Publication Date: November 7, 2012
In The Tarot Killer by Mary Bracht, Dr. Skye Barrie’s former patients are being killed in New York so she returns to her training ground in London in an attempt to escape, thinking the killer will follow her. In London, she faces old patients, an old nemesis, and the danger of a killer not satisfied with anything less than Skye’s own vicious and bloody end.
The author, Mary Bracht, gave me a copy of this novel in exchange for my review.
Before I get to the meat of the review, I must first say that every time I read the main character’s name, Skye Barrie, I could not help but think of strawberry shortcake and what an awesome name that would be for one of her little friends.
The Tarot Killer opens with the brilliant line from Sigmund Freud, “The Goal of All Life is Death.” That, as much as any quote would, describes the baddie and his motivation within the storyline and stands as a testament to the course of the novel. To open with that quote set a tone for me that the story, on its surface, met.
The Tarot Killer is a thriller but leans toward cozy mystery in some elements. The investigating officers, both in New York and London, defer to Dr. Barrie though she is a subject of the investigation and not the investigating officer. She is throughout an active part of the investigation and visits crime scenes and therefore, has access to case paperwork. A luxury, few characters being threatened by a killer would be permitted. The idea of going from New York to London, where she has also practiced and has former patients, seemed a bit thin as well. Her argument within the storyline was that it was so long ago and that the killer wouldn’t have access to those files, seemed weak. She doesn’t know at what point the killer entered her life.
Bracht throws us some credible red herrings as to the identity of the killer, but in the end, provides us with the killer that would have seemed the obvious choice with a clear explanation of why he killed women who look like Skye and why he’d want to kill her as well. What she doesn’t explain is the logistics, but then, as we’re not in the mind of the killer, we don’t need to know his every travel plan just that he’s insane and he’s killing folks and staging those bodies to mirror images on a tarot card.
There’s nothing wrong with The Tarot Killer. It’s credibly written and plotted. It’s a solid, cozy murder mystery that your grandma could read. The violence is more off-screen and there isn’t any sex to muddy the water and misdirect from the storyline, though a reader could not be faulted for getting the impression that there’s more going on between a New York detective and the woman he’s advising then we’re seeing on the page. Bracht chooses to focus on the mystery rather than diluting the waters with complications between Skye and her fellow characters.
If you’re a fan of cozy mystery or shows like Castle and Bones, this is the novel for you.The Tarot Killer registers at a very short 144 pages and is storyline focused. A good read for people who like to read on their phone or e-reader device.
Read an excerpt and buy The Tarot Killer by Mary Bracht on