Sonderbooks Book Reviews by Sondra Eklund

Sonderbooks Stand-out 2005
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****Eight of Swords

by David Skibbins

Reviewed June 20, 2005.
Thomas Dunne Books (St. Martin’s Minotaur), New York, 2005.  261 pages.
Sonderbooks Stand-out 2005 (#5, Mystery)

I was very impressed with this first detective novel and am sure I’m going to try to read any forthcoming books by this author.

Eight of Swords features a detective not quite like any other ever created.  “Quirky” doesn’t begin to describe him.  Warren Ritter is only one alias used by this man, once known as Richard.  He currently works as a tarot card reader in Berkeley.  He’s been in hiding since the sixties when his work with the Underground went bad.  He doesn’t trust police, has money squirreled away in different accounts, is manic-depressive, and is ready to get out of town.  He has several surprising talents that come up in the course of the book.

One day, a lovely college student gets a reading, and he doesn’t tell her the fully bad ramifications of what the cards say about her.  He gets a sick feeling when he hears on the news that she’s been kidnapped.  Of course, he becomes a suspect, and much more so when the girl’s mother consults him and then gets murdered.  Not trusting police, Warren turns to his own resources to try to solve the crime and stay out of prison.

This book is completely entertaining.  While providing a traditional mystery, it’s got a detective with methods unlike any other.  David Skibbins is a new talent to watch.

Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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