Review: Zodiac by Sam Wilson 5*


Zodiac by Sam Wilson

The synopsis:

In a society divided along Zodiac lines, status is cast at birth – and binding for life.

When seemingly random murders plague the city, is it a rebellion against the system or the work of a twisted serial killer? Zodiac is an imaginative and gripping thriller from debut author Sam Wilson.

Even for the most experienced detectives, every once in a while a murder can shake them to the core. Like when the Chief of Police is killed in his own home.

For Detective Jerome Burton, catching the killer will change his life forever.

Because this murder is only the first piece of a vast and twisted puzzle made of secrets, lies and tragedy.

The signs are everywhere. But is the truth written in the stars or hiding in the shadows?

My review:

This is such a unique novel. One that I don’t think you can fully grasp from the description, but it simply demands to be read. It’s such an impressive concept, I felt completely in awe of the writing. I only hope I can do it justice with a review!

Set in San Celeste, a city divided not by gender, race or religion, but by zodiac sign. Aries are the cities underclass, the violent and uncontrollable. Aquarius, Sagittarius and Gemini are the professional and creative types etc. Each sign has their own purpose within society. Separated in the education system and raised to specific values as children. This novel is by no means astrology waffle; this is a novel where the astrology is the coding for the series. The ideology is intense and very well written and detailed. You will be very drawn in and the concept which will be fully explained as the story flows.

The novel opens with Rachel Wells (Libra) on her way to her job as a maid. Rachel, as a Libra is a people person, which must work within the service industry. When she arrives at the address, she stumbles across a violent scene of murder. The occupant, Chief of police Peter Williams has been gutted, lying bleeding out in a trench style grave, with indicators that this is ‘sign related violence’. Detectives Kolacny and Burton are assigned to the case and must establish, why this has happened and who is responsible. Not any easy task when all signs point to the movement ‘Aries rising’, a political group that are motivated to change the way the society is ran by any means necessary.

Back at the SCPD San Celeste Police Department, Detective Jerome Burton is assigned an astrologer for the case, Lindiwe Childs (Lindi). Lindi is an Aquarian professor known to use horay astrology to prevent crime. Their investigation is through and we learn more and more about the society in which they all live. We learn about the various political movements. How the police are 90% Taurus themselves and have been known to use this at times to oppress other signs considered lower in the hierarchy of society.

In alternative chapters we meet Daniel Lapton, a wealthy Capricorn, now owner to a chain of hotels and exceptional wealth. After inheriting the families fortune upon the death of his father he discovers a letter among his father’s possessions. It would seem 17 years ago Daniel had a daughter, Ashleigh. His father upon knowing the child would be born a Pisces, a scandal of the Capricorns. Arranged for Daniel to never learn of her existence, a secret he was prepared to take to the grave.

We learn of Burton’s and Daniel’s past and the case continues for the police. When more people in positions of power and influence are targeted. You have to ask yourself, is it political? Is there something in Daniels past that has repercussions for the future? Where is Daniels daughter now? What secrets lie in the past of the detective leading the case?

This novel is very thought-provoking. The zodiac signs add depths in terms of characterisation. There is room from comparison between the signs and say, for example left/right political views or rich/poor divide in modern society. I can’t say too much more regarding the plot for fear of leaving spoilers. But it is very well written and as the reader, it is a form of escapism to another world where people think/act differently. One thing I loved, as a reader of diverse fiction, is that within a zodiac society none, and I mean none, of the modern day labels, matter. You can be whoever you want to be, as long as you conform to the zodiac signs! This is such a clever idea and I can’t praise it enough. A thoroughly enjoyable 5* debut novel!

*Thank you to the publisher for my copy of the novel.