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    Review of HIGH PRIESTESS by David Skibbins (see his website)


    Thomas Dunne Books, St. Martin's Minotaur, April 2006

    Warren Ritter (formerly Richard) has been on the run since escaping an explosion and leaving the Weather Underground. He's gradually creating a life for himself as a tarot card reader in Berkley, California, but his past catches up with him when Edward, brother of Warren's Weatherman girlfriend, Veronique, and now head of the local Church of Satan, catches up with him. Edward is frightened. Someone is murdering the leaders of his church--and he wants Warren, who recently solved another murder, to help. Saying no isn't easy--both because Edward has the power to destroy Warren's carefully constructed life and because Warren still has feelings for Veronique.

    With the help of his computer-hacker girlfriend, Warren develops a suspect list. A minister at a fundamentalist church, the owner of a shop specializing in Angel merchandise, and a Japanese student who happens to be related to senior leaders of the Japanese Mafia. None of these women are easy to go after, but when someone shoots at Veronique while she and Warren are coming from dinner, he knows he's got to solve the case--even if his girlfriend ditches him.

    When he's not working on the case, Warren deals with his own issues--manic-depressive disease, the recent discovery that he's not only a father, he's a grandfather, and his continued guilt for his involvement with the Weather Underground--and the abrupt end to that involvement.

    Author David Skibbins does a great job with the character of Warren Ritter. He's interesting, conflicted, and complex. His writing is solid and workmanlike, keeping the reader involved in the story and trying to untangle the clues. Skibbins's use of tarot cards to foreshadow the plot is an effective technique. HIGH PRIESTESS is definitely worth the read--and I'll keep my eyes open for more mysteries by Skibbins.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 8/20/06

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