The Madness of Mercury by Connie Di Marco
Series: Zodiac Mystery #1
Published by Midnight Ink
Published on: June 8, 2016
Genres: Paranormal Mystery
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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.
I decided that 2016 was going to be the year I gave Cozy Mysteries a chance, and THE MADNESS OF MERCURY was my first selection. I wish I could say that this book sold me on the genre except it did anything but. Now, as a total noob, I obviously have a thing or two to learn about this style of story telling, so some of my misgivings can probably be chalked up to sheer inexperience. That being said, I found that this novel was rife with inconsistencies, and that the puzzle required very little actual solving.
As an avid Speculative Fiction reader, I have no problem buying into vampires and werewolves, but for some reason I struggled to understand a character who turned to astrology for every important decision. For one, I found that the discipline was explored in too much detail, and yet not enough. Connie Di Marco made constant references to “charts” and “houses” however, she never really explained the fundamentals of how it all worked or what it all meant, so that aspect went completely over my head.
Another thing that bothered me were the blatant contradictions. The police came off as complete tools refusing to acknowledge fire bombing, threats or kidnapping as dangers to public safety because for some vague reason they were instructed to leave the Prophet’s Tabernacle alone. Julia strongly believes in her unconventional profession, but discounts a client’s request for a séance as silly, and balks at the possibility of ghosts being real. I mean… pot meet kettle?
The mystery was also pretty uninspired. Other than an initial unexplained death, I had a difficult time understanding where the author was going with her plot. The events were loosely connected at best, and some of them were completely unnecessary such as the arrival of the Gambles’ long lost nephew from Australia. I didn’t care for the protagonist either; she made some pretty derogatory jokes at certain points, and her overall attitude was like nails on a chalkboard.
THE MADNESS OF MERCURY was a complete waste of an afternoon.
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I think you picked the wrong book to start out with as I have heard this one isn’t as good as other cozies. I have it to read and haven’t gotten to it but cozies are different than your average mystery. They are suppose to be more humorous, laid back and just fun to read. No nitty gritty hard to solve cases and you can normally figure out whodunit, though some do surprise me.
So it’s a bummer that your first experience was a bad one. 🙁
I have never read this author so I can’t say that it would stack up with the cozies I read 🙁 I think you would like EJ Copperman, Heather Blake, or Juliet Blackwell. They do a good job of combining cozy and fringe.
Ohhh a complete waste of an afternoon, that is baaad
Oh too bad. I usually pick them on recommendations (one of them is Felicia) or on the crafts they highlight. 🙂 Sorry this one didn’t work for you but do try those that Felicia has recommended.
Melissa (Books and Things) recently posted…The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski
I tried the cozy mystery genre last year and am quite a fan of the genre now, but it took me some time to find my way in the genre, find out what to expect and which books I liked. There are some really good books out there.
It’s a shame your first introduction to the genre wasn’t so good. I have this one for review from netgalley and I hope I’ll enjoy it more than you did. I do think the astrology aspect would go a bit over my head in this book too. I do like learning about new job and hobbies through cozies, but it is nice if the basics gets explained as well.
I do think the policy often acts as incompetent in cozies, that’s pretty normal or to be expected. It’s one od the clichés of cozies, either the police is incompetent or one of the police is the love interest. So the main character has a reason to get involved. It’s refreshing when you find a cozy where the police is neither. Great review!
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I’ve been wanting to try some cozy mysteries too. I’ve heard about some great ones. I think I’m going to get Felicia to recommend some good ones recommended by Karen White or some other narrator i love.
Melanie recently posted…Review: Beyond Ecstasy by Kit Rocha (@mlsimmons, @kitrocha)
I have read some cozy mysteries now and then, but for the most part I’d just rather re-read some Agatha Christie myself! Sorry to hear this one was so bad!
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