The Light Beside the Sea by Connie di Marco

The Light Beside the Sea by Connie di Marco Banner


by Connie di Marco

June 3-28, 2024 Virtual Book Tour


The Light Beside the Sea by Connie di Marco

The Zodiac Mysteries 

So many deaths . . . An elusive shaman, a creature of the underworld, Here to unleash evil? Or bring justice to the wronged?

San Francisco astrologer Julia Bonatti has been haunted for years by the hit and run death of her fiancé, Michael Sefton. The driver of the vehicle was never apprehended. The lone witness to the accident spoke to no one and now is dead. Even the cold case detective assigned to the case died before any resolution was found. Every time Julia thought she might be getting close to an answer, each clue led only to a dead end.

Michael, a graduate student, had just returned from an archeological dig in Guatemala when he was killed. But why did he mail his journal to Julia for safekeeping before his return home? What was he afraid of? Why did another graduate student fall to his death on that trip? And now, another man connected with that journey has been murdered closer to home. And the murderer hasn’t finished.

When Julia finally finds the courage to delve into the journal Michael sent to her years before, she learns of the undercurrents, jealousies and anger between members of the group. She begins to understand the pressure and fear her fiancé was coping with and his suspicions of their University mentor who was most likely engaged in unethical and illegal behavior.

But events soon take a darker turn when Julia finds a likeness of the Maya god Hunhau, god of death and the underworld, on her doorstep. A strange man covered with markings and tattoos keeps appearing to her but no one else seems to see him. With guidance from another professor she’s introduced to a world she never knew existed.

Is the man she sees human? And is he under the sway of the Maya god of death?

Will he unleash evil or is he here to right a wrong done to his people?

Julia must move quickly or her death will be the next.

Book Details:

Genre: Traditional mystery
Published by: Indie
Publication Date: May 6, 2024
Number of Pages:370 est
ISBN: 979-8989009596 | eBook 9798989009589
Series: The Zodiac Mysteries, Book 5
Book Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

Rafael was silent on the drive along Market Street. He turned south at Van Ness and followed that wide boulevard until we reached the corner of Folsom and 21st. We were away from the fog in the western part of the city and the sun had dipped below the horizon. The dash lights cast his face in long shadows. I was starting to regret accepting his invitation but his curiosity was contagious. I wanted to know as much as I could about this collection of tiny bones and what it could mean. Mostly, why it was dumped on my doorstep and why was I seeing things no one else could see. “You seem to really know your way around the city,” I remarked. “Angelenos usually hate driving in San Francisco.”

He turned his head and broke into a wide smile. “I grew up in the Mission. Long before it was a trendy place to live. It’s certainly changed a lot over the years, but I know the place like the back of my hand.” He pulled to the curb in front of a well-maintained rather plain two-story Victorian painted a soft blue. “This is the place. This lady’s name is Manuela. She has . . . certain talents.”

“Do you think she’ll see us now?”

“Yes,” he nodded. “I’ve known her most of my life. I planned to visit her on this trip to the city anyway.” He climbed out of the car and walked around to the passenger side, opening the door for me. I followed him up the long wooden stairway where he knocked and rang the bell. A lamp was lit at the front windows and through the curtain I could see a light burning at the end of a long hallway, a kitchen light. A few moments later, a figure appeared backlit by the light. The door opened to reveal a stout woman somewhere in her sixties, with a smiling round face and a mop of gray curly hair. She wore a long colorful dress with bright patterns of red, green and orange.

Ay,” her smile became wider. “Mijo, how are you?” She spoke in heavily-accented English.

“I’m fine, Doña Manuelita.” He leaned over and gave her a warm hug. “I hope it’s okay, I brought a friend who has some questions. This is Julia,” he said. “I’m hoping you can help her.”

Si, si, of course, of course, come in.” We stepped inside the entryway. Manuela turned to me and took my hands in hers. She closed her eyes for a few moments as she held tight to my hands. “Si, okay,” she said. I felt as if I had just passed an inspection. She turned and without another word led us through an archway into a central room where the windows were covered with heavy drapes. She switched on a small lamp at a side table and sat down. She waved a hand to indicate we should sit and Rafael and I sat on either side of her.

“Julia, show Manuela the talisman you received.”

I pulled the narrow box out of my purse and pulled the top off. I pulled back the cloth covering and left the figure of bones resting in its bed. I pushed it across the table to Manuela. She moved it closer and gazed at it for a long moment. She held a hand above the bones without touching them. A faraway look came into her eyes. She sighed deeply then stood and reached for a heavy candleholder from the credenza. She lit the candle and turned off the lamp. Other than the flickering flame, the room was completely dark. Rafael sat silently, watching her. She placed her fingertips gently on the bones and leaned back in the chair, her eyes closed. Her breathing became heavier. I was reminded of Zora and the way she appeared when going into a trance state.

“Aaahh,” she breathed a long sigh and began to tremble. She moaned and began to mumble in words I couldn’t make out. Then she uttered a long stream of words in a language I didn’t recognize, peppered with a few words in Spanish. After several minutes of this, she finally fell silent and opened her eyes, glancing first at Rafael and then at me. She spoke rapidly in Spanish to Rafael. He nodded in acknowledgment and turned to me.

“Manuela says there is great danger. That someone has come here from far away. He is human, like a shaman, and he is in the sway of terrible forces we cannot understand. No harm is aimed at you. He is here to cure something, to right a wrong, like . . . lancing a boil. She doesn’t know what he intends to do but it has something to do with his culture, with righting a wrong against that culture. You must be very careful that you are not near those who have done wrong otherwise you would not be safe. Your death could also result.

I took a deep breath. “Is that all she said?”

“That’s the gist of it.”

Manuela grasped my hand. “This,” she said, indicating the talisman, “is to tell you he is here. Bad things will happen.” She turned to Rafael. “You explain better to your friend.”

“I will,” his face was quite serious. He turned to Manuela, “I’ll come back for a real visit. Tomorrow?”

Her face lit up. “Si, come then.” She stood and turned the lamp back on, blowing out the candle. She made the sign of the cross on her breast and took my hands in hers once more. “Tenga cuidado, señorita.

I had been present at psychic readings and seances, but there was something about this evening that chilled me to the bone. I followed Rafael out to the front door and turned to Manuela. “Gracias, Manuela.”

She smiled widely, “De nada.”


Excerpt from The Light Beside the Sea by Connie di Marco. Copyright 2024 by Connie di Marco. Reproduced with permission from Connie di Marco. All rights reserved.

 Author Bio:

Connie di Marco

Connie di Marco is the author of the Zodiac Mysteries featuring San Francisco astrologer Julia Bonatti, a woman who never thought murder would be part of her practice. The Light Beside the Sea is the fifth novel in the series. Earlier books are The Madness of Mercury (Zodiac #1), All Signs Point to Murder (Zodiac #2), Tail of the Dragon (Zodiac #3), Enter a WizardStage Left (an e-book prequel novella), and Serpent's Doom (Zodiac #4).

Writing as Connie Archer, she is also the author of the national bestselling Soup Lover's Mysteries from Penguin Random House: A Spoonful of MurderA Broth of BetrayalA Roux of RevengeLadle to the Grave and A Clue in the Stew. You can find her excerpts and recipes in The Cozy Cookbook and The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook. Visit her website at and X/Twitter@SnowflakeVT.

Connie is a member of the Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, Crime Writers Association (UK) and Sisters in Crime.

You can learn more about the Zodiac Mysteries and read excerpts at:
BookBub - @Connie_di_Marco
Instagram - @Connie_di_Marco
Twitter/X - @AskZodia
Facebook -

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