Death in the 12th House Paperback – Large Print, Nov 6 2012
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"There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of by the police, as Lewis' unconventional astrologer-detective demonstrates in this deftly plotted tale of murder, intrigue, and the corrosive influence of money. A mix of interesting characters and insightful social observations bode well for the future of the Starlight Detective Agency." "--Jeanne Matthews, author of Bet Your Bones review for Murder in the 11th House"
"It's a perfect afternoon read that will provoke smiles. Almost cozy, with a Mr. Monk like ensemble case, this series debut has tremendous potential." "-Library Journal review for Murder in the 11th House"
About the Author
Mitchell Scott Lewis is the author ofMurder in the 11th Housepublished in 2011 by Poisoned Pen Press.Murder in the 12th Houseis the second in this ongoing series. Mr. Lewis has been a New York based professional astrologer for more than 20 years with an impressive client list. He has predicted a number of financial events, including the unprecedented rise of oil prices, the collapse of the housing market and sub-prime implosion, the stock crash of '08, and the current recession, all long in advance.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The whole idea of this new book, Death in the 12th House: Where Neptune Rules, is the murder of a Rock Star who was very popular in Rock's golden years and was now on the comeback trail. Freddie Finger the lead singer for a group called Rocket Fire is found in a vacant house. Freddie's daughter, Vivian Younger, who is a movie star, hires The Starlight Detective Agency, run by David Lowell the Astrologer/Detective and his computer whiz, master computer hacker and psychic Mort, along with the Agency Assistant, Sarah, to find the murderer of her father. The Agency has helped the NYPD solve crimes in the past and has a good relationship with them. During their investigation they come up with numerous suspects including; Freddie's two ex-wives, who detest each other; band members, his manager and also a musician whose career Freddie destroyed by blackballing him with other bands. The Agency gets busy studying all the astrological charts on these various people.
As the plot thickens, the suspects various foibles are developed and brought into the plotlines in a way that the reader, even if they are not into astrology, can see what's going on.
Readers who are into astrology will read and understand more of the charts but anyone else (including me) can still understand and keep up with the story, which is really fascinatingThe author, Mitchell Scott Lewis, is an astrologer and is an expert in the field. He even predicted the Mortgage Collapse and the Stock Market Crash in 2008. I highly recommend this book to all mystery readers who enjoy a good read whether or not they fully understand the world of Astrology.
David Lowell, head honcho of the Starlight Agency, is an astrologer who has had the foresight to put his vocation to good use by predicting the ups and downs of the share market and in so doing make more than a little money. Independently wealthy, he can pick and choose the cases he investigates and is always available to help the NYPD.
Sixty year-old rock n' roller, Freddie Finger is found hanging from a pipe with three bullets in his body. It certainly doesn't need an astrologer to tell NYPD Lieutenant Roland that Freddie is dead. Still popular with rock fans, Freddie was Mr. Nasty to everyone he came in contact with during his boozy, drug fuelled career. Overwhelmed by the number of candidates who would willingly have put an end to Freddie's warbling, Roland at the insistence of Freddie's daughter, Vivian Younger, calls in Astrological Detective David Lowell. Studying Freddie's ex-wives, band members and agents birth charts, Lowell looks for indications that when the going gets tough, one of these guys or gals will tough it out with a gun. Not able to arrive at a definite conclusion on who fingered Freddie, he alerts Lieutenant Roland that the previous accidental death of another band member is connected to Freddie's murder and current planetary positions show more mayhem is on the ascendant.
Vivien Younger, as her name suggests, is considerably younger than David Lowell... doesn't matter; there star signs make a conjunction and they have a brief affair. This is well written with feeling and empathy for two star crossed lovers; Vivien, who can't accept that the father she hardly knew is now lost to her forever and David Lowell, whose life was irrevocably changed by the murder of his son and divorce from a woman he still loves.
Mitchell Scott Lewis has created an engaging group of nice, nasty and nutty New York characters who help and hinder Lowell in his quest to get the stars to spill the beans on who clipped Freddie and why. Assisted by his office team; Sarah, willing to put her life on the line for a $700.00 pair of shoes (sounds reasonable), Mort the psychic, always good to have around in case what you're looking for isn't written in the stars and strongman Andy, chauffeur and bodyguard, David Lowell outwits seriously rich, seriously mad Fat Jimmy and his dumb nephew, Thin Jimmy's bid to stop the search for Freddie's murderer. The threat from the Jimmy's neutralised, Lowell checks out possible perpetrators as the planets spin out of control through murky, mysterious star formations to finally reveal the identity of Freddie's killer.
Mitchell Scott Lewis, a New York professional astrologer, has written a pacy funny story starring Astrological Detective David Lowell, a charming guy who only uses his martial art skills when it's absolutely necessary. If reading Death In The 12th House isn't in your horoscope then pencil it in; it's an exciting entertaining read.
Someone is killing off aging rockers, and the police are more than a little stumped by it. When the body of bad boy Freddie Finger turns up, his daughter Vivian convinces the police to bring in astrologer detective David Lowell to help. With a case this high profile, the NYPD can use all the help they can get. There is a wealth of possible suspects: Freddie's ex-wife number two and soon-to-be ex number three, a bitter ex-band member, a minor mob boss, and even Freddie's manager are examined. With the help of master hacker and psychic Mort, and red-haired assistant Sarah, and chauffeur and bodyguard Andy, David must use his science and the stars to eliminate the innocent parties, and narrow down the field. Despite several attempts to stop him, David begins to close in on the truth, and the closer he gets, the more dangerous it becomes. Are all three murders related, or is there more than one plot here? Can David and his crew solve these murders before someone else gets hurt?
The character development is extremely well crafted, with people who are more than they seem in the lead roles. Even the bad guys are well done, and at times quite comical in their stereotypes. Mr. Lewis has done a marvelous job of incorporating the life of New York City into the world of the astrologer detective, giving a new look at many familiar locales.
This is a fast paced, edge-of-your seat mystery, with several side stories, at first seemingly related to the murders. I enjoyed watching as David slowly unraveled the threads and found the one that lead to the guilty parties, although there were times when the astrological terminology lost me for a bit. And in spite of the age difference, there is a brief fling between David and the rock star's daughter, well crafted and sweetly done. There are some surprising twists in this, and I certainly didn't see the ending of this one coming at all. For those who like a mystery that keeps you guessing till the end, this one works to fill that niche. A great reading experience with a surprising solution.
Originally posted at LAS Mystery Reviews
NYPD Lieutenant Roland explains to Lowell that Finger is the third ancient rocker recently murdered; Gene Hallow and Wally Fischer preceding him as victims. Using astrological charts to guide him, Lowell looks into the background of the late rocker only to find a horde of people with motives as the dead singer was mean spirited to women (especially ex-wives and groupies) and the band during his heyday as the alcoholic lead singer. With his team of Sarah the hacker, Mort the psychic and Andy the bodyguard, Lowell continues his inquiry using charts of those with a motive to reduce the pool.
The second Starlight Detective Agency Mystery is an engaging cozy starring a likable hero and a strong specialized support crew. The whodunit is fun to follow as Lowell uses astrological charts to eliminate the number of potential killers. Readers will enjoy his exploits as he seeks who caused a Death in the 12th House.
Beware of spoilers!
I want to preface this review by saying I haven't yet read the first book in this series, so forgive me if I miss something that has been mentioned in that one.
David Lowell is a wealthy astrologer, who just happens to run his own detective agency, the very lyrically named: Starlight Detective Agency. What intrigued me about this book was that David uses astrology to solve his cases. Having had my own chart done recently and understanding nothing of that reading, I was looking forward to reading something from an accomplished astrologer like Lewis, and I wasn't disappointed. In that respect, the book is engaging, and for a layperson, easy to understand in terms of the astrology aspects.
In this title, David is called in to investigate the death of Freddie Finger, an aging rocker - I kept thinking of Keith Richards when I was reading about Freddie. His is the third murder of an aging rock star and his daughter, Vivian, a famous actress, hires David to look into his murder. As a result, David spends his time looking into Freddie's wives, band-mates and manager to try and find out what happened to him. It is very much a ripped from the headlines story and the resolution was unexpected to say the least. All in all, the mystery/case aspect of this title was well done.
Another powerful aspect of this book is Lewis' love for NYC, which is apparent in his vivid descriptions of the city David lives and works in. Having read and seen a lot of photos of the destruction wrought by Hurricane Sandy, the vivid descriptions of the city are a joy to read.
But back to David. Lewis' style of writing is very laid back, and for certain aspects of the book, it works very well, but, as the book progresses, the tone never shifts. That becomes a weak part of what is a mystery series - the bulk of David's investigative technique involves interviewing people, asking them (or finding out through research) their birth details in order to create their charts, which help him direct his investigation. It's interesting, but for a detective novel, it is devoid of tension, of a sense of David's urgency to find Freddie's killer. Instead, he walks the neighborhood, or takes a drive to think.
David is also a character who doesn't struggle against anything (though I stand to be corrected considering the implications of the end - it reads like a reference to something that causes him angst from the first book) - he is wealthy, he travels in a limo, the cops trust him and his methods and he is renowned and successful. Granted, not every PI has to be poor, down on his luck and struggling for something in his life, but coupled with the laid back nature of the writing it contributed to the one-tone of the book.
There is an attempt at a romance, but it reads as a perfunctory part of the book, and is woefully under-developed. There are no stand outs in the secondary cast of characters either. I think this is a premise with such potential for more exciting stories, something I hope to see in future titles.
This review and more at openbooksociety dot com