I will admit I was very reluctant to read David Skibbins' debut mystery, Eight of Swords. The hero is a manic-depressive reading tarot cards on the streets of Berkeley. It sounded just like something out of the 1960s or '70s.
But, Warren Ritter, the tarot card reader, was even more intriguing than the plot of the book. Readers who are looking for fascinating characters can't go wrong with Warren. Born Richard Green, he was a leader of the Weather Underground, until he was supposedly blown up in the 1970s. Actually, he disappeared and built a few different identities in case he had to disappear again.
Thirty years later, he's reading tarot cards in Berkeley when he has an extremely bad day. A teenage client is hollered at by an ex-boyfriend, and later kidnapped. His sister appears, and recognizes him behind his plastic surgery. What can get worse? What if the kidnapping case turns to a murder case, and someone tries to pin the murder on Warren?
Warren's story will capture your imagination. I've already picked up the second in the Tarot Card mystery series, High Priestess, to see what happens to Warren Ritter.
David Skibbins' web site is www.davidskibbins.com
Eight of Swords by David Skibbins. St. Martins, c2005. ISBN 0312352255 (paperback), 274p.