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Aquarius Descending [Mass Market Paperback]

Martha C. Lawrence
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jan. 15 2000 Elizabeth Chase Mysteries (Book 3)
Martha C. Lawrence's "remarkable first novel" (Library Journal), Murder in Scorpio, introducing psychic detective Elizabeth Chase, won her nominations for all three of America's most prestigious mystery awards, while the refreshingly down-to-earth Elizabeth was recognized as a unique and wonderful new heroine. The acclaim continued with her second mystery, The Cold Heart of Capricorn, with raves about this "superior shocker" (San Diego Union-Tribune) "that offers a truly intelligent heroine to solve it" (Denver Post). New Elizabeth Chase is back in an explosive new novel, packed with danger and suspense, that sends her deep within the ranks of a cultlike community that calls itself The Bliss Project.

Tom McGowan, Elizabeth's cop boyfriend, asks her to take on a case that seems to be more in her line of work than in his. The father of Tom's ex-fiancee has come to him in desperation: He fears a mysterious package he's just received means that his daughter, who has disappeared in The Bliss Project, must be dead or in terrible trouble.

Although Elizabeth is not too keen on the idea of accepting a case so close to home--she didn't even know Tom had an ex-finacee, and The Bliss Project's efforts at mind control threaten to wreak havoc on her finely attuned senses-she agrees to investigate. But infiltrating a cult is no easy matter, especially one that seems to have as many secrets as this one, and soon Elizabeth finds herself in a life-and-death battle that will lead to a shocking conclusion.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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From Publishers Weekly

San Diego's psychic private investigator Elizabeth Chase must infiltrate a deadly cult in order to find a missing woman in this third, stylish outing (after The Cold Heart of Capricorn). When her significant other, FBI agent Tom McGowen, asks her to find Jen Shaffer, who's his former fiancee, Elizabeth is initially reluctant, but she changes her mind when she meets the woman's father?and the $25,000 check he has in his hand. Apparently, right after Jen and Tom decided not to marry, Jen had joined the Church of the Risen Lord, later known as the Bliss Project, and cut all ties with family and friends. Now her father has received a package containing Jen's Medic Alert bracelet. He thinks his daughter is in trouble?or dead. Using a fake identity, Elizabeth joins the cult. Before she goes to an initiation retreat, however, she visits a reclusive former member who tells her about a man the group murdered and whose public identity was subsequently erased. He warns Elizabeth that the same fate will befall her if the cult finds out who she really is. As in the series' previous novels, Lawrence writes a gripping, believable story, distinguished by a wise and sensitive narrative voice, that even those skeptical of psychics will enjoy. Agent, Gina Maccoby.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Private investigator and parapsychologist Elizabeth Chase (The Cold Heart of Capricorn, LJ 1/97) approaches her third case with apprehension, then with zeal. As she searches for the missing ex-fiancee of longtime boyfriend Tom McGowan, now an FBI agent, Elizabeth infiltrates a secretive and potentially dangerous California religious cult known as the Bliss Project. With her relationship at stake and her psychic powers at best undependable, Elizabeth almost becomes a victim herself. A believable plot, well-developed characters, and a heroine with an interesting edge.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Read in Order June 6 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book was the best of the series for me. I finished and thought, "WOW." She writes extremely well and her plots are courageous and engaging. This one had a real surprise ending. PLEASE READ THIS ONE BEFORE THE TWO THAT COME AFTER.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Well-Done Mystery and Great Characters Oct. 1 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This mystery is superb. The plotting and idea (without giving anything away) are original and involving, the characters convincing with that "real" sense about them. Nowhere is this truer than in the character of the protagonist/narrator, Elizabeth Chase. I suspect there is more than a bit of Martha Lawrence in Ms. Chase (similar experiences and place of residence), but Ms. Lawrence makes her detective--and her unusual psychic gift--very accessible, human, and true by having her sometimes at a loss in dealing with that very gift, and having a down-to-earth, humorous attitude about the whole thing. This makes it easy for us to do so as well. There is no hocus-pocus here, just a very bright, dedicated detective trying to solve the mystery of a young woman's disappearance in a religious "cult" and encountering mysterious twists and real danger before the end. She gets to use her psychic gifts, but they are never really the focus of the story--it's mystery, not scifi/horror. There's sharp wit and intelligence here as well, and the story is delivered with a precise, involving, straightforward style that never bores. Ms. Lawrence and her detective are terrific! (Can't wait for more.)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! Aug. 2 2002
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I'm not a mystery fan in general , but I loved this book.I loved that it was set around a cult.I found that really interesting and I loved the psychic angle.Its so worth reading.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fine Work by a Fine Writer Sept. 2 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
As a mystery writer with my debut novel in current release, I found myself initially reading Martha Lawrence's Elizabeth Chase novels with suspicion. I first thought her "psychic" PI was a bit too gimmicky for my taste. I was wrong. Once I began reading AQUARIOUS DESCENDING after attending an appearance by Ms. Lawrence at a mystery convention at which I was also appearing, I realized what a strong writer this woman is. AQUARIOUS DESCENDING is a marvelously plotted book in which Elizabeth Chase takes on a cult. It features strongly written prose and vividly drawn characters. It reads well. There are no gimmicks. I recommend this book, as well as the rest of Ms. Lawrence's excellent ongoing series.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Classic "Who-done-it" With a Difference July 24 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Perfect for mystery addicts who crave variety in their favorite genre. A good leisure read but not a transforming book (in the philosophical sense!) Still, I'd recommend it as a guilty pleasure. Engaging from page one, you will find yourself instantly involved in the life and work of Elizabeth Chase. Chase is a likeable, well developed character who is smart, and generally insightful, without regard to her unusual paranormal abilities. But sometimes the "psychic investigator" is just as bewildered as the rest of us--that's when a "little extra something" kicks in. It is good fantasy (if you don't believe) or comic comeuppance of the bad guys (if you do.) The best of a good mystery series combined with a daydreamy kind of "wouldn't it be nice..." fantasy too. This is a good read for airplane time or at the beach. I would not recommend it at bedtime because you won't want to put it down, and a bleary eyed bedmate may not appreciate it. Oh, yes, this is definitely what my husband calls a "chick" book. I'm not sure what that means... But this chick is looking forward to reading the entire series.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Not the Place for Intolerance March 9 2001
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book was written with Lawrence's usual skill, but the attitude given to her detective, Elizateth, was unfortunate at best. There are dishonest and pathological people and relationships everywhere. I, however, am sick of hearing people use that reality and the word "cult" as an excuse to be intolerant of religious and spiritual views that are different from their own or that make them uncomfortable. Lawrence creates a "cult" that is handily devious and pathological. However, she has her detective scoff in a nasty and sarcastic way at religious concepts that have existed for thousands of years in religious traditions that are not her own. I, for one, do not read these books to hear the author espouse attitudes of intolerance. Lawrence has her detective cleaned with burning sage to clear negativity after exposure to the "cult." I needed sage after exposure to the negativity of this book.
I found Lawrence's first book wonderful, particularly in its positivity, lightness and humor. I disliked the gratuitous violence in her second book, as I dislike the intolerance in this one. I will try the next one, but if it's a bit like this one, that will be the last one of hers I read. I also agree with an earlier reviewer that the level of melodrama Lawerence uses is unwelcome in this genere.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing Compared to First Two Books June 24 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
It will be hard to review this book without giving away major plot points (but I won't--promise!). Suffice it to say that while in the previous books, the heroine is intelligent and makes good decisions, in this book from the very beginning she makes very bad decisions. As if that isn't bad enough, the authorities around her also make bad decisions and the cost at the end is more than would be worth paying if this were "real life."
I like to read mysteries where the protagonist shows some skill in solving the mystery and where their good decisions (whether intuitive or otherwise) result in the solution. From the beginning, in this book, the heroine knows that bad things are going to happen and yet she keeps going anyway. What's the point of being psychic if you're not going to follow your intuition?
I was stunned and disappointed when I finished this one. I guess if you're a fan of this series you ought to read it anyway (and I still plan on reading the next one). But this is clearly the weakest of the three so far.
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