HIGH PRIESTESS (Amateur Sleuth-Berkeley, CA-Cont) – Poor Skibbins,
David – 2nd in series
Thomas Dunne Books, 2006-Hardcover

During the 1970s, Warren Ritter was known by his birth name but became a member of the Weather Underground and has been living under cover, now reading tarot cards on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley. He wasn’t expecting someone to sit down at his table, call him by his birth name and offer him a lot of money. Edward and Veronique, his sister and Warren’s former lover, run a fellowship of Satanism. Someone is killing off the members and has threatened the pair. They want Warren to find out whom.

Although I enjoyed Skibbins first book “Eight of Swords,” this one left a lot to be desired. Warren is an interesting and complex character, working within his manic-depression, but he is the only one. Although I sympathized with Warren’s girlfriend, there was nothing about her which came across in this book as appealing, expect her ability to hack into systems and obtain information for Warren. She was much better drawn in the previous book. There were a lot of characters involved, but there was little development of any of them. Although I am David’s age and share his political views, I felt it was a bit heavy-handed. I don’t read mysteries for political validation. As a resident of the area, I do appreciate Skibbin’s ability to depict the towns along the East side of the Bay. And, I must say, the cover art on the books is wonderful. My biggest problem was the plot. I spotted the killer almost immediately; the “let-me-confess-everything-to-you-before-I-kill-you” scene was silly, as was the hugely coincidental and well-timed event that happened to the killer. The ending, however, did make me feel that Warren and his girlfriend are perfectly suited for each other. I don't think I'll be visiting Telegraph Ave. or Warren again soon.

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