Tag Archives: new age noir

Who wants to be astrologically gifted?

5 Dec

In reality, who doesn’t want to be astrologically gifted?

Are you still trying to find an appropriate gift to please that astrologer in your life this season? Here are a few options, from fiction to non-fiction, in both western and Vedic traditions.

Even non-astrologers who enjoy crime fiction will love the New Age Noir mystery series. Some reviewers have said the books are as educational as they are entertaining. Make it a unique gift for that special friend.

new-age-trilogy-v4-crop1NEW AGE NOIR: the Trilogy

Axel Crowe is a criminal analyst who applies esoteric principles taught by his enigmatic guru. A finder of wayward people and stolen possessions, Crowe profiles subjects in a distinctly unique manner, using astrology, palmistry and other unconventional techniques. Facts are gross, but the truth is subtle, his guru repeats like a mantra, and although motives for murder lie buried deep, a righteous and relentless man will inevitably unearth them.

This trilogy “box set” is available only in digital format, from Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and Smashwords.

For those who prefer trade paperback, the three titles in this set (Scorpio Rising, Felonious Monk, Soma County) can be purchased individually at Amazon. See descriptions below.

sr3-ebook-thumbSCORPIO RISING

Axel Crowe probes the killing of a New York City heiress, and discovers her death is linked to two other murders on the same day: a dot-com millionaire in San Francisco, and the team leader of a government counter-terrorist project in Los Alamos, New Mexico.

Scorpio Rising is a gripping murder mystery with a Hitchcockian twist.” ~ The Mountain Astrologer

Scorpio Rising does for astrology what The Da Vinci Code did for art history.” ~ Suite101 Book Reviews

“Annand weaves a working knowledge of a metaphysician’s world view into each page.” ~ Steven Forrest

“Axel Crowe is Agent 007 for the New Age.” ~ Midheaven

“An intelligent hero, multi-faceted in his approach to crime solving.” ~ North American Jyotish Newsletter

“Scorpio Rising is an engaging mystery with a momentum that sends you rushing to the end” ~ Horoscope Guide

“For those with a mystical blend and more than a touch of Scorpio darkness, you’re in for a treat.” ~ Dell Horoscope

fm-ebook-thumbFELONIOUS MONK

Axel Crowe investigates the murder of a reporter at a Vermont ashram. His esoteric sleuthing reveals a series of Manhattan rape-murders dating back 12 years, with connections to sex trafficking, drug smuggling and the theft of an ancient golden Buddha.

“Alan Annand tells a good, gritty tale of murder, pursuit, and finally justice. The coolest thing for me is that the detective is an astrologer and a mystic. The normal sort of clue-following fun is aided and abetted by the most practical use of various divinatory arts. There’s just enough technical astrology in the pages to make it plausible and real without ever lapsing into a tutorial. That’s a hard balancing act to get right and Annand nails it.” ~ Steven Forrest

“Incredible power as a poet in prose. A page turner and a seriously magnificent piece of work.” ~ Michael Lutin

SOMA COUNTY

Axel Crowe searches for a missing person in Napa Valley and discovers a black market in body parts. When his client’s friend is also murdered, Crowe’s investigation leads from California to India and a little man with large appetites, big dogs and grand ambitions.

“Unlike anything else you can find in crime fiction, this novel portrays an investigator using an esoteric toolkit – astrology, palmistry, numerology – in a serious way that shines new light on the so-called occult arts. All of this is written in language that’s economic and evocative, terse and tension-filled, with memorable descriptions of people and places. And when the action kicks in, as it inevitably does in all of Annand’s novels, the genre shifts from mystery to thriller to full-on action where, frankly, the pages can’t quite be turned fast enough.” ~ an Amazon reviewer

PARIVARTANA YOGA

(non-fiction)

Parivartana Yogas are said to be among the most powerful of planetary combinations, having the capacity to link the effects of two astrological houses in a chart. However, aside from what we find explicitly in Mantreswara’s Phala Deepika, there’s little in the literature – neither in the many classics of Jyotisha, nor in modern books – to help us understand these yogas.

Illustrated throughout with case studies, this comprehensive reference text describes the effects for each of the 66 combinations of house lord exchange, also known as mutual receptions.

Available in digital format at all online retailers, trade paperback at Amazon.

stellar-thumbSTELLAR ASTROLOGY

(non-fiction)

Applications in Vedic astrology: a varied collection of essays on time-tested techniques, in-depth celebrity profiles, and analysis of mundane events.

This is an educational and entertaining book for both seasoned practitioners and serious students of Jyotisha.

Available in digital format at all online retailers, trade paperback coming in 2017.

mrv8-midMUTUAL RECEPTION

(for western astrologers)

As a concept, mutual reception is almost 2,000 years old, yet very little has been written about it. Meanwhile, 43% of us have a mutual reception by sign in our birth chart, ie, when two planets simultaneously occupy each other’s sign.

It’s a powerful combination linking the effects of two houses in a chart, yet one of the least understood patterns in astrology. This book, an invaluable reference for any astrologer’s library, describes the effects for each of the 66 combinations of house lord exchange.

A number of techniques make it clear how to analyse the strength of each mutual reception, identify the control planet and the affected areas of life, and determine the outcome.

Available in digital format at all online retailers, trade paperback at Amazon.

~~~

Alan Annand, astrologer and palmist, is a graduate of the American College of Vedic Astrology and the British Faculty of Astrological Studies. He is the author of several books, both fiction and non-fiction. 

alan-varanasi-hotelHis NEW AGE NOIR crime novels feature astrologer and palmist Axel Crowe, whom one reviewer has dubbed “Sherlock Holmes with a horoscope.”

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

You can find his books on Amazon, Apple, Barnes&Noble, Kobo and Smashwords.

How to post a book review on Amazon

24 Oct

dirty-dozen

How to post a book review on Amazon

If you’ve never posted a book review on Amazon before, here are the simple steps to follow (and make an indie writer’s day):

First, go to Amazon.com, because that’s where all of the readers are.

See the search field at the top of the Amazon page and use the pull-down menu on the left to select “Books.” Type in the author’s name, <enter> and this will take you to the author’s books.

Click on the book you want to review. This takes you to another page, with a description of the book and some information about the author. Scroll down to the review section, where you’ll see a graph showing reviews with 1-5 star ratings. Click on the “Write a customer review” button to the right.

That takes you to the book’s review page. If it’s a novel, you’ll see questions. (If the book is non-fiction, these questions won’t appear):

  • How would you describe the plot?
  • Which of these words best describe the mood?
  • How would you describe the pace?
  • How would you describe the characters?

Several boxes are provided under each question to cover your probable responses. Click one under each question and move on.

You’ll next be offered to submit a 1-5 star rating. As soon as (but not before) you click a number of stars, a comment field will appear just below that, where you can write anything from a sentence to a few paragraphs of review.

As soon as you start writing comments, another field will appear below that, with space to write a headline for your review. Write something brief and/or catchy, so that all three items (headline, body, rating) will appear together once posted.

Once you’ve entered all the requisite fields, click the yellow “Submit” button in the lower right, and that’s it.

Thank you for your support!

 

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)

~~~

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

SOMA COUNTY: New Age Noir no.3

8 Oct

NewAgeNoir3A

It’s coming. The third installment in Alan Annand’s NEW AGE NOIR series, featuring astrologer extraordinaire Axel Crowe, will be released Fall 2015.

With rave reviews from The Mountain Astrologer, Stephen Forrest, Dell Horoscope, Michael Lutin and Horoscope Guide, this series delivers literary and esoteric crime fiction unlike anything else you’ve ever read.

The 5-star reviews: https://www.pinterest.com/alanannand/scorpio-rising/

“Annand portrays an investigator using an esoteric toolkit – astrology, palmistry, numerology – in a serious and effective way that shines new light on the so-called occult arts. Sherlock Holmes with a horoscope. ” ~ an Amazon reviewer

 

FELONIOUS MONK: the NCGR book review

2 Jan

FM ebook thumbThis book review, written by Donna Van Toen, first appeared in the Jan/Feb 2015 issue of the NCGR Memberletter.

~~~~~~~~~

Axel Crowe is back! And who is Axel Crowe? He’s the astrologer-detective who solves murders while throwing out snippets of Vedic astrology, amazing his friends and irritating his enemies in what Alan Annand calls his NEW AGE NOIR series.

While Felonious Monk is the second book in the series, it won’t take you long to get to know Axel, so don’t think you have to read the first book in the series (Scorpio Rising) before reading this one. Just jump right in – you can go back to the first book later.

The story opens at an ashram in Vermont where a retreat is in progress. However, not all of the participants are exactly peaceful. There’s a reporter there hot on the trail of a story. There’s also an ex-CIA agent who specializes in smuggling antiquities in and out of countries. We first meet them as the smuggler is slugging the reporter. Fortunately, they are observed by the head of the ashram. The smuggler is sent on his way; the reporter is taken back to the retreat house to deal with the damage to his head. Later, the reporter is found dead.

Crowe is called in by the head of the ashram, who knows him from time spent in India, where they had studied Vedanta together. In fact, Crowe chose the electional chart for the ashram. So of course he’s going to help. But before he can do much, the police arrest his friend for the murder.

The plot twists and turns like a winding road – from Montreal to Vermont and New York, to Thailand, to Maine and back again. Along the way, there is the NYC Riverside rapist, sex trafficking, heroin smuggling, and of course all those antiquities being smuggled in and out of countries. And Crowe who, with the aid of astrology, manages to solve a number of mysteries and close some cases.

Annand writes well. His descriptions of people and places are vivid. The plot grabs you and refuses to let you put the book down. And Guruji’s pithy sayings show up at regular intervals, providing wisdom and lead-ins to astrology and Vedic metaphysics. The mix is good – intense and dark in spots, with enough levity and irony to keep it from being too dark.

If you like crime fiction as well as astrology, come and hang out with Axel Crowe. If you’re like me, you’ll never settle for Alex Cross again. In fact, I’m anxiously awaiting the third book in this series, which is due out in 2015. By the time you finish this book, you may be too.

ncgr
The National Council for Geocosmic Research, Inc, is a nonprofit, tax-exempt, education and research organization dedicated to raising the standards of astrological education and research. For more info, visit their site at http://geocosmic.org/

Donna Van Toen is a Canadian astrologer and organizer of the annual SOTA Conference that brings together Canadian and American astrologers, typically on the cusp of the Ontario/New York state border. For more info, visit her site at http://donnavantoen.com/

~~~~~~~~~

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.

~~~~~~~~~

FELONIOUS MONK: book review by Horoscope Guide

1 Nov

This review first appeared in HOROSCOPE GUIDE, August 2014, and is reprinted here with the permission of editor and reviewer Ken Irving:

~~~~~~~~~

A little over two years ago I reviewed a mystery novel called Scorpio Rising, by Alan Annand. This title was actually the first in what he calls his “New Age Noir” series, and now the second installment, Felonious Monk, arrives just in time for a review in this issue of Horoscope Guide.

The hero of the series is a Canadian named Axel Crowe, a private investigator licensed in all 50 states of the USA (and presumably all provinces in Canada). Although like any detective he knows the ways and wiles of criminals, he has one thing extra going for him: he’s what might be called a trained intuitive.

By this I mean that, although his primary tools are much the same as those of any good private investigator, possibly the most important item in his toolkit is astrology. He uses both natal and horary astrology, added to which is an intuitive awareness of a symbolic ebb and flow in the environment around him. The astrology he uses is “Vedic,” the astrology of India, and the two astrological techniques just mentioned are integrated into that ebb and flow, with astrology and its symbols interacting with various elements of the spaces in which Crowe finds himself over the course of his investigations.

Here’s an example of how this works – at a point when Crowe is in the apartment of the main victim, Seth Greer, whose murder he’s investigating. One notable thing about Greer’s murder is that within a day or two after he was killed, someone has systematically gone through the offices of The Village Voice (where Greer worked as a freelance journalist), his apartment, and anyplace else where he might have used a computer or saved a file. By the time these mysterious intruders are finished, they’ve destroyed or stolen hard drives, paper copies of Greer’s work and notes, and anything else that might have a word or two on it.

A cursory inspection of documents remaining on the premises (file folders scattered across the floor) reveals little of obvious interest, but Crowe sits down and begins to organize a search based on his astrological thinking:

He sat for a moment at Greer’s desk and surveyed the mess. What was he looking for? A clue to what got Greer killed.

With too many file folders to look through, he decided to narrow his choices using ruling planets – the day lord, the ruler of the Moon sign, and the Ascendant lord. Monday was ruled by the Moon, whose color was white. That was no help. There were too many off-white folders.

The Moon was in Taurus, ruled by Venus whose color was blue. So blue folders might be relevant…

The blue folders do not yield much of interest either, so Crowe opens up his smart-phone astrology app and takes a look:

…Documents were signified by the third house, Libra. Its lord Venus was in Taurus with the Moon in the 10th house.

Since that was a fixed sign, the files had to be nearby. But Saturn, which sometimes obscured things from sight, occupied the third house. Perhaps near a doorway, which the third house also ruled…

He looked in the hallway closet adjacent to the entrance. Several jackets and coats hung on a rod. Near the back of the closet was a long black winter coat.

Saturn in the 3rd house: something stiff in the arms. He felt inside the coat and withdrew three blue file folders that had been rolled together and hidden inside the coat sleeve. Each file was almost half an inch thick. He immediately got the sense this was what he’d been looking for….

And indeed it was. By outlining an example of Crowe’s astrological thinking, I want to emphasize that I’m doing this only because I’m writing for an astrological audience that might find this interesting. But I don’t want to give the impression that the novel is like this, page after page.

Astrology or not, this is a murder mystery through and through, and you don’t have to know anything about astrology to read it. Crowe shuttles back and forth from locations that range from New York to Vermont to Thailand, among many other locales, all in pursuit of a motive for the killing of Greer, a muckraking reporter who was thrown off a cliff to his death during a peaceful week-long retreat at an ashram run by a friend of Crowe’s. The local police quickly decide that Crowe’s friend is the culprit, and throw him in jail, so Crowe is off on the trail of the real killer.

Greer’s murder is not the whole of it, however, and by the time we’re a few chapters into the story, Crowe is actually investigating Greer’s murder while simultaneously consulting with the NYPD on several unsolved serial killings. In order to get needed information for the Greer case from the police, he works a trade by consulting on the unsolved killings, and at times the two cases seem destined to intertwine, while at other times they seem to have nothing to do with each other. Crowe sticks with it, however, until every last murderer is dead or in jail, and every last murder is solved. I guarantee that if you pick this up you won’t be able to set it aside.

With Felonious Monk, Alan Annand has written a worthy successor to Scorpio Rising, and by the time you finish this fast-paced, wide-ranging tale you’ll be anxiously waiting for the next book in his New Age Noir series.

~ Ken Irving

Ken Irving, editor of Horoscope Guide, is an astrologer specializing in locality mapping, Astro*Carto*Graphy, and related subjects. See his website for more information.

~~~~~~~~~

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 Rising, Felonious Monk, Soma County) featuring astrologer and palmist Axel Crowe, whom one reviewer has dubbed “Sherlock Holmes with a horoscope.”

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.

~~~~~~~~~

 

 

SCORPIO RISING book review: “Speak to the stones and the stars answer.”

28 Jun

SR3 ebook thumb7th-star heaven! 

Every now and again, I get a book review that makes me feel guilty. First, it’s so good I don’t believe it, so I keep going back to re-read it. Make sure there’s no hidden sarcasm, some kind of back-handed compliment.

But no, it is true and well written, as Papa would say. I get a warm fuzzy feeling from re-reading it. Somewhere out on the west coast, a smart sensitive woman is stroking me, and I like it.

But it reminds me again of why I write for this niche – because I know my tribe is out there, and I write for them.

Here’s what Laura of Oregon posted on Amazon:

Seven stars (out of five) to Alan Annand!

As book one in a series named “New Age Noir,” Scorpio Rising lives up to its series name in every way. With spare, yet brilliant prose, multi-faceted character development and seamless dialogue, the complex stories within stories unfold, and suspense gathers momentum surrounding the many esoteric and intuitive profiling techniques of the humble and honest protagonist, Axel Crowe.

I will begin book two, Felonious Monk, immediately. Then I will set about reading everything Alan Annand has written to date. His intelligence, his mastery of his craft, his humor, and his keen insight into the precarious toe dance on the high-wire we humans are set upon to undertake is profound.

I have to say, without explanation, that there is a certain subtle balance inherent throughout this book. While in any murder mystery there are the inevitable terrible and dark elements, in Scorpio Rising the presence of the light and conscious elements are woven into the vast tapestry that comprises all life – not as opposites, not as existence being black or white, nor it being good or evil – but as necessary parts of a grand dance in which everything is connected in mysterious ways.

As poet Theodore Roethke wrote, “Speak to the stones and the stars answer.”

 ~~~~~~~

Alan Annand is an astrologer and writer of crime fiction, including his New Age Noir series featuring astrologer and palmist Axel Crowe, a criminal profiler with a horoscope.

AmazonAppleBarnes&NobleSmashwords

  ~~~~~~~


SR for print spread v3 jan 2013 web

New Age Noir: #1 Scorpio Rising, #2 Felonious Monk

8 Feb

thumb_SRThe long-awaited sequel to Scorpio Rising, #1 in the New Age Noir series by Alan Annand, is coming soon.

In Scorpio Rising, criminal profiler Axel Crowe investigates the killing of a New York heiress, and discovers her death is linked to two other murders on the same day: a dot-com millionaire in San Francisco, and the team leader of a CIA counter-terrorist project in Los Alamos, New Mexico. A finder of wayward people and stolen possessions, the enigmatic Crowe profiles subjects in a distinctly unique manner – using astrology, palmistry and other esoteric techniques. Facts are gross, but the truth is subtle, Crowe’s guru used to say. And although the truth behind this three-way conspiracy lies buried in the past, Crowe is relentless until he uncovers it.

The reviews thus far:

Scorpio Rising does for astrology what The Da Vinci Code did for art history.” ~ Suite101 Book Reviews

Scorpio Rising by Alan Annand, the first of his New Age Noir series, is a gripping murder mystery with a Hitchcockian twist.” ~ The Mountain Astrologer

“Annand is a terrific mystery writer who weaves a convincing working knowledge of a metaphysician’s world view into each page.” ~ Steven Forrest

“Axel Crowe, the brilliant investigator of Annand’s Scorpio Rising, is Agent 007 for the New Age noir set.” ~ Astrology Toronto

“Annand has done a masterful job in creating a whole new type of hero – astrologer as detective.” ~ North American Jyotish Newsletter

“Incredible power as a poet in prose – in the style of Hammett and Hemingway – to describe places and people.” ~ Michael Lutin

“If you like detective stories featuring astrology and palmistry, this is a terrific read that will keep you flipping the pages.” ~ NCGR Newsletter

“Scorpio Rising is an engaging mystery with a momentum that sends you rushing to the end.” ~ Horoscope Guide

“A fascinating murder mystery, and a wonderful book for anyone with even a little knowledge of astrology and palmistry to enjoy!” ~ Ray Merriman

“For those with a mystical blend and more than a touch of Scorpio darkness, you’re in for a treat.” ~ Dell Horoscope

winged helmet

For more on these reviews, see Scorpio Rising on Pinterest. 

Because Mercury retrograde doesn’t always spell disaster, Scorpio Rising will be available for the whole of February and March as well, for an introductory price of only $0.99, after which the price will return to $2.99. 

The ebook is available at Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, KoboSmashwords and Sony.

The second installment in the New Age Noir series will be released on April 6, 2014. Pre-orders are now available at Apple, Barnes & Noble and Kobo.

thumb_FMIn Felonious Monk, a  reporter is found dead on a Vermont ashram. Summoned by an old friend who runs the retreat, astrologer Axel Crowe barely has time to assess the situation before the police arrest his friend for murder.

Believing him innocent, Crowe suspects instead a mysterious devotee who may be ex-CIA, and the beautiful Thai woman who accompanied him to the retreat. But when Crowe follows them to New York, the woman disappears and the man threatens to make Crowe disappear.

In exchange for NYPD help, Crowe agrees to take a look at a cold case file – the Riverside Rapist – who killed eight Asian women over 12 years. The timing of the murders intrigues Crowe, who sees in it an astrological signature of the killer.

Coincidence or not, the cold case overlaps some of the stories the reporter was working on – sex trafficking, heroin smuggling and the theft of religious antiquities  – all from Southeast Asia. None of it hangs together until Crowe goes to Thailand, and then it all makes perfect, horrible, sense.

Note: You can subscribe to future posts by clicking the [+ Follow] button in the lower right corner of this page.

Until then, remember, Mercury retrograde isn’t all bad.

~~~~~

Scorpio Rising: book review by Dell Horoscope

22 Apr

SCORPIO RISING, by Alan Annand

What astrology needs to show its authentic depth is a super-hero in the tradition of Sherlock Holmes, Sam Spade, and Hercule Poirot. Since astrologers have inside information about how the universe works beyond the apparent three dimensions of our manifest world, they should make great detectives. So far, our justice system remains skeptical about how astrologers might help, but a few writers have begun creating protagonists who use the celestial arts to solve murder cases.

Author Alan Annand has created Axel Crowe, an astrology-savvy hero in Scorpio Rising. In this dramatic tale, three murders take place simultaneously in three separate locations across the USA. Axel Crowe has been hired to investigate one of those murders. At first, all he knows about is the one that took place in New York. The other two murders take place in San Francisco and Los Alamos, New Mexico.

Due to the wealth of all three of the murder victims, and the anti-terrorism work of the victim from Los Alamos, all kinds of police investigators and FBI agents are called in. Naturally, they don’t have a clue about whodunit, but Axel Crowe starts figur­ing it out after 300 pages or so. His first insight comes from noticing a variety of threes and triangle shapes during his investigation. The trail is interrupted by some violence, a few sex scenes, and a tangled narration that jumps from one location to the other every few pages.

When he arrives at a place relevant to the case, he adds up the digits in the address to get a numerological clue. He notices whether a corporate building is designed according to vastu (akin to feng shui) principles. When he’s offered a drink, he asks for mango juice (“rich in anti-oxidants”). He quickly sizes peopl­e up according to their ayurvedic body type or the shape of their hands and fingers. He reads signs, coincidences, and is always ready with an appropriate quote from his guru. What more could you ask for in a New Age hero?

Most importantly, Axel Crowe has an iPhone with an astrology app. When he arrives on a scene, he checks the current transits. He can guess a suspect’s rising sign with uncanny accuracy, and thus also derives a natal horoscope to check out character and alibis. As it turns out, the murder he’s investigating took place when Scorpio was rising, hence the title. Most people associate Scorpio with death, sex, and the dark side, and much of this book’s content provides ample fulfillment of this connection.

Take one of the main characters, Carrie Cassidy. In her opening scene, she meets a handsome, studly fellow on the elevator while on her way to visit her mother: “Fit as an athlete and squeaky clean, just the way she liked them.” She quickly hooks up with the stranger to indulge in an afternoon quickie, and still has time to visit her mother without being too late. For most of the story, Carrie appears to be an ambitious, lusty writer trying to make it big with her first novel. She’s spent the last three years working on it and just wants to get the thing pub­lished.

Those interested in astrology will find some satisfaction with Crowe’s analysis and interpretation, and the story line is a welcome entry into twen­ty-first century fiction. Naturally, Axel Crowe is skilled in the martial arts, and toward the end, he has a merry chase through the craggy terrain of New Mexico. In the last chapter, he explains to his client and the hapless mainstream detectives how the murders were all connected.

Spoiler Alert: The plot was akin to Alfred Hitchcock’s film Strangers on a Train, where each stranger agrees to kill the other stranger’s intended victim, a wife and a mother, respectively. In this way, the out-of-town killings would provide foolproof alibis. Hitchcock’s story involved two murders, while in Scorpio Rising, there are three.

Scorpio Rising is a step forward in the New Age detective genre. For those with a mystical blend and more than a touch of Scorpio darkness, you’re in for a treat. Just remember that, as Crowe’s guru was fond of saying, “The subtle has the capacity to penetrate the gross, but not vice versa.”

– Chris Lorenz @ Dell Horoscope

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