High Priestess

David Skibbins, Author . St. Martin's Minotaur/Dunne $23.95 (280p) ISBN 978-0-312-35233-2

The great strength of Skibbins's second mystery, as in his first novel, Eight of Swords (2005), is his unusual narrator, a '60s radical who's been hiding from the law under the alias Warren Ritter for 30 years. Ritter ostensibly makes his living reading tarot cards from an outdoor table on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley, Calif., but he does it mostly for enjoyment: "Back in the seventies I had parlayed my thirty pieces of silver into a comfortable Microsoft nest egg." So when a man who looks like a beardless Santa Claus offers him first a large bribe and then the threat of revealing his past, Ritter resists. But the big man turns out to be the leader of an infamous satanic cult and the twin brother of "a woman who had loved me and destroyed my life." How can Ritter say no, even though his search for whoever is killing cult members is matched by every tarot card he turns over indicating danger and death? Not the least of Skibbins's many skills is making us believe that Ritter believes pieces of cardboard can predict the future. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 02/06/2006
Release date: 04/01/2006
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-1-4299-0879-5
Mass Market Paperbound - 292 pages - 978-0-312-35234-9
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