#BlogTour | #ExcerptReveal | ZODIAC by Anamaria Lonescu @ami2ro @CorylusB @Lovebookgroup #Lovebookstours

Hello and welcome to our spot on the Zodiac blog tour! Please scroll down for an excerpt.


When investigator Sergiu Manta is handed the investigation into a series of bizarre murders, he can’t sure what he’s getting involved in as he has to work with regular detective Marius Stanescu, who has his own suspicions about the biker he has been told to work with, and wants to get to the truth. The twists and turns of their investigation takes them from the city of Bucharest to the mountains of rural Romania, and back.


Chief Inspector Marius Stanescu paced from one end of his office to the other, puffing smoke like a chimney. Anyone would expect that a senior post in the quiet police district of Sinaia, deep in the lush Prahova valley, packed with tourists for much of the year, would be as good as a session in a spa on the shores of Lake Amara. The truth was that most of the time it was a remarkably relaxed place for law and order. But every now and then something truly mind-boggling would crop up. He had never felt so frustrated in all of his twenty years of policing. Well, maybe that wasn’t quite true. There had been that case five years ago, when an old man murdered that Catholic priest.

At least, back then he had been allowed to get on with his job and catch the criminal. Now the situation was unbelievably complex and he had been forbidden from interfering in a case in his own back yard. Less than forty-eight hours ago, a government official by the name of Sebastian Modrogan had been found dead in his hotel suite. He appeared to be have been poisoned and his much younger fiancée was nowhere to be found. His team dug out some juicy details about the official’s private life, including that a year before his death divorce had put an end to twenty-five years of marriage. According to the tabloids, his young blonde chief of staff was the reason for him abandoning his wife. Bitter and ashamed, his former wife had hidden herself away in her home town of Voineasa.

He had been about to go for a trip up there himself to push the investigation forward when a heavyweight from Internal Affairs had marched into his office without knocking, flashing an ID that said his name was Branescu. The man had proceeded to slap a written order on his desk, confiscated the case notes and even the computer hard drives containing information about Modrogan’s death. The inspector had tried to protest, but he’d been ignored.

That’s why Marius was in his office, chain smoking in anger and frustration. Orders or no orders, he was a policeman and had no intention of backing off just because some officials were jittery about the way he carried out the investigation. But it looked like he had no choice. To hell with every one of them!

He got up and went to the filing cabinet in the corner of the room, took out a couple of files, felt for the bottle at the back and took a decent slug that helped dampen his fury. Back at his desk, he snatched the biggest envelope he could find, and stuffed the remaining case notes into it. In his haste to get the job done, he dropped a photo from the crime scene. He picked it up and took a look. For the life of him, he had no idea what this thing was all about, and most likely, he never would find out. He shrugged his shoulders and dropped the picture into the envelope with the other paperwork. Then he got up, yanked open the door and yelled.

‘Vasilescule, rise and shine!’

A young man in uniform appeared.

‘Somewhere down the hallway there’s a clown from the Internal Affairs Administration who looks like an undertaker,’ he said, handing him the envelope. ‘Hand him this and tell him that I’ll break his legs if he ever shows up again.’ 

Anamaria Lonescu

About Corylus Books:

Corylus Book is a new venture aiming to publish fiction translated into English. The people behind the company have very different backgrounds, but what brings us together is a deep appreciation of crime fiction and a strong interest in books from countries that so have been under-represented in English.

It took a while before it turned out that everyone’s thoughts had been on similar lines – that we wanted to take a chance on presenting some of the great European crime fiction that wouldn’t normally make its way into English. With a mixture of language, translation and other skills between the four of us, it seemed the logical next step to take.

The first Corylus books are a pair of Romanian crime novellas, Living Candles by Teodora Matei and Zodiac by Anamaria Ionescu.

There’s more to come in 2020 – starting with Romanian novelist’s Bogdan Teodorescu’s Sword, a powerful political thriller that has already been a bestseller in Romania and in its French translation. Sword will be available in May and will be followed later in the year by the first of two books by Icelandic crime writer Sólveig Pálsdóttir. The Fox will be available in the second half of this year, followed by Shackles in 2021.

And there’s more to come, with a novel by Bogdan Hrib set partly in Romania and partly in the north-east of England, a second novel from Teodora Matei, and we’re talking to more exciting writers from across Europe about what we can do together…

You can buy Death In Smoke from the following booksellers (and obviously many more! Support your local booksellers where you can!)

Amazon (UK) | Amazon (US) | Amazon (AU)

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