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SOMA COUNTY: book review by ISAR’s “International Astrologer” Journal

28 Aug

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000031_00006]If the title looks like it belongs on a novel, well, that’s because Soma County is a novel. Specifically, it’s a crime novel. If you’re now wondering why a crime novel is being reviewed here [ISAR Journal], well, possibly you’ve never encountered Alan Annand before. Annand is an accomplished writer of suspense novels; he is also an accomplished Vedic astrologer with a solid grasp of Eastern and Western astrology, palmistry, and more.

He has imbued his protagonist, Axel Crowe, with this knowledge and set him loose in what he calls his New Age Noir series. This is the third book in that series, but you don’t need to have read the other two to understand Crowe (though, as with an old friend, his character has deepened and become more clear with each novel). And Crowe for the most part is a likeable guy – as is his former guru who is an invisible but very definite presence in this book.

newagenoir 3The plot? A beautiful woman dies at a wine tasting at a California vineyard owned by the woman’s close friend and the friend’s husband. The police assume it was a tainted batch of wine. When Crowe is called in by the friend, he suspects otherwise. Who would want to put the vineyard in jeopardy? Hmm… There are several possibilities – a developer, assorted workers (one of whom turns up missing), and perhaps other vintners hoping to capitalize on this vineyard’s ruined reputation.

But this is no simple whodunit. The action takes you from the Napa Valley to India and back again. And along the way, a black market in body parts adds to the intrigue. Am I going to tell you more? Only that the characters are well developed, the plot is rich and fast-paced, and Crowe is very generous in relaying snippets of astrology, numerology, and Vedic lore. Consider this a painless introduction to some very basic astrological principles as well as a thriller you won’t want to put down.

NewAgeNoir3aaNon-astrological readers tend to appreciate Annand’s books every bit as much as we [astrologers] do, so if you want to sneakily pique somebody’s interest in astrology, do leave this book lying about. And if you haven’t read the first two in the series, consider getting them as well if you like this one. Scorpio Rising and Felonious Monk are equally good.

– Reviewed by Donna Van Toen, August 2016 issue of ISAR’s International Astrologer Journal. (International Society for Astrological Research)

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Alan Annand is an astrologer and writer. You can find his books on Amazon, Apple, Barnes&Noble, Kobo and Smashwords.

Felonious Monk: Axel Crowe is an astrologer action hero

14 Apr

AA_FM_1“Axel Crowe, hero of Alan Annand’s New Age Noir mystery series, is the perfect blend of detective, astrologer, mystic and martial artist. Felonious Monk, the second of the series, engages and entertains in just the right proportions. The intricate plot involves a dead guest at a Vermont ashram, a serial killer of Asian women in New York, and a golden Buddha stolen from a Bangkok temple.

Annand weaves his story with irony, wit, information and insight, not to mention some high action scenes. Crowe is a steady, humble, highly brilliant and somewhat fearless hero. But despite his attractions, he feels no need to prove himself a James Bond, rather, he’s sexually circumspect. (Think hot, but restrained.) It’s hard not to respect the way he lives, with a spiritual practice as rigorous as his martial.”

~ Julie Simmons, Astrology Toronto

Felonious 4http://www.amazon.com/Alan-Annand/e/B0052MM0POhttps://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/alan-annand/id442957999http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/alan-annandhttp://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/Search?Query=Alan+Annandhttps://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/AlanAnnand

Trump’s new book on American immigration…

25 Nov

AppleMark

TRUMP’S NEW BOOK ON AMERICAN IMMIGRATION

I was walking through the mall yesterday when I saw a Muslim bookstore. I was wondering what exactly was in a Muslim bookstore, so I went in to look around.

As I was wandering up and down the racks, the clerk stopped me and asked if he could help me find anything.

I asked him if he had a copy of Donald Trump’s new book on America’s immigration policy, in which he discusses Muslim “refugees” and illegal immigration to the U.S.A.

The clerk replied, “What the hell? Get the fuck out and stay out!”

I said, “Yes, that’s the one. Do you have it in paperback?”

Book review Al-Quebeca: “Annand is a master craftsman of reader anxiety.”

9 Sep

thumb_AQA book review of Al-Quebeca recently appeared on the Serenity Now website, written by Val Tobin. Following is an excerpt:

For Sophie Gillette, Detective-Sergeant Homicide of the Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM), it starts out as a routine investigation of a hit-and-run during a January snowstorm in Montreal. It ends in a terrorist plot to disable the electrical grid, behead a visiting governor, and kill thousands of hockey fans with poison gas. These two events sandwich between them a generous filling of biker wars, arms smuggling by First Nations warriors, militant student activists, drug financiers, and a rogue professor with a doctorate in chemical toxicology.

As if that weren’t enough to keep Gillette occupied, she’s recently suffered the loss of her brother to a covert military operation in Afghanistan, and her mother has turned to the bottle to assuage her grief. She also has to deal with being an attractive woman in a male-dominated work environment. As with author Alan Annand’s other novels, the lead character in his latest offering, Al-Quebeca, has more than a heaping helping of issues with which to deal.

How his detective, Sophie Gillette, follows the trail of brain matter and paint chips from the hit-and-run scene to the terrorist cell makes riveting reading. Annand is a master craftsman of reader anxiety. Much of his magic lies in his painstaking research. As with his other novels, he’s been meticulous in attention to detail, and ensuring what he writes is credible.

He also faced the challenge of writing from a female perspective. When asked about it, Annand says that he’d wanted his protagonist to “face the challenges of discrimination, physical struggle and self-doubt that made the choice of a female lead seem appropriate.” Annand succeeds in not only making Gillette a believable character, but also manages to make the reader forget she was written by a man.

All of the above make Al-Quebeca an exciting, suspenseful novel with well-rounded characters and richness of setting and plot. But what makes it particularly compelling, as well as frightening, is how plausible it all seems. In an April 2013 blog entry, Annand talks about the likelihood of something like this happening, and says, “I wrote the first draft of Al-Quebeca in 2009 and revised it several times since then. Each time it all seems even more inevitable.”

Fans of astrologer/palmist/private investigator Axel Crowe will be delighted to hear that Annand is currently writing a sequel to Scorpio Rising called Felonious Monk. He’s also rewriting his first published novel, an SF mystery set in post-apocalyptic New York, called Antenna Syndrome.

Get Al-Quebeca in Kindle or paperback at www.amazon.com/Al-Quebeca-ebook/dp/B00CHQOY8O 

All other digital formats at www.smashwords.com/books/view/309140 

Read the full original review at:

http://www.serenitynowgifts.com/resources/articles/al-quebeca_book_review.php 

Book Review: Karmic Dates & Momentary Mates

14 Jun

karmic datesThis book by Jessica Shepherd is a lively and thoughtful exploration of what is arguably one of the most significant aspects of many people’s lives – romance. And since romance is often a prelude to marriage and other commitments, our attitude toward it is fertile ground for analyzing the karma we bring to the dating game.

The fifth house is where we gauge the nature of our interest in playing with others. It’s the place where we express our individuality, exercise our creative urges, have fun, and freely engage with those whom we consider appealing. But what appeals to one can be distinctly different from what appeals to another. In this regard, an astrological birth chart is useful in illuminating our individual wants and needs.

Jessica walks us through all possible influences on our fifth house – planets by occupation and rulership of the sign on the fifth cusp, using the 10-planet system of sign lords. Planet by planet, sign by sign, she paints a picture of the dominant influences, describing the manifold ways in which our thoughts, emotions and needs provoke engagement with our karmic dates.

And along with fun, there are responsibilities as well, for not all romantic impulses play out frivolously. Although some seek thrills, others seek guidance, and still others seek knowledge of themselves that can only be discovered through deep reflection in the eyes of a soul mate, whether nascent or full-blown.

Written with warmth and clarity, this book provides useful insight into what we bring to every date – a sense of fun, a need to learn, a sorrow to dissolve – and how we can recognize and understand our playmates on the path.

Buy it on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Karmic-Dates-Momentary-Mates-Astrology/dp/1500892785

Word cloud: SCORPIO RISING

4 Apr

ScorpioRising1“If you like thrillers and detective stories, this one is a terrific read. It’s fast-paced and has plenty of twists and turns – as well as enough astrology and palmistry – to keep you flipping the pages.” ~ NCGR newsletter

Available at Amazon, Apple, Barnes&Noble, Kobo and Smashwords.

FELONIOUS MONK: the Dell Horoscope book review

5 Mar

FM ebook thumb

This book review, written by Chris Lorenz, appears in the April 2015 issue of Dell Horoscope.

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A freelance reporter for The Village Voice gets into trouble when he follows an ex-CIA agent to a spiritual retreat in Vermont. One afternoon he confronts the former agent, accusing him of smuggling stolen foreign antiquities. That night, the reporter is murdered. The ashram manager is accused of the crime but fortunately his friend, astrologer Axel Crowe, believes in his inno­cence and sets out to find the real culprit.

The drama thus unfolds in Felonious Monk, the second of Alan Annand’s “New Age Noir” series. Annand’s hero is not only adept at astrology, but also understands how to use synchronicity to his advantage. He can read palms from a distance and, as a former student of “Guruji”, his thoughts and actions are guided by ancient wisdom. Guruji has also taught him some martial arts, which Crowe has several occasions to use over the course of the story. But this New Age hero also has modern tools to assist him. Want to know who killed the reporter? There’s an app for that.

At 6:05 AM, Crowe opens the astrol­ogy app on his cell phone and asks the question, “Whodunnit?” Now for those who enjoy some good crime fiction, Felonious Monk fits the bill. The book is written almost entirely from the sleuth’s point of view as he works day and night in the shadowy underworld, fighting off surprise attacks and uncov­ering key clues, much like Sam Spade or Mike Hammer. And for the reader who appreciates a touch of mysticism, Felonious Monk also satisfies, especially with the attention given to Eastern religion, the good and bad karma, and the periodic sage quotes from Guruji.

Dell Horoscope April 2015Those with various astrology back­grounds may be stumped by the kind of astrology used in Felonious Monk. Crowe uses the Vedic horoscope, which does not include the outer planets Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, yet he also frequently uses horary principles. This detective arrives at magical deductions from the horary question, “Whodunnit?” but then horary astrology does seem quite magical in the hands of an experi­enced practitioner.

We’re introduced to Crowe’s apparent superpowers in chapter two. He’s giving a lecture on the ancient roots of astrology in India. During the Q&A session a skeptical professor asks, “Can you tell me how many kids I have?” After some snappy exchanges about the merits of the question, Crowe finally states, “You have three children. Boy-girl-boy in that order.” Astonishingly, he’s correct, and the profes­sor shamefully exits. Afterwards, we find out the secret of how Crowe knew the answer. Three questions were asked before the professor’s question, and they were asked by a man, a woman, and another man. The New Age detective connected the dots between the previous three questions and the professor’s children.

Does that actually work in the real world? The narrative is filled with the protagonist’s internal dialogue reminding readers that everything is connected to everything else. His classic film-noir antag­onism with the police is partially shaped by his astrological portrait of the killer, since he can’t tell the police his knowledge is based on a horary question. In the end, he defeats the killer and locates the missing Buddha statue with another horary ques­tion. This is not a spoiler, since we know the killer’s bad karma will eventually catch up with him.

It’s the journey through the pages of this book that is the most rewarding, enjoyable, and sometimes frightening. Crowe’s search takes him to Thailand, where he meets several fascinating characters. We see the culture’s poverty and how it makes some of its people immoral and treacherous. And we see the spiritu­al side of Thailand, its ancient temples and spiritual vistas. Crowe gets little sleep during his jaunts, but he apparent­ly regenerates himself through yoga and meditation. Are Crowe’s amazing abili­ties unique to him, or are they available to anyone who has the right teacher and a good understanding of astrology? Let me know when you find out.

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???????????????????????????????Alan Annand is a Canadian astrologer and palmist with an education spanning both eastern and western astrology. He has diplomas from the American College of Vedic Astrology, as well as the British Faculty of Astrological Studies for whom he was their North American correspondence tutor for several years.

He is also a writer of crime fiction, including his NEW AGE NOIR series (Scorpio RisingFelonious MonkSoma County) featuring astrologer and palmist Axel Crowe, whom one reviewer has dubbed “Sherlock Holmes with a horoscope.”

Websites: www.navamsa.com, www.sextile.com

Read the highlighted reviews of Scorpio Rising on Pinterest.

Buy Annand’s New Age Noir series and other crime fiction on Amazon, Apple, Barnes&Noble, Flipkart, Kobo and Smashwords.

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