Friday, August 10, 2018

Tail of the Dragon (A Zodiac Mystery #3)

Author:  Connie di Marco
Genre:  Mystery

Trade Paperback; Digital Book
ISBN #:  9780738751061
Midnight Ink Publishing
336 Pages
$15.99; $11.99 Amazon
August 8, 2018


Julia Bonatti loves the freedom of working for herself as a professional astrologer.  But after receiving several unexpected bills, she considers a temp job offer from her old boss a stroke of luck too good to pass up.  On her first day, the posh law office becomes a crime scene when one of the partners is found dead.  Julia discovers that a series of death threats have been sent to several employees of the firm, and she uses her astrological expertise to discover possible motives.  But before she can convince the authorities of what she knows, the killer strikes again.  Will Julia unmask the culprit before he, or she, takes another life?


Julia Bonatti is a professional astrologer in San Francisco.  She's recently acquired a string of bills that will take more than what she makes to pay off, so she reluctantly accepts a temporary position with the legal firm she once worked for.

On the morning of her first day she hears a woman scream and it's discovered that one of the partners, Jack Harding, is dead, found in his office by one of the staff.  After everyone has been questioned and released to go home, the head partner, David Meyers - who is also the person Julia will be working for - takes her to lunch and tells her he had an ulterior motive in asking her to fill in for his vacationing secretary.  It seems some of the employees have receiving threatening letters and he wants her to quietly see if she can find out who sent them.  While Julia is stunned, she agrees to do what she can.

To add to the situation her late fiance's sister Maggie arrives with some unsettling news: it seems that the day Michael was killed in a hit-and-run in front of their apartment the man across the street was taking random pictures and caught part of the accident on film.  Not much, but enough to where a retired police detective is willing to see what he can find out.

Then her friend Gale is expecting her to attend an art opening, and it's hinted by another friend, Cheryl, that Gale has her eye on the artist.  While Julia is there she sees one of the law firm's attorneys, Nora Layton, speaking with the artist outside, and it doesn't look friendly.

But as Julia keeps on investigating, she learns that there were plenty of people who hated Jack and had reason to want him dead; that there's more to the attorneys in the firm than meet the eye; that Gale's sculptor friend might have secrets of his own, and, in fact, there are even more secrets that someone is desperate to keep hidden, even if it means killing Julia to quiet...

I have read all three books in this series and I have to say that this one is my favorite.  There's plenty of action regarding the main plot, and while I feel that the secondary stories - that of Gale and Julia trying to find out who killed Michael - don't have the "legs" as it were to be very interesting, there was enough going on that it didn't really matter.  I personally feel that this may be, after all, only because they were relegated as a minor part of the story and didn't have a lot to do with the main plot.  Not a big deal, just an opinion.

While we watch Julia struggle with her feelings about Michael and how she's going to be able to move on, we see her new struggle with opening herself up to allowing someone into her life again.  The story has a double message if you look for it; sometimes remaining in the past won't allow you to be part of the future.

There were plenty of twists and turns and a couple of surprises along the way, and even though I figured out the murderer early on, clues are strewn throughout the tale if you look for them; and it was still enjoyable to watch Julia figure it out.  I have to say that the ending was suspenseful enough on its own to make the book worth reading, which is a good thing, and even though the urge may strike some readers, please don't peek ahead.  Some surprises are better left for last.  Highly recommended.


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