Eight of Swords

Eight of Swords

Book - 2005 | 1st ed.
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Baker & Taylor
Twenty years after a mysterious crime forces him to change his identity, Warren Ritter works as a San Francisco fortune teller and wonders if he actually has supernatural powers, a suspicion he puts to the test when his tarot deck predicts an acquaintance's death. 20,000 first printing.

McMillan Palgrave
A strange thing was happening to Warren Ritter. He certainly didn't believe in the tarot. He was a businessman, setting up a folding table on a San Francisco street where a stream of passersby could bring him as much as a hundred dollars a day when the weather was right. But he was beginning to notice more and more that what he had learned to predict from his tarot cards seemed to be coming to pass with an unsettling regularity. It made him do odd things. Like stop teenage Heather Wellington's tarot at nine cards instead of ten. The first eight had been ominous, the ninth more upbeat, so Warren simply stopped the reading there. It was only after Heather had left that he looked at number ten-it was the Death card.

The Death card does not automatically doom the person whose tarot it turns up in. But it doesn't mean there are good things ahead, either. So Warren, the scoffer, couldn't help feeling horror later that day, to see Heather's face on a pizza parlor TV screen with the word Kidnapped! slashed across the top. Guilt, that was what gripped him, as though he could have done something, warned her-but didn't.

"Warren Ritter" is not the name he was christened with. He is a fugitive of sorts. Everyone, including his family and the New York police, believes he died in a mysterious incident thirty years ago, and he has no intention of changing that. Now, on top of the guilt he lives with, is the feeling that somehow he is responsible for young Heather Wellington's capture-that it is his call to find her, and to get at the people who took her.

Eight of Swords is an astonishing debut novel, and a very different novel from the old notion that a traditional mystery is along the lines of "a dead vicar in the library." Warren's exciting and often dangerous quest through the streets-some of them quite mean-of San Francisco to find the girl and rescue her is more than just a suspenseful tale, it is also a moving portrait of a man returning to the world he had turned his back on three decades earlier.


Blackwell North Amer
A strange thing was happening to Warren Ritter. He certainly didn't believe in the tarot. He was a businessman, setting up a folding table on a Berkeley street where a stream of passersby could bring him as much as a hundred dollars a day when the weather was right. But he was beginning to notice more and more that what he had learned to predict from his cards seemed to be coming to pass with an unsettling regularity. It made him do odd things. Like stop teenage Heather Wellington's tarot at nine cards instead of ten. The first eight had been ominous, the ninth more upbeat, so Warren simply stopped the reading there. It was only after Heather had left that he looked at number ten - it was the Death card.
The Death card does not automatically doom the person whose tarot it turns up in. But it doesn't mean there are good things ahead, either. So Warren, the scoffer, couldn't help feeling horror later that day, to see Heather's face on a pizza parlor TV screen with the word Kidnapped! slashed across the top. Guilt, that was what gripped him, as though he could have done something, warned her - but didn't.
"Warren Ritter" is not the name he was christened with. He is a fugitive of sorts. Everyone, including his family and the New York police, believes he died in a mysterious incident thirty years ago, and he has no intention of changing that. Now, on top of the guilt he lives with, is the feeling that somehow he is responsible for young Heather Wellington's capture - that it is his call to find her, and to get at the people who took her.

Baker
& Taylor

Twenty years after being forced to change his identity, Warren Ritter works as a fortune teller and wonders if he actually has supernatural powers, a suspicion he puts to the test when his tarot deck predicts an acquaintance's death.

Publisher: New York : Thomas Dunne Books, 2005.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780312339067
0312339062
9780312352257
0312352255
Characteristics: 261 p. ; 22 cm.

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WhidbeyIslander
Aug 05, 2017

Easy reading but ultimately not satisfying. The central character wasn't very appealing, and acted like a jerk a lot of the time (he's 50-something and complimented himself for restraint in not having sex with an underage teenage girl; plus his interactions with police were pretty juvenile). Book was too long for the subject matter with a few too many side trips down memory lane. It gave a little detail about tarot cards, but so does Wikipedia. Not recommended.

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DavidBale
Sep 14, 2009

The characters are both the strength and weakness of this novel. The characters have interesting backgrounds, and it would be easy to care about them, except that they are portrayed doing ridiculous things during the novel. (A minor example from early in the novel: the main character's sister sees him for the first time in forty years, and walks over to him for the express purpose of telling him that she doesn't want to talk to him. In the first place, how did she instantly recognize him after not seeing him for forty years; and in the second, if she didn't want to talk to him, why didn't she just not talk to him?) It is simply not believable that anyone would react the way these characters do in these situations.

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