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Eight of Swords (Tarot Card Mystery #1)

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  152 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
Tarot reader Warren Ritter has never believed in the cards’ power to foretell the future. But recently his predictions have come true with an unsettling regularity. When the first eight cards of teenage Heather Wellington’s Tarot are ominous, Warren stops the reading at nine cards instead of ten. After Heather leaves, he looks at number ten–the Death card…

Warren knows the
...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published April 4th 2006 by Minotaur Books (first published August 1st 1957)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Nikki
Jan 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
First in a series featuring Warren Ritter, a 60s radical fugitive turned tarot card reader. Great setting in Berkeley, interesting characters and plot.
LJ
EIGHT OF SWORDS (Amateur Sleuth-Berkeley, CA-Cont) – VG
Skibbins, David – 1st in series
Thomas Dunne Books, 2005- Hardcover
Warren Ritter, not the name to which he was born, suffers from manic-depression, and is an expert in martial arts and handguns. He has also spent 30 years hiding from the law, and is now a tarot-card reader in Berkeley. Although it began as a cover and easy way to make a cash living, every now and then the cards can't be ignored. Warren does a reading for a young woman who is
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Gina Boyd
Not a bad mystery. Not great, either, but this is Skibbons' first book, and the story was better than the writing. This gives me hope for future books (this is a series), because the writing can come with practice.

I like the tarot tie-in, and the "Warren" and the secondary characters. I have the second book now and am looking forward to finding out what happens next.
Tim
Feb 24, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Words cannot express my distaste for the protagonist of this novel. He isn't the reason I moved out of Berkeley, but if he had been real, he'd have been a fine one.
Reviewed for PW
Sanuk
Feb 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Simple but entertaining mystery. I enjoyed the fact that tarot was part of the story.
Deana
Apr 30, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011, read-library
My library was featuring mystery novels when I went, and this one caught my eye because it contained the word "sword", which gets me a point in my online book club for this month. Silly reason to read a book? Maybe, but it works.

The book is the first of a series featuring 1970s rebel turned tarot reader Warren Ritter (not his real name). Warren's life is turned upside down one day when two events occur: a girl who got a particularly horrible tarot reading from him is kidnapped, and his sister (w
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Spuddie
Sep 24, 2007 rated it it was amazing
First of a mystery series featuring Warren Ritter, a fifty-something tarot reader with a street stall in Berkeley, California, and fugitive from the law because of his “un-American” activities back in the ‘60’s. Well, actually, it’s believed that he’s dead—and Richard Green, the person he was, IS dead for all intents and purposes. He’s also bi-polar and prone to do a lot of self-medicating.

The story sucked me in immediately, with Warren doing a reading for a teenage girl in which he forsees a b
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Lake Oz Fic Chick
Warren Ritter is on the lam. Everyone, including his family and the New York police, thinks the former revolutionary guerilla died in an explosion thirty years ago. Now he works the streets of Berkeley as a Tarot-card reader. When a rich teenager comes to him for a reading, the cards hint at danger, but he balks at telling her the full story. Naturally, she is immediately kidnapped, and Warren is not only crippled by guilt, but a suspect in her disappearance. Can he find the girl, clear himself, ...more
Jane
Aug 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
And I quote - His sleuth - an 'on the lam', tarot reading , motorcycle-riding, aikido-wielding, manic-depressive refugee from the '60s Weather Underground - end quote - do I really have to say anymore? But I will. It's Berkley present day and a street tarot reader becomes involved in a kidnapping and murder. There are holes in the story but what a rush of 60's memories for anyone who was there at the time.
Marjorie Jensen
A quick and fun read with lots of elements that I enjoy: Tarot, mystery, bookstores, contempt for The Man, and love of the East Bay. I like reading books that are set in places I can't afford to visit or fantastic places that don't exist, but it's also great to see the street where I used to live in Berkeley, my alma mater Mills College, the U.C. Berkeley campus where I currently work, and Telegraph Ave vendors on the page.
Ethan
Jun 08, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My first mystery of the summer. I have declared this the "Summer of Mystery". It was a fun one to start with. A quick read and a fast paced story. It was interesting to see how the main character would handle these problems while keeping his identity hidden.
My only criticism is his sub-plot. His sister and daughter come into the story but I don't see that they added much too it or made the plot turn in any way.
joyce
Nov 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Lovers of mysteries set in Berkeley
Shelves: mystery
I like books set in places that I know. This is set in Berkeley and does a good job at conveying Berkeley's particular charm. The perspective is interesting, coming from a streetside Tarot reader, it has both ups & downs. The writing draws you into the characters and makes you want to meet them for an espresso at the Med - since you won't run into them at Cody's :-(
Spotsalots
This was pretty good as mysteries go--while not likely to become a classic, it keeps the reader turning the pages. As it's only a few years old and set in Berkeley, I found it kept mentioning Berkeley landmarks that have very recently disappeared, like Cody's and Black Oak; that was mildly disquieting. There was a time when it looked like both bookstores would be around forever.
Maurice
Great, gritty paranormal-crime mystery. Big on the crime, only the barest soupcon of paranormal. There is also a levening of romance, this is also skewed far off into left field. So, while sitting comfortably in a familiar genre, this tale is so completely unlike it's niche mates that it deserves a cubby-hole all of its own. Loved it and can't wait to get my hands on the next instalment.
Jo
Aug 13, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had to kind of force myself to finish this book. Sadly, it wasn't as involving as I hoped it would be. There were some shining moments, though - Sally was a terrific character in every way (bonus points for believability) and the insight into bipolar disorder without being heavyhanded about it. I like my mysteries 'grab 'em by the throat,' and this one just doesn't have it.
Wendy
Apr 05, 2012 rated it liked it
I wavered between "liked it" and "really liked it." I chose the option with fewer stars because, while the characters are fairly engaging, and I enjoyed the story, I didn't care for the rampant speciesism of the narrator who is otherwise lefty and considers himself progressive, or the sexism. While not overt, it is noticeable.
Anne Odom
Sep 16, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I rarely leave a book unfinished, but this was one. I found it fascinating to start with, but I ultimately lost interest as the plot lagged a bit 3/4 of the way through. Perhaps a bit painful to read for those who also suffer from mental illness (main character has bipolar disorder).
Marcia
Jun 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a fun mystery to read. It was light, suspenseful, and quite different than expected. This book gave me a few laughs. This is an easy, light read that I recommend to my friends. Thanks, Ferris!
Kate
Mar 18, 2008 rated it liked it
Reasonably entertaining mystery series set in Berkeley, CA featuring a former 60's revolutionary who does tarot readings on the street. Plots weave traditional murder mysteries with Warren's attempts to come to terms with his past.
Barbera
May 01, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: old hippies familiar with the east bay
Shelves: recentlyread
A pretty predictable mystery, but the main character is a former Weather activist who's still underground and makes a living reading tarot cards on Telegraph Avenue. Reading along and saying to yourself "I've been there," or "I know where that is" is lots of fun.
Prplpckl
Sep 12, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Good middle. Horrible end.
Cindee
Sep 27, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very different sort of mystery- the main mystery is fairly easily sleuthed. However, the narrator's own past is a difficult puzzle that begs to be solved.
Barb
Jan 06, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
quick read, decent mystery, appealed to my 60's reminiscences, appreciated the psych babble.
Jen
Sep 16, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like this series - this is the first and I read the second one first. Fun main character - tarot card reader and bipolar.
Lefty Right
I really didn't enjoy the authors writing style. There was too much rambling about the main characters thoughts on society for my liking, it seemed to detract from the story.
Vivienne
May 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery

Quite an interesting premise for a mystery novel and I enjoyed it even if quite a standard whodunit.
Lois
May 02, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quirky, a bit uneven, even though it won some award. Complicated hero--a manic depressive who is on the run from the FBI
Hilary
Jan 10, 2010 rated it liked it
Interesting read, but definitely a "summer reading" book for me. Will read the next one in the series as well. :)
Virginia
Apr 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery, tarot
Liked very much, enough to search out the others. The voice is very strong, a little dramatic, but I love Tarot and this was a fascinating read.
Beckster
rated it liked it
Feb 24, 2013
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David Skibbins won the St. Martin’s Minotaur/Malice Domestic Competition for Best First Traditional Mystery Novel with Eight of Swords. He is a certified life coach and lives on the Pacific Coast in California with his brilliant wife and his goofy Portuguese water dog.

More about David Skibbins...

Other Books in the Series

Tarot Card Mystery (4 books)
  • High Priestess
  • The Star: A Tarot Card Mystery (Tarot Card Mysteries)
  • The Hanged Man: A Tarot Card Mystery

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“I hate all electronic toys: cell phones, e-mail, PalmPilots, handheld Global Positioning System equipment, and the whole raft of gadgets that intrude on solitude.

When I was a kid I used to disappear into the woods all day. Now I can walk in the wilderness without wasting my valuable time. As I hike along I can call anyone in the world, schedule an appointment, take a picture of me standing next to a tree and then send the person a map so he or she can join me there. Solitude has been snuffed out.”
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