THE STAR (Amateur Sleuth-California-Cont) – G+
Skibbins, David – 3rd book
Thomas Dunne Books, 2007- US Hardcover- ISBN: 9780312361938

Warren Ritter’s peaceful day reading Tarot cards on Telegraph Ave. is brought to an abrupt end. His daughter, Fran, whom he has only met, shows up. She is separated from her husband, a police officer, and he has now taken their baby away from her refusing to give her back. Soon, the husband is found murdered and Fran is the prime suspect. It’s up to Warren to prove her innocence.

There was much to like about this book and a few things that didn’t quite work for me. I very much enjoy Warren. He has a great voice and provides the reader with an excellent understanding of clinical depression, although it’s almost a bit too much so, at time, as it can slow the pace of the story. I liked that the plot revolved around Warren’s family as it gives more dimension to the character. The sense of place is well done and gives the reader a real view of Greater Bay Area/Northern California towns. I’m not one who usually pays much attention to the physical book I’m reading, but I did notice it here. I Ioved the type font used for the headings and, with the story taking place around Christmas, the use of old carols at the beginning of each section. However, the publisher has changed the style of the covers and I really preferred the old ones. Now we come to the “didn’t quite work for me” part. One problem with writing in the first person is conveying what happens when the character is not on scene. I felt it a bit awkward to think so many people would remember long conversations verbatim. I also kept wondering: where were the detectives who would have been investigating the husband’s murder. However, there were more things to like about the book than not. The plot was interesting, the story definitely kept me reading and I enjoyed it.

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