacks on naysayers and the hidden abuse of members was chillingly reminiscent of what has been reported of the scientologists. It is extremely frightening when wealth allows a group to menace detractors unhindered by police. As the novel progressed, I grew more and more afraid for Julia facing such a powerful foe.

It was very clear from early on, that Reverend Roy was acquiring vast amounts of property by convincing rich elderly individuals to join his retirement commune in exchange for signing over their estates. Money is also the motivator in the less obvious mystery of who is threatening Evandra and why she is suddenly showing strange symptoms.

The Madness of Mercury is an engrossing novel that is difficult to put down. Julia Bonatti is an admirable lead, both courageous and practical. Julia attempts to prevent a murder. This is a nice departure from the standard amateur detective novel which begins with a murder and where the lead is the main suspect. I enjoyed The Madness of Mercury immensely.


The Madness of Mercury is available for preorder and will be released June 8, 2016.

I received a copy of The Madness of Mercury from the publisher and in exchange for an honest review.



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.

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