San Francisco astrologer Julia Bonatti never thought murder would be part of her practice, but when her former boss and current client asks for help she agrees to go undercover at his law firm. Three people have received death threats and the only common denominator between them is a case long settled--the infamous Bank of San Francisco fire. Julia’s astrological expertise provides clues but no one wants to listen. Before she can solve the mystery, two people are dead and her own life is in danger. Julia must unmask the killer before he, or she, takes another life.
I read this book as part of a Cozy Mystery group that I belong to where we get opportunities to win ARCs. I have found so many good books and new authors, it's really fun. This week's novel, Tail of the Dragon, the third in the Zodiac Mystery series, was published in 2018 by Connie di Marco. And she signed my copy, how lucky am I! I would definitely recommend this book to others and have given it somewhere between 4 and 5 stars.
At first, I wasn't sure I'd love the book. There were a lot of characters dropped in the first few chapters when the murder happened. I normally love tons of characters, but everyone was so quick, I had to just pretend I'd figure it out later. And then I did. It takes place in the corporate office with tons of attorneys in San Francisco. When a colleague is murdered (and then some more) and death threats come in the postal mail... you know it's gonna get crazy! From about 20% in, the book took off, and it was completely smooth sailing. I find myself thinking about this story and the main sleuth a lot lately.
Weaving in astrology and a search for the hit-and-run driver of her late fiance, the story captures your heart. It's a bit darker than a traditional cozy, but I think it made the book quite a splash. I will definitely go back to read the first two in the series. I felt like I was back in San Francisco and had all the good feels and connections.
If you're looking for a twisty cozy book, this is it. I thought I figured out the killer about 2/3 thru, then switched when a new story line came up. I figured it out, except... BOOM! There was a second major twist which I did not expect. Kudos to the author for making that fantastic ending.
What a treat! This is the 3rd book in the Zodiac Mystery Series. I read the 2nd one "All Signs Point to Murder," and I was hooked. Julia Bonatti is a professional Astrologer who loves working for herself she's published a few books and also has a weekly column in the local newspaper. When her old friend and ex-boss, Attorney David Meyers calls to ask if she would be interested in filling as his secretary for the week she couldn't refuse him. When she gets there, she is for a huge surprise when of one of the leading litigators for the firm, Jack Harding is found dead slumped over his desk by a file clerk. It seems he murdered on Sunday, he's wasn't a very likable person, so he had made quite a few enemies but how did they get into the building without security noticing them. Could it be someone who works for the firm? David pulls Julia aside and asks for her help, there have been some odd things happening around the litigation department that he's concerned about, and he was hoping Julia would be able to gather information for him on the sly. He has already hired a security team to help out, and the head of the Agency, Adam Schaeffer who happens to be easy on the eyes has hit off with Julia. She's a bit smitten with him as well. David is a firm believer in Julia's astrology skills and hopes that the two of them can get to the bottom of what's plaguing his litigation department especially after this murder. Julia is going through the files of all the litigator's department to get the pertinent information she needs to start looking at their star charts. I have no idea about the astrology process, but it does seem interesting to me. When she's pulling all the birthdays to enter into her computer program at home, I'm a bit lost, but it doesn't take anything away from the series. I think it', it makes it more interesting for me. When more tragedy strikes the department, Julia feels like she's getting closer to the what is happening, she starts getting having odd dreams and feels like she's being watched. Is she a bit too careless in regards to her safety? Julia finds herself still haunted by the death of her fiance who was killed by a hit and run driver a few years back. His sister, Maggie thinks they may have discovered a clue in regards to hit and run accident that killed him. Ms. di Marco has made this an excellent series that is a pleasure to read; it's a fast read as in "I can't put this down type" read as well as being interesting. I love the San Francisco setting and the cast of the regular characters like Gloria, Julia's grandmother, and Kuan, plus her friends from Gale's shop. I look forward to reading the next book in this series! I want to thank Midnight Ink and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this e-galley in exchange for my honest opinion.
I was caught off guard with how much I enjoyed this book. Julia B has agreed to return to her previous job to cover an employee vacation. She has no idea that someone has been threatening some of the lawyers, so when two are murdered, she takes to her astrological charts to uncover the truth. The story is well written and well told. I was kept guessing until the end and then I was blown away at the revelation. Anyone who wants to read a good cozy mystery should check out Tail of the Dragon.
San Francisco astrologer Julia Bonatti never thought murder would be part of her practice, but when her former boss and current client asks for help she agrees to go undercover at his law firm. Three people have received death threats and the only common denominator between them is a case long settled--the infamous Bank of San Francisco fire. Julia’s astrological expertise provides clues but no one wants to listen. Before she can solve the mystery, two people are dead and her own life is in danger. Julia must unmask the killer before he, or she, takes another life. (Goodreads)
The characters are well rounded and well developed. Julia is a smart, hardworking and caring woman. She has a lot on her plate but she is willing to help out her old boss when he asks her to. That leads to murder and mayhem that she must try to get under control. It will not be easy and she finds herself in some dangerous situations. Will she be able to solve the mysteries and keep herself safe, or will she become a victim?
The writing style flows smoothly and the book is an easy read. It is written in a such a way that the reader cannot help but be pulled into the story. I found myself reading much later into the night than I had planned. The author’s story telling and descriptive writing made me feel like I was right there, watching all of the action taking place and eavesdropping on conversations.
The mystery was well plotted and not easy to solve. There were enough suspects to consider and clues to sift through. With the twists and turns and red herrings thrown in, you have to be on top of your game if you hope to solve it. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a well crafted cozy mystery. The subject of astrology is not the usual occupation of cozy protagonists and that made the book even better.
I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this book provided by the publisher, Midnight Ink, and NetGalley, which I greatly appreciate.
Julia Bonatti loves being an astrologer. However, when her ex-boss asks her to lend him a helping hand at his law firm, she can’t refuse. She worked there many years ago and is more than willing to help out while one of the workers is away. Of course she’s really not simply filling in, her ex-boss wants her to put her investigative skills to use and figure out why three people at the firm have been receiving death threats.
As Julia starts her investigation, she learns that the three lawyers receiving threats were involved in the same case years ago. That is the only connection between the three that she can find. It’s not long before she realizes there is a huge list of suspects and she is now facing her own dangers. She needs to solve this quickly as dead bodies are suddenly turning up.
This is the third book in the Zodiac Mystery Series. I thought it was the best one yet. Julia is a strong lead character. She is loyal to her friends and doesn’t back down. Like most amateur sleuths, she does take risks and many of them.
There is much astrology information intertwined throughout the story. Sometimes it was a bit too much, but it didn’t drag the story down and it was page-turner for me. I was totally taken off guard by the ending. I guessed part of it, but I didn’t see the second part coming.
The mystery is contained in this book so if you haven’t read the previous two, I don’t think it will hurt. However, it’s always fun to start at the beginning. It gives you a much better idea of what makes Julia Bonatti who she is today. This is a bit more intense than some other light-hearted cozy series, but it’s captivating and keeps you hooked throughout the book.
FTC Disclosure: I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.
Another great book by Connie di Marco :D, Julia has agreed to help out at the law firm she used to work at (which means a steady income for a week at least!), when she arrives she find out that yes David's usual secretary/PA is on leave but the reason she was invited in by David (her former boss, a friend and current client) is to snoop around the company. Three people (that they know of) have received death threats and David wants to make sure that who ever is sending them is found, and if it turns out to be someone internal then sacked.
Shortly after this conversation there is a scream and they discover one of the three well and truly dead in his office, so now there is a feeling of urgency about solving the poison pen letters and the murder, David calls in an investigation company as well (and Julia is strangely attracted to the investigator), add in attacks on Julia, her friend Gayle with a new man in tow, Julia's Grandmother's birthday and Halloween and Julia has more than enough on her plate!
NB - I was lucky enough to get an advance copy through NetGalley.
Tightly woven mystery with vivid descriptions that enable your imagination to fly. Strong characters and detailed places pepper the pages. Astrologer Julia Bonatti is popular for analyzing astrological charts for her clients and being amazingly accurate at it. She also had a popular astrology column. When a former boss from her previous career as a legal secretary called her for help when his current secretary was out, she went as she had read his chart and had planned to call on him anyway. He had undercurrents at the office that troubled him. Her first day brings a corpse at the office and then another later. Julia snooped and became a target for the killer. Julia solves the case and almost dies doing it. I loved the settings and characters and I am not a fan of astrology, but the mystery......loved the way the story developed. I requested and was granted an ARC from NetGalley. Much to my delight
This is the first book that I have read in the Zodiac Mystery series, and I have to say I really like Connie di Marco’s writing style. I’m from the San Francisco area, so that was a plus in the setting of this book, too.
Tail of the Dragon has all you need for a great mystery with interesting characters, a steady story and plotline, enough clues to keep you twisting and turning, and a surprise ending that will blow you away. The book held my interest throughout and really did have me guessing on what was going to happen next or who was behind the murders. Even though this was the third book in the series, I did not feel like I missed anything in reading this one first. However, I will go back and read the other books because this one was just that good.
Thank you to the author and the Cozy Mystery Review Crew for an ARC of this book. My review is entirely voluntary.
If you want a surprise ending, this the book to read! I was blown away by the twist at the end. Never even on my radar as I was trying to figure out who was killing the lawyers.
This series intrigues me because of the astrology aspect and houses that the sun and moon and all that are in at different times and how that might affect your life. Granted I didn't understand a word of what was written, but I know there is a lot of truth to the charts, sun signs, etc.
It was nice to see that Julia perhaps received a little closure to how her fiance died. The case is still unsolved, but there is a small movement forward from a neighbor. Perhaps this will let her find love again with someone new and there is some chemistry with Adam.
The mystery is well written because while the "evil" character was a small blip on my radar, there was not a lot of revealing clues to let me figure out the mystery. There are a lot of hypotheses thrown out there as to why the lawyers were being murdered but which one is the right one?
Great series and I can't wait to read the next book.
As you can tell from the time it took me to read this book, I am having a hard time with this series. I like the premise but there are things that the main character Julia does that just seem so odd and hard to accept. This translates into me getting annoyed/irritated with this character and then putting the book down. I found parts of the plot to really strain plausibility and there was an issue with characters that just sort of disappeared from the story line. I have tried to really keep with the series but perhaps its time for me to let this one go.
I voluntarily read an advanced reader copy provided to me by the publisher through Netgalley.
Tail of the Dragon is the third installment in the Zodiac series. It can be read as a standalone. I had not read the prior two books yet but was able to understand most of the prior references of Julia's life. Julia decides to help out her old boss David, a managing partner at her prior law firm, while his secretary is on vacation for the week. He is also one of her astrology clients so they have had a continuing relationship after she had left the firm to start her own business. One of the partners is found murdered and David confides in her that some of the employees had received death threats. He had hired a private investigator and asks Julia to work with him as well. But when Julia becomes embroiled in the danger herself, she begins to search for the killer's identity on her own.
Overall, I enjoyed the book. I had never read a cozy about the zodiac and know very little about the subject other than reading my horoscope in the paper. I found the references very informative. The book was well-written and the pace kept me interested for most of the book. I loved the plot twist at the end; I never saw that one coming! However, I did find it perplexing that Julia declined to call the police after she came home to find her home broken into-her purse stolen, bedding slashed, food from the refrigerator thrown on the walls--because the police would have "kept her up half the night." Who could have slept after such a scare? That being said, I plan to read the first two books in the series and look forward to future releases.
***Thanks to the author and the Cozy Mystery Review Crew for an ARC of this book. My review is voluntary.
Tail of the Dragon is the third book in Connie di Marco Zodiac Mystery series. While I have had the pleasure of reading all three books in the series, this book could be read as a stand-alone. What I loved: I love the astrology aspect, it’s different . The authors scenic descriptions, I could close my eyes and see San Francisco The fast pace.. the story kept moving The characters.. they are strong, likeable, interesting . What I didn’t love: not to much to say here. Now, Can we talk about that ending?? Wholly heck of a twist! ! This is definitely a new favorite series, and I can’t wait to see what is in the future (pun intended) for Julia and the gang! I received a copy of this book for review, the opinions are my own
One of the best cozy mysteries I have read this year! I thought for sure I knew who, but little did I know what author Connie di Marco had tossed into the mix. Needless to say, I was shocked and screaming holy cow, I never saw twist one coming.
This is my first book by this author and I am so glad I tried it. I love how the author brings the location and Julia to life as you read. Kudos on the research the author did to bring Julia’s first job as an astrologer, I love getting to know what the characters do day by day.
You can’t ask for anything better when you enjoy the characters, mystery and that you didn’t have to read the first books in the series in order to keep up.
FTC Disclosure: I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, all the expressions above are my own opinion.
I just finished reading this book and my heart is still pounding! I have read each of the books in this series so far and hope it goes on for many more. The characters, the pace of the story unfolding, and oh the emotional results of getting drawn into the story!
Julia is called back to her former position at a law firm, presumably to fill in for a vacationing secretary. It seems her previous boss may have something else on his mind but before anything is spelled out tragedy strikes! There may be a lot of people who feel lawyers deserve to suffer but murder is never justified. Whoever killed one of the firms top attorneys seems to have targeted specific people and given them "fair warning."
This plot is a mix of old and new cases, both for the law firm and for Julia, herself. We learn more about the various characters as different parts of the plot blend together. Not to give anything away but I want to reassure you, the cat is fine during whatever happens.
Inbetween Julia's various activities and investigations the reader also gets a vivid tour of historic San Fran neighborhoods. Whether you believe in Astrology and natal charts and planets aligning affecting behaviors or not, the astrology aspects of the book were intriguing. I wish we had shops such as The Mystic Eye closer to where I live.
Lawyers and mystics and fortune tellers, shop keepers, artists and smarmy potential dates, Connie di Marco has a way of making them all seem fully dimensional and in full color. Julia can't seem to keep trouble from tailing her, even in her dreams.
What a great mystery! A bit darker than the standard cozy and more action packed it's a real page turner. I loved the heroine, so unusual and fascinating, and the cast of characters that are interesting and described with a lot of nuances. The plot is sound, no plot hole or rushed solution. I look forward to reading the next instalment. Highly recommended. Many thanks to Midnight Ink and Netgalley for this ARC
TAIL OF THE DRAGON by Connie di Marco The Third Zodiac Mystery
Office drama is one thing, but people are getting death threats at Meyers, Dade, & Schultz, LLP!
Julia Bonatti gets more than she bargained for when she agrees to help out her former boss by filling in as his secretary for a week. From his astrological chart she knew things at the office were bad, but she never dreamt they were this bad! Her first day on the job one of the lawyers is found murdered in his office. Now Julia's using her skills to discover what exactly is going on and if more people are in danger. Will the stars align to help Julia solve the murder or will she wind up another victim?
Connie di Marco pens a great traditional mystery. A sense of danger permeates the book along with a lot of subterfuge which masks the killer. There are so many suspects, so many motives, and lots of suspicious activities that muddy the waters. So many characters are guilty of so many things, but what impact, if any, does it have on the murder? Yet the author brings everything together to in a remarkable conclusion.
I love the astrological details found in the Zodiac series. I was close when I had an idea as to why Julia kept seeing dragons...I was wrong, but I was close! This series always makes me want to learn more and study my own astrological chart in depth. But the beauty of these books is that you don't need to know anything, or even care about astrology, to enjoy a deftly plotted, sitting on the edge of your seat mystery. Wonderfully drawn characters enrich the story as does the ongoing drama of the loss of Julia's fiance. Indeed that death colors the series and in TAIL OF THE DRAGON we find ourselves one step closer to closure.
TAIL OF THE DRAGON is an edgy mystery that combines astrology and murder to create an engrossing, pulse pounding tale.
FTC Disclosure – The publisher sent me a digital ARC provided through NetGalley, in the hopes I would review it.
I have enjoyed this series in the past, but this new one really strains credibility. Would an attorney call in his astrologer who had worked at his office 2 years ago to sub for a vacationing secretary, and then task her with finding out why someone was murdered? Would the security firm he hired after the murder send one of their men, with Julia, to the dead man’s place? Why would a woman who comes home to find her apartment trashed call her best friend instead of the police? And when she’s pushed into traffic and injured, would she not report it? I did like the San Francisco setting, the characters, and the astrology theme, though.
This series is so tragically beautiful. There is such sadness that is weaved into such a wonderfully written mystery. The way the author writes makes you really feel for the characters, they have such depth and emotion. The mystery itself was written to perfection, there is such a twist that you find yourself gasping when it comes up. A great series, a great story, and I cannot wait for the next!
This is the first story that I have ever read by Connie di Marco, and this is the first ever astrological mystery novel that I have ever read. I have to say this story was truly fascinating from start to finish. This author weaves an engaging mystery from start to finish. This book was so hard to put down. Julia is enjoying her freedom doing astrological readings for her clientele and writing responses to questions for the Zodiac column in the paper. She loves her job, but when some bills pile up she's a little relieved when her old boss calls her asking for a favor. Too bad on her first day there temping a dead body is discovered in one of the offices. Things only go downhill from there. Julia learns that more than one person in David's firm has been threatened and when Julia goes digging for a common thread to connect them all she finds her own life may be in danger. Julia is an engaging character and as I read I could honestly almost believe that she was a real person that you could go out on the street and meet. I found myself fascinated by her usage of not just the Zodiac but astrology to discover things about the people around her. Once she learned a few personal facts about them of course. Even though this book is part of a series, I love that it can be read as a standalone and I be able to follow along with everything that is going on. I appreciate the author bringing in Julia's love life as well. This helps to round her out as a character. She's still struggling with the sudden loss of her fiancee, and while it was almost 3 years prior she still struggles with the pain. I like how even though others dismissed her theories concerning the individuals being targeted that Julia never lets up. She comes off as determined but not hard-headed about it. This story has a few twists that I thoroughly enjoyed and one that I didn't see until it was almost too late. I love a good mystery novel that keeps me in suspense and from figuring out who the bad guy is before the author is ready for me to do so. There honestly isn't anything overtly that I didn't like about this book. The book has been professionally edited, and there the storyline never wanders around. I appreciate how the author stays focused on the storyline and gives us an engaging novel from start to finish. My only wish is that I wish that Julia hadn't been so afraid of the dragon in her dreams. Especially when she learns the meaning of them from her grandmother's friend. I will warn that this story has some tragedy in it. These tragic moments are more than a couple, and they made me sad, but all-in-all, for me, they truly added more depth and humanity to the story. Which, for me, only went to enhance the story more. I am rating this book 5 out of 5 stars. I love a good mystery novel with some thrilling moments, a bit of romance and edge of your seat page turning. This book absolutely fits the bill. I highly recommend it to those who enjoy books by this author or who are just looking for a good mystery novel to sink their teeth into.
“Tail of the Dragon” earns 5/5 Zodiac Revelations…Murderously Fun!
With so many excellent cozy authors and mysteries from which to choose, sometimes it takes a while to get to all of them, but “better late, than never” as I've finally arrived at Connie di Marco’s Zodiac Mystery series. I started with book three, the newest release, and found there was more than enough references to background and character connections, no spoilers, to keep any newbie, like me, engaged, and very intrigued to go back and read the first two books.
“Tail of the Dragon” grabs you right off with the first murder. Fussing about the late hour and having to complete grunt work for an upcoming trial, a man is met with a knife in the throat. He knew his assailant, and the thought of “cold” revenge gives us and Julia Bonatti something to ponder. Being a Virgo, I've been told that I hold grudges, but having them fester to first-degree mayhem? I couldn't stop turning the pages on this first-person narrative as the story continued with Julia returning to her former place of work, Meyers, Dade, & Schultz, LLP, and as a favor to her old boss David Meyer, subbing as his secretary. However, she didn't expect her first order of business would be to investigate the murder of one of the lawyers and death threats sent to the victim and the other litigators. As the story unfolds, suspects in the firm show their true colors highlighting a contentious office hierarchy, one-upmanship politics, and backstabbing…well, in this case, neck stabbing, and a link to a former case will need to be explored.
I enjoyed the descriptions of San Francisco, delightful banter, clever twists and turns, another victim, personal jeopardy, and a final “Oh, my!” ending. But, the most interesting part, woven through the story, was the information on astrology, a topic of which Connie is an expert. I was fascinated by all the insights and connections made to the events, even though some of the language I didn't fully understand, but I knew from personal experience that a natal chart can offer a wide range of curious information. I highly recommend Connie di Marco’s third book. It'll be the perfect aspect in your tenth house of…enjoyment!
"Disclosure: I received an ARC. My review is voluntary with honest insights and comments."
San Francisco astrologer Julia Bonatti has taken a temporary job with her former boss at a San Francisco law firm. But on her first day there, one of the partners turns up dead. He is one of three people in the firm who has received death threats concerning a case that was long settled, the infamous Bank of San Francisco fire.
Julia’s astrological expertise provides clues but no one wants to listen. Before she can solve the mystery, two people are dead and her own life is in danger. Julia must unmask the killer before he, or she, takes another life.
Intense and tightly written, Tail of the Dragon is a wonderful addition to the Zodiac Mystery series. I enjoyed getting to know Julia in the last two books, but watching her grow in this one made this book the perfect read to me. I enjoyed it so much that I read it in one setting, and then went back and reread portions that really touched me. I did not see the ending coming, which is always a plus in my book.
I like Julia. She has the character and strength to carry a book series. At times she did things that had me shaking my ereader and telling her to watch out, but it provided excitement that kept me turning the pages.
And while the mystery was intriguing, watching Julia deal with her fiancee's death, and feeling the emotions that she felt, really made this book for me. This series has been one of my favorites since its inception. Tail of the Dragon cements it to the top of my to buy list.
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.
I was given a copy for an honest review THANK YOU I love the book size and autographed to me:) Did not have to use my old lady glasses with the large print.
This is the 3rd one but you did not need the others so stands alone very well. Julia the main, had a tragedy in the past(the unsolved hit and run of her fiance), that has changed her whole life. She lives in San Francisco, where she is one thing, but there is a lot of directions and streets as she is driving that was just to much. I do like the zodiac added and you do not have to know much to understand what she does as she explains it for you. It is a nice easy read and has a wonderful twist in the end case that was unexpected. Would have liked a little more details with the ending of the book, of the friends playing and having fun. I did not like all the street directions or how she has some really unsafe choices so took a star for those. I do recommend this book as a nice cozy.
I read this book, the 3rd of the series, without having read the two previous books. I was very happy that the author took care to make this a great stand-alone read, and I didn't feel lost. I was able to learn the backstory easily through the continuation in this book alongside the main mystery at hand. I am definitely intrigued to learn more of Julia's history and future! The mystery in this book was well-plotted; however there were so many characters that it was a little difficult to keep track. And I definitely had to suspend a bit of belief at all the connections and coincidences. That being said, the setting and theme were perfectly suited to each other. Nothing - and no one- is quite what it seems, and Julia's insight is fascinating and unique. A fast-paced read, not too heavy, perfect for a cozy afternoon!
An exciting well plotted cozy mystery with plenty of twists and turns that keep Julia Bonatti and the reader involved in a puzzling series of death threats followed by murder. This all happens at the law firm where Julia used to work. She is filling in at the firm this week as one of the secretaries is out for the week but now she finds herself in the role of ameutuer sleuth to help uncover who is killing off the partners. The story takes off very quickly and keeps an invigorating pace right up to its conclusion. Detailed descriptions takes the reader on a trip of San Francisco where Julie lives and works at her usual job as an astrologer. The story also includes information on astrology and astrological charts . You will also learn about the Tail of the Dragon in astrology. A Highly Recommended Cozy Mystery Read!! I volunteered to read the book. Thanks to the author and publisher via The Cozy Mystery Review Crew for the book. My opinion is my own.
This is the 3rd installment of The Zodiac Mysteries. I don’t usually jump into the 3rd book of a series without reading the first ones, but it looked so interesting I couldn’t wait. I was not disappointed! The background the author gave made me feel like I didn’t miss a beat. This book kept me guessing until the very end which I loved! This was the first Connie di Marco book I’ve read, but it won’t be my last!
Tail of the Dragon is book #3 in the Zodiac Mystery series. Julia Bonatti is self-employed as a professional astrologer and also writes an advice column, based on astrology, for the local newspaper. When she agrees to temp as a secretary for her old boss she finds herself involved in trying to solve the murders of two of the law firms attorneys. With a San Francisco setting, strong characters, and a well written mystery with twists and turns you will find this is a book that is hard to put down. Highly recommend!
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.
All three books so far in this Zodiac Mystery series are amazing and creative. While each book can be enjoyed as a standalone, I recommend starting at the beginning. The characters and plots and subplots are interesting and well developed, and the mysteries are intriguing and a bit heart pounding at times. You won't want to miss out on all the fun.
This third in the series finds the main character, Julia, in a precarious position that is both physically and emotionally dangerous. Even if you haven't read the first two in the series, the references to previous events shouldn't be too confusing because the main points about Julia's past as well as her adventures as an astrologist are clear and well timed.
In Tail of the Dragon, Julia is tasked with helping out a previous employer as a secretarial fill in, but she's really at the law firm to use her astrological expertise to figure out who has been sending death threats and eventually catch the killer. How can an astrologer do all that, you ask? Well, I wondered the same thing. Read this entertaining story and find out for yourself! I actually found all the astrological references quite fascinating (I'm new to the subject, beyond the basic Zodiac signs), and the explanations throughout the book are neither muddled nor lengthy. The author provides just enough jargon to pique my interest and keep me turning the page.
What I love most about Tail of the Dragon is that Julia isn't afraid to put herself right in the middle of all the danger, even when she doesn't necessarily have to. She cares about people and is ready and willing to help them as an astrologer and as a friend. But she's not perfect, of course. Julia is a vulnerable yet strong female character who unfortunately lets her guard down in Tail of the Dragon, but she comes out fighting and using her wits to thwart the incredibly clever murderer. You definitely won't see that twist coming!
Some important and serious concepts covered here include betrayal, trust, and friendship. Not everyone is as they seem, and trusting the wrong people can be hazardous to your health. Julia finds all this out the hard way, but her incredibly cool grandmother and tight circle of friends have her back. Julia once again lands on her feet, but not before sneaking into buildings, having creepy and threatening dreams about a Chinese dragon, unmasking the killer in spectacular fashion, and facing her past heartbreaking past so she that can face her future. Well done!
I can't wait for Julia's next astrological adventure!