Warren Ritter is not a typical hero for a murder mystery. For one thing, "Warren Ritter" isn't his real name, and is only one of several he goes by. He's been living under the radar for thirty-odd years, ever since his activities as a political radical and leader of the Weather Underground went sour. These days he doesn't really have to work for a living (one of his identities had the foresight to invest in Microsoft a couple of decades ago), but to keep busy he reads Tarot cards on a street corner in Berkeley, California. The book gets started when his reading for a random young woman is filled with warnings, and later that same day she is kidnapped.
The author, David Skibbins, has written a second book featuring the same character. It's also named after a Tarot card: High Priestess. With 78 cards in a Tarot deck, he's got the possibility of a really long-running series ahead of him; it'll be interesting to see if the character of Warren Ritter/Richard Green/Dave Ellbruck et al. can support such a series. The character is the best thing about the first book, Eight of Swords; he's not only a fugitive with understandable paranoia issues and a deep distrust of authority, he's also got rapid cycling bipolar disorder. The supporting characters of his paraplegic hacker love interest and his octogenarian therapist are equally intriguing.
Originally posted at MySpace on 5/23/06