Warren RitterEight of Swords (2005) High Priestess (2006)is certainly not a typical detective. On the lam after participating in radical politics and coping with bipolar disorder, he ekes out a living reading tarot cards on Berkeley's Telegraph Avenue. When a daughter, Fran, whose existence was unknown to him, asks for help, he cannot refuse. Fran is separated from her husband, Orrin, a police officer who has taken their five-month-old son. Fran would like to get her child back, but Orrin will declare her an unsuitable parent if she tries. When Orrin turns up dead, Fran is the logical suspect, and Warren must rise to the occasion. With the help of his unconventional group of friends, which includes a former Black Panther, a biker psychiatrist, and his disabled computer-expert girlfriend, the tarot detective turns all the right cards. Skibbins' third mystery combines lots of action, a scene-stealing supporting cast, a well-constructed plot, and liberal doses of Bay Area atmosphere at its most quirky.
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