Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Tail of the Dragon by Connie di Marco | Blog Tour with Excerpt, Guest Post, and Giveaway


Connie di Marco is back with her latest Zodiac Mystery!


The Blurb



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.


Tail of the Dragon by Connie di Marco
Series: A Zodiac Mystery, #3
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Midnight Ink
Publication Date: August 8, 2018
Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 0738751065
ISBN-13: 978-0738751061
e-Book File Size: 512 KB
ASIN: B075W42GWP
 Add to Goodreads




The Excerpt


I pulled up to the garage door and searched for the opener.  It wasn’t in my purse, the last place I had seen it.  I checked the glove compartment.  Empty.  Where had it gotten to?  I gave up the search, backed out to the curb and climbed out.  I’d have a search for it tomorrow.  I climbed the stairs, unlocked the door and called to Wizard.  He didn’t come to greet me.  I heard his bell jingle somewhere in the apartment.  It wasn’t like him not to rush to the top of the stairs to greet me.  I turned on the lamp on the hallway table and spotted his paws underneath.  

“Wiz, what are you doing?  Come on out for a hug.”  I petted his paws and made kissing sounds.  Wiz returned the affection with a gurgle and rushed out to my arms.  “What are you doing hiding there?”  I cuddled him as I walked into the living room.  I flicked on the wall switch and stood in stunned horror.  My apartment had been trashed.

The room was in shambles.  A ceramic vase lay shattered in a hundred pieces on the floor.  Books had been tossed off the shelves and two of the sofa cushions had been ripped open.  I couldn’t breathe and could barely move.  Wizard mewed and snuggled closer in my arms.  I went back to the hallway, terrified something might have happened to my bronze Buddha.  It was still in its place, probably because it weighs a ton and it’s impossible to lift.  I sighed, it hadn’t guarded my nest very well tonight.  In the kitchen, dishes from the cabinet were smashed.  Food from the refrigerator, what there was of it, had been thrown against the walls to drip on to the floor.  Bureau drawers had been dumped out, jewelry flung all over the room.  The pillows on the bed and the comforter were slashed.  The clothes hanging in the small closet, mostly just a couple of suits and some jeans and sweaters that I had been wearing that week had been ripped off the hangers and cut to ribbons.

I felt like I had been punched in the stomach.  My hands started to shake.  I knew now why Wizard had been hiding under the table terrified.  Then the thought occurred that someone could still be in the apartment.  Perhaps I had just interrupted the intruder.  I lowered Wizard gently onto the floor and shushed him.  I made a dash for the small coat closet in the hallway where I keep a toolbox.  Opening the door as quietly as possible, I released the catches on the metal box and grabbed a long thick screwdriver.  It was the only thing I could think of in a hurry.   If I had to defend myself, there was a good chance I could do a job on someone with this.  I slipped off my shoes so I could walk silently and, against my instincts, returned to the bedroom where I peeked under the bed.  My hands were still shaking.  Wizard had followed me and now was hiding under the tall bureau, his tail sticking out.  I was tempted to join him.  I picked up the phone and dialed Gale’s number, praying she’d answer.  She picked up on the third ring. 
“Gale.  It’s me.  Can you come right over?”

“Julia?  Sure, honey.  What’s wrong?”

“Tell you when you get here.”  I hung up.  Tiptoeing softly, I walked to the end of the corridor and the office.  Nothing in there had been touched.  Thankfully, the computer was in one piece.  The charts were still stuck on the bulletin board, so whoever it was had either taken no interest in this room or had been interrupted.  I checked the desk drawer where I store my laptop.  It was intact.  I breathed a sigh of relief.  The filing cabinet with hard copies of client charts, just as a backup, was undisturbed.  Everything seemed in order. 
There weren’t too many hiding places in my apartment, and the ones that did exist I knew very well.  I looked in the large walk-in closet in the hallway where most of my clothes were stored.  As usual when I pulled on the knob, the door stuck.  I leaned all my weight on the handle and it released.  If that clothing had been destroyed, it would have been a real blow.  I checked the bathroom, the shower stall and peeked under the bed again for good measure.  I walked very softly down the hall to the living room, made a circuit of that room, checked the coat closet by the top of the stairs again, and the small laundry room next to the kitchen.  Then I went back to the bedroom and pulled out the small case I keep under the bed.  It holds a flashlight, a small radio and a pair of tennis shoes in case of earthquake.  There was only one possible hiding place left and that was the storage area under the stairway.  I tiptoed down the stairs.  The triangular-shaped door is painted the same color as the wall of the hallway and the handle of the door is camouflaged by color as well.  Anyone who wasn’t familiar with the apartment might not even notice this.  I steeled myself in case my intruder was hiding there and lunged out at me.  I pulled open the door and stepped back quickly.  Nothing happened.  I had been holding my breath.  I shone the flashlight around the almost empty space.  Nothing but two boxes of old tax papers and files and a large plastic storage container for extra blankets.  I shut the door and turned the hasp to lock it.  The doorbell rang.  I jumped involuntarily.  It took me a moment to catch my breath.  
I called out, “Who is it?”

“It’s me,” Gale called out from the other side of the door.  I opened it and let her in.  

“How did you get here so fast?”  

“I was just down the street on Clement having a drink.  Are you okay?  Gale took my hand.  What’s going on?” She glanced at the screwdriver I was clutching tightly.  “Holy crap, put that down.  You look like you’ve seen a ghost.  Let’s go up to the kitchen.”  

“Somebody broke in.  Go have a look.  You won’t believe it.” 




The Guest Post

Alcatraz



Bodies in mysteries can be discovered anywhere, right?  Preferably within the first few chapters of a book.  But I’m always looking for interesting places.  Places where Julia Bonatti, my San Francisco astrologer, can become involved in a crime.  And I love the thought that she could be found at an iconic San Francisco site — like the “Rock.” 


People know Alcatraz, the island of pelicans, as a federal prison.  But well before then, the island had a long and interesting history.  It was first discovered in 1775 by Spaniard Juan Manuel de Ayala, although Native Americans claimed to have known of its existence for 10,000 years.  Alcatraz boasted the oldest operating lighthouse on the west coast and in 1828 it was put to use as a military prison during several wars — the Civil War, the Spanish-American War and even World War II.  

From 1934 to 1963 it was a federal prison for the most notorious criminals in America — Al Capone, Robert Franklin Stroud (the "Birdman of Alcatraz"), George "Machine Gun" Kelly, Bumpy Johnson, Mickey Cohen, Arthur R. "Doc" Barker, and Alvin "Creepy" Karpis.  In addition, another 700 people — wardens, guards, electricians, along with their families — lived a sheltered life in a small, intimate community on the Rock. 

Capone
Stroud
Barker

Alcatraz was considered inescapable because of isolation by the cold and hazardous currents of the waters of San Francisco Bay.  Yet thirty-six desperate prisoners, in spite of the dangers, made fourteen separate escape attempts.  Twenty-three of them were caught alive, six were shot during their escape, two drowned and five are listed as missing and presumed dead.  

Of those five in 1962, the Anglin brothers, John and Clarence, are considered the most likely to have survived the swim.  As boys, they had learned to swim in the icy waters of Lake Michigan.  It’s just possible they had the stamina to survive.  One long-standing rumor holds that they survived the journey and escaped to Brazil.  However, the F.B.I. officially concluded in 1979, on the basis of circumstantial evidence and expert opinion, that the men drowned in the frigid waters before reaching land.  The U.S. Marshal’s case file remains active though.  The Anglin brothers, probably long deceased, remain on its most wanted list.

Today Alcatraz is a popular tourist stop by way of the ferry from Pier 33.  If you’re so inclined, I warn you — it’s a cold and creepy place.  The stone and brick walls are dank and slimy and, I swear, there are some strange odors.  The Rock in my opinion is a monument to human misery.  Oh, and did I mention?  It’s reputed to be haunted too.  No surprise!  But more about that in a later post.  

Maybe it’d be a good place for Julia to visit after all.


The Author

About Connie di Marco


Connie di Marco is the author of the Zodiac Mysteries from Midnight Ink, featuring San Francisco astrologer, Julia Bonatti. Tail of the Dragon, third in the series, will be released on August 8, 2018.

Writing as Connie Archer, she is also the national bestselling author of the Soup Lover’s Mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime. Some of her favorite recipes can be found in The Cozy Cookbook and The Mystery Writers of America CookbookConnie is a member of International Thriller Writers, Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.


Find Connie on the web at




The Giveaway









Follow the tour, to read other Guest Posts, plus Interviews and Reviews.

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

June 14 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW

June 14 – The Montana Bookaholic – SPOTLIGHT

June 15 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW

June 16 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

June 17 - Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW

June 17 - Varietats – GUEST POST

June 18 – Read Your Writes Book Reviews – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

June 19 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

June 19 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – SPOTLIGHT

June 20 – My Fiction Obsession – SPOTLIGHT

June 20 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

June 21 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

June 22 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

June 23 – Island Confidential – GUEST POST

June 24 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

June 24 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

June 25 – A Wytch's Book Review Blog – REVIEW

June 25 – A Blue Million Books – GUEST POST

June 26 – Books Direct – SPOTLIGHT

June 26 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – GUEST POST

June 27 – Jane Reads – GUEST POST

June 27 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW





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