Review © 2014 by Joyce Mason
My intrigue and delight intensified as I read Scorpio Rising. Not only is it a page-turner; it’s full of information about astrology, palmistry, Ayurveda and other assorted esoteric arts. These ingredients become a powerful potion when stirred with the pointed intuition of protagonist Axel Crowe. He has access to clues as a symbol-wielding private eye way beyond law enforcement’s linked databases. Axel is uncanny, a Sherlock Holmes without the attitude. He’s a near-saintly character whose walk on the straight and narrow has been influenced by his guru of many years who has recently set him free to fly solo. Before we think Axel’s too virtuous, we find he’s got an only- too-human bent for playing the ponies, a vulnerability that makes him believable any time he veers too close to the edge of almost too good to be true. And in the clinch, he will fight crime in a more literal sense.
There are two things I enjoyed most about the book. First, there are three places and subplots that are alternated throughout the chapters. Initially, I thought this would be confusing, but instead, Alan Annand braids them into one intriguing, tension-increasing story line. As the suspense mounted, I kept sensing and even getting inklings about how the three scenarios would all come together, yet I was still pleasantly surprised with the denouement.
Second, Annand’s sense of humor, especially in naming his characters and in the occasional wordplay thrown over Axel’s shoulder, kept me smiling and enjoying, page after page. This intelligent, versatile author’s eclectic experience on numerous subjects is presented in the most casual and effective way. I felt like saying, “I knew that!” even when I did only because the author gave me a course in a nutshell in a few preceding sentences.
I can barely wait to read #2, the next installment in the Axel Crowe series, called Felonious Monk. Axel Crowe has won a place in my detective hall of fame on the first try. Author Alan Annand is one of my favorite new finds. Highly recommended!
For more fiction and humor by Alan Annand, visit his website, sextile.com.
Cardinal Grand Cross UpdateIt's just around the corner! The Cardinal Grand Cross reaches its peak on April 22-23. Astrologer Anne Beversdorf, trained in both Western and Vedic astrology, has a metaphor about the Grand Cross and how we can expect to experience it in her latest newsletter that's the best I've heard yet. It's free to subscribe to Anne's Stariel Astrology Newsletter, and since this is just one of her brilliant observations and interpretations, I encourage you to consider it.