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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.
A brilliant crime thriller set in San Francisco, a place near and dear to my own heart, being from the Bay Area, The Madness of Mercury follows Astrologer Julia Bonatti as she’s unwittingly wrapped up in a religious cult’s plot to embezzle money out of its followers under the guise of good, Christian charity.
I absolutely adored this book, not only because it was set in my home state, but because the characters were vivid and unique, very much like the city itself. I look forward to exploring di Marco’s other Julia Bonatti novels and would highly recommend this to crime fans.
Wizard had curled into a fetal position on top of a fuzzy throw close to the fireplace. The wind was buffeting the windows so hard the rain sounded like gravel being thrown against the glass. The logs were blazing and I thanked my stars I could snuggle inside tonight with Wizard and work.
Samantha had forwarded about fifty emails from the newspaper to my own AskZodia email address. As a weekly column, there was space for only three or four questions and answers, but now, the editor was considering running it as a daily feature. To keep the column interesting to as large a group of readers as possible, I like to pick a range of ages and problems.
My first pick was a letter from an older man forced into retirement.
I’ve worked as a bookkeeper in the corporate world my entire life. I’m 65 and my company forced me to retire. I’m in decent shape financially. I have a good pension and savings, but I don’t know what to do with myself. I’ve tried to find part-time work but no luck. I’ve never felt so lost and useless. Do you see any kind of work on the horizon for me? My birth date is May 4, 1944 at 10:43 PM in Baltimore.
Poor guy. Worked his whole life and now shoved aside. The man’s birth chart showed Venus as the oriental planet, that is, the planet rising first before the Sun, a position that can sometimes offer a strong clue to the profession. This man was a natural artist, perhaps a craftsman, with his Mars in Virgo. He was someone with artistic yearnings and capable of patient, detailed work.
Your true artistic abilities have never been recognized, much less nourished. A whole new world can open up for you if you would pursue some form of craftsmanship to produce beautiful things. Jewelry design, working in precious metals, is just one possibility that comes to mind. Please take some classes, perhaps at a local university extension and try your hand. I think you’ll be amazed at your abilities and imagination. Believe me, you won’t look back.
I worked through several more questions and responses and then saved them all. This was hardly a perfect way to practice astrology, but hopefully, my quick judgments and answers would be spot on and help someone head in the right direction. I clicked back to the inbox and realized three more emails had arrived while I had been working.
I didn’t recognize the various senders. My AskZodia address had been set up only for Samantha, but these new emails weren’t from her. My private clients use Julia.Bonatti and my friends use JuliaB. None of them would even know of my AskZodia address. I hesitated. I’m a hopeless non-techie person and rely on my computer for business so I’m very fearful of viruses. I clicked on the button to open the reading pane and scrolled down. A jolt of fear shot through me. The message read, “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.”
About the Author:
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.
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