(reviewed by Donna Van Toen)
And now for something completely different… It’s not common to see a novel where astrology plays a major role, but that’s exactly what we’ve got here.
The protagonist, Axel Crowe, is a criminal profiler, finder of missing people and things, damned fine detective, and just for good measure a Vedic astrologer and an excellent palmist as well. When we meet him early on, he is also a follower of a guru, known only as Guruji. Guruji dismisses Crowe early on, but his pithy comments appear throughout the story – which is definitely not the story of an aesthete living in an ashram. There are murders, there is mayhem, and there are plenty of women.
The action takes place all over the map – in Toronto, in New York, in California, and elsewhere. Annand has a good eye for setting tone, a good ear for dialogue, and excellent ability to whip up a fast-paced plot. And he throws in just enough astrology and palmistry to pique our interest. Not gratuitous astrology or palmistry either – it’s an integral part of Crowe’s bag of tricks and definitely a part of the story.
Annand is a seasoned writer of detective stories and this one doesn’t disappoint. It’s fast-paced and has enough twists and turns – as well as enough astrology and palmistry – to keep you turning those pages and distract you from your more mundane chores. I enjoyed it immensely. I did wonder though, how someone of non-astrological bent might relate to it. So I passed it along to a non-astrological friend. The verdict – he liked it too. “But,” he asked, “is all that stuff about palmistry for real?” I assured him it was, and that the author – in addition to being a good writer, was a pretty fine astrologer and palmist as well.
If you like thrillers and detective stories, this one is a terrific read. You may even be able to justify reading it as “study” because chances are that you will learn a few tidbits here and there. My one caution would be: Don’t lend it until you’re really ready to let go of it. When I went to track down my copy, it had already been loaned to a second person and it took me two weeks to get it back so I could do this review. The borrower did, however, give me a pound of cashews by way of an apology. Guruji would not have been pleased, but I’m pretty sure Crowe would have smiled. He’d know that just like cashews, this is a book to indulge in.
Donna Van Toen is an astrologer, teacher, and author of “The Astrologer’s Node Book” and “The Mars Book.” She coordinates the annual State of the Art (SOTA) Conference, and speaks for groups and conferences throughout the world. http://www.donnavantoen.com.
Scorpio Rising, Sextile.com, 2011, 348pp paper $11.99, digital $2.99
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