Reviews

Ready for the next card in the deck!

“Ms. Atkinson’s debut novel is a fast-paced romp through the hills of San Francisco starring an engaging heroine, Xana Bard, who modestly attributes her intuition to reading Tarot cards. Tarot aside, Xana is smart and observant as well as thoroughly likeable. After being unfairly ousted from her successful high-tech startup company, she has taken the huge check she negotiated through careful documentation, and reinvented herself. “When the parts reassembled themselves I was a different person. I can no longer be what I do for a living. I have to be who I am and let that be enough.”

Her eventual sidekick, Thorne Ardall, introduces himself by crashing into her house late one night. Thorne is a heavily muscled bodyguard with an unlikely pedigree who promises to become more than a friend if the author continues this series.

With wit and an eye for detail, the author creates a humorous, well-plotted murder-mystery, peopled with interesting characters and a believable resolution. The perfect book to read curled up in bed on a lazy weekend morning.
I’m ready for the next card in the deck!”

—Julia M. Shumway

Very enjoyable read!

“I loved the language and the detail of the author’s descriptions. It was like a little vacation in San Francisco with evocative descriptions of places that made me feel like I was there. Add to that the compelling mystery and interesting characters, it was a real page turner. Looking forward to reading more!”

—Susan Goll

Excellent mystery in a San Francisco setting

“The excellent plot is original, moves forward with skillful pacing,
and concerns many social and parental issues that are current as well
as universal. The characters seem “real” to me as their various
personalities, backgrounds, and inter-relationships are increasingly
revealed as the story evolves. There is a good blend of humor,
seriousness, and tragedy, which alternate and overlap throughout the
book.

Atkinson’s concise prose reminds me of aspects of some Japanese
writing I’ve experienced, just the right amount of words necessary
used to set a mood or create an atmosphere when describing a scene,
event, person, etc.

I highly recommend THE FOOL CARD to lovers of mysteries, San
Francisco, and book lovers of all sorts, and look forward to reading
the others in this series.”

— Stephen 7n5K

5 out of 5 stars

“This is a delightful start to a series! It has elements that I enjoy – mystery and tarot cards. Xana and Thorne are wonderful main characters and I really enjoyed following their story line. The author does a great job with developing her characters; they are interesting and engaging. The style reminds me of Janet Evanovich mysteries in that there is a male and female protagonist. I recommend this book and look forward to reading the next adventure in book two of the series.”

—Sheri O’Neill

“What a delightful find this was!! I love cozy mysteries like this – they’re easy, fun, engaging reads that don’t require a lot of effort and offer pure entertainment value. This one had the added bonus of well-developed, quirky characters who I loved from the opening pages. Xana is a delight – I enjoyed her insights into tarot, her self-reflections, and her utterly un-self-conscious recognition of her own limitations. The story itself was interesting although felt a bit rushed at times, as things hurriedly came together into a tidy package by the end. But that’s often a hallmark of cozies, I think, and it didn’t bother me at all. This was a fun read full of interesting people and if the story sometimes flew by, well, so be it. I enjoyed the journey wholeheartedly – and when you do, the trip often seems too quick! I’m definitely looking forward to the next installment…”

—Jill Franclemont

Adventures on the Fault Line

“I’d just read The Fool Card, the lively first book in this Tarot-themed series, and I immediately ordered the second. Too bad The Magician Card won’t arrive before Christmas, because I’d love to binge-read straight through the next episode in the exploits of  the pun-prone Xana Bard and her oddball partner, Thorne Ardall, a hunk both classy and peculiar. My kind of guy.

That Xana’s San Francisco home is set atop the San Andreas Fault is emblematic of  her vulnerable, intrepid character. So, too, is her affinity for the Tarot’s Fool card, a “trickster” who brings “adventure, misadventure, but rarely happiness.” Xana’s  entanglements begin with a literal bang when Thorne (as, in your side?) crashes a Porsche into her precariously placed dwelling while she quietly crushes fragrant herbs into a salver. (Yes, salver. When was the last time you saw that word in print outside of a Christie’s catalog?)  Xana, her menagerie of knowing cats, Hamlet-like dogs (who “look to her…To bark, or not to bark.”), and the unique ambience of San Francisco, all join to bring  this suspense-edged, drolly intelligent murder mystery to its satisfying denouement.

 

Bevan Atkinson interweaves intriguing briefs on the Tarot deck into her story, with an astute take on the ambivalence between danger and attraction embodied in the Tarot’s Fool.  She also has an eye for the décor, clothing, china, and other trappings of wealth, which, naturally, is a boon for the esthetes among us.  Along with an eye, she brings an ear for the vagaries of social milieu, amusingly realized in the person of Xana’s (“Mater…but not to her face.”) mother, a wryly-sketched WASP narcissist in peau de soie sandals with the fortitude of “an Iditerod dog.” 

 

Xana’s is by no means the most dysfunctional family in the story. This honor goes to the Avery clan, a scheming brood whose knotty intrigues Xana and Thorne must unravel to catch a killer. Then there is Thorne: Xana has a penchant for “rescuing charming basket cases” who walk away once they’re re-ambulatory. This history laces their relationship with a sardonic tang, though, you can tell, they totally get each other. 

 

The final mood of the tale is wistful. As The Fool card suggests, like Hamlet and her own dogs, Xana must learn that “Readiness is all” and the rest is just a waiting game. And while you’re waiting, I highly recommend you spend your time well, as did I, reading The Fool Card.”

—Valerie Ceriano

“A thoroughly fun murder mystery that kept me reading! I love the concept of this series.”

—Olivia

“Knowing the Ryder-Waite pack of tarot cards, I thought this looked interesting. How right I was – it was a blast from start to finish. I now know a fair amount about the San Francisco weather patterns – and I look forward to hearing more in other books in the series.

I found myself nodding along, and sometimes having to think about, her reading of the Fool card.

Loved it.”
—Aileen (Ailz) Grist

“The cool, grim subject of Murder-by-the-Bay has never been funnier, faster, or more refreshing than in The Tarot Mysteries. Ms. Atkinson is a wonderful new voice, with more to offer readers than the typical whodunnit.”

—Duane Unkefer, author of Gray Eagles and Basic Fiction

Intriguing

“A truly intriguing mystery, with just the faintest touch of the supernatural to add a bit of spice to the story. I found the author’s detailed descriptions of the San Francisco area and culture fascinating, and the characters all to be extremely three-dimensional. The book was exceptionally well-written and edited (I love an author who challenges me with words outside my vocabulary!)”

—Beckett Shiona

Interesting thriller.

“Interesting thriller. Hard to put down. Don’t know much about tarot but do read lots of mysteries and this is a good one.”

— Neil Edwards

A great start to series!

“Overlooking her sometimes annoying intrusive manner, I liked Xana, the protagonist of the story. ‘The Fool Card’ was told in first person, and being inside of Xana’s head was a riot at times; I liked and appreciated her many views on life. The descriptions of San Francisco and its neighborhoods were spot-on too. Xana’s new friend/private eye/partner(?) – in which you gotta’ know that something is going to blossom between the two in the future – is the mystery that is Thorne. (He reminds Xana of the Norse god Thor). When he literally crashes into her house, you know that a bizarre story is about to unfold, and with it, all manner of characters – savory and just plain yucky.
I really like Atkinson’s writing, and hope to read the next book of the series: ‘The Magician Card’.”

—Mo

Weekend escape to San Francisco

“Easily read over a weekend — like a visit with good friends to San Francisco. Even though I know the city fairly well, still learned new things about it! Lead characters are like my new best friends. Feel like I share their experiences because the book is written so visually.”

—Cathy H. 

Wonderful

“This is an entertaining and well written series debut. Protagonist Xana is intelligent strong and likeable. The book is written in 1st person PoV, so hearing her internal monologue was a big part of the appeal for me. Her foil/partner is Thorne, an intelligent behemoth who literally crashes into her solitary life. Together, they sort out the mystery of how Thorne’s recently deceased employer died.

This is a murder mystery with Greek-tragedy level family intrigue, betrayal, murder, abuse, money, and fraud. The plot gallops along, the tension arc is well controlled, and the technical aspects of the writing are seamless and enjoyable.

This is an author who can really write. The secondary characters are well and sensitively drawn. The denouement was satisfyingly twisty. The language is G-rated, there’s no sexual content, and it’s an enjoyable and humorous ride from start to finish. I was captivated from the first page.

I appreciated that the author didn’t throw the main protagonists together in an unfortunate and unbelievable insta-love romance. In fact the author didn’t abuse my suspension of disbelief one time in this book.

It’s always fun to find a new to me author and series to read. I would definitely recommend this one to fans of modern American mysteries. I’m looking forward to more from this author.

Five stars.”

—Annie B. 

“Xana Bard has just told the universe she’s ready for the next thing, whatever it may be. And it’s a doozy. Tall, dark and handsome,…And gunshot. That starts the adventure where she and Thorne, as that’s his name, combine forces to discover who killed his employer. A quick read with two engaging leads, a decent mystery and an interesting take on San Francisco and some of its denizons. Lots of fun and I’ll be reading more in this series.”

—Sue Em DAVENPORT

“The sign of a good series is that you keep checking to see when the next book will come out.  The Tarot premise organizes some colorful twists, and Atkinson is a very good writer with a fine eye for a storyline.  I’ve gotten attached to the quirky characters and to watching them evolve from book to book, and to the vivid evocation of the vagaries of daily life in San Francisco.  The plots are good, the writing thoroughly literate and sometimes inspired.  Highly recommended!”

—Margaret Keck, political scientist, author of four scholarly books and a long-time fan of good mysteries.

“I have rarely experienced such complete submersion in a good, fast yarn. This one bristles with odd characters, a powerful sense of place, and, best of all, a really satisfying murder. On top of that, a severe jolt of the occult jacks up the tension early and keeps on creepin’ on.”

—Jeffrey Marlin, author of “The Horse Barn Affair”

Fun and Witty!

“I have thoroughly enjoyed all the books in the Tarot Mystery series. They are written with wit, and the characters leap off the page. A disclaimer that I am a friend of the author; but if I didn’t like the books I would have read one just to be nice, and then not read any more. But I love these books, and always look forward to the release of the next one in the series.”

—Betsy H.

Page Turner

“Great read! Well written!”

—Moody Mel

The Magician Card (The Tarot Card Mysteries)

“This is a good, fast read, very smart and very funny in places. I recommend it for anyone who is into mysteries, snappy dialogue, and local color. Also, for anyone curious about what Tarot is. On top of which, it contains one of the most thoroughly satisfying murders I can remember. It went by so fast I would have liked another few hundred pages. But you can’t have everything.”

—Joan Kraus

I’m Hooked . . .

“Read this mostly because a friend wrote it — so glad that I did!! Really liked it; pleasureable to read. Got hooked on the two main characters immediately. Lots of flavor of San Francisco throughout the book. Sorry when it was over. Can’t wait for more!”

—Cathy H.

Such a great installment to the series

“Book 2 of the Tarot Mysteries – The Magician, was just as good, if not better, than its predecessor The Fool. Another great mystery by the author with an attempted murder to solve. The storyline deals with genetics, gender ambiguity all while our female protagonist has a broken ankle that’s been heavily casted. Xana needed to let her guards down a bit and warmed up to Thorne and let her guard down. Thorne was more than happy to take care of her and make sure she wasn’t injured further. I loved meeting the twins Asa and Beth; theirs was an interesting plot. Overall a very enjoyable book with much detail on the tarot deck and reading the card with your intuition, which I find intriguing and very interesting in these books. I definitely recommended this book is well and I’m happy that I’ve been able to download book 3 in the series. This is a long holiday weekend and I plan to do a lot of reading.”

—Sheri O’Neil

A Well-Written Page-Turner You’ll Enjoy

“If you are a reader of god mysteries, you’ve tried a lot of dogs looking for an enjoyable series that is well-structured, written with ample thought and skill, and that can keep you turning the pages long after the time limit you set for your guilty pleasure. Look no further! Bevin Atkinson’s Tarot Mysteries draw you into the lives of the characters one wonderful page at a time. Set in San Francisco, you will find yourself hoping for a cheap airfare so you can visit and see the sites so aptly described alongside storylines that are sure pleasers.

I encourage you to take up this series. You’ll quickly find yourself longing for the next! ”

—Temple Books

Entertaining

“I wanted to see how it would end.

—Janice Harris

“This is an incredibly entertaining and well written book. Protagonist Xana is intelligent, strong, and likeable. The book is written in 1st person PoV, so hearing her internal monologue was a big part of the appeal for me. Her foil/partner is Thorne, is back and still a wonderful logical and Zen counterpoint to Xana’s impulsive intuitiveness. Together, they’re involved in high-biotech intrigue, industrial espionage and as always an element of family tragedy and betrayal. There’s also a REALLY cool parallel plotline that is a fun Rear Window ( It Had to be Murder ) homage. I loved it! This is an extremely humorous read and it even surprised some audible laughs from me (not an easy feat) but the author manages to simultaneously sneak in some profound insights on interpersonal relationships and the myriad ways they can affect us for good or ill.

The plot gallops along, the tension arc is well controlled, and the technical aspects of the writing are seamless and enjoyable. This is an author who can really write. The secondary characters are well and sensitively drawn. The denouement was satisfyingly twisty. The language is G-rated, there’s no sexual content (though Xana/Thorne do make some progress at sorting out what it is they have between them), and it’s an enjoyable and humorous ride from start to finish. I was captivated from the first page.

I appreciated that the author didn’t throw the main protagonists together in an unfortunate and unbelievable insta-love romance. In fact the author didn’t abuse my suspension of disbelief one time in this book.

Possibly worth noting for Kindle Unlimited subscribers, this first book in this highly entertaining series is included in the KU subscription library to borrow and read for free. It’s always fun to find a new to me author and series to read. I would definitely recommend this one to fans of modern American mysteries. I’m looking forward to binge reading the rest of the series.

Five stars.”

—Annie B.

An excellent series, gripping and entertaining. 

“I liked the well written cast of characters, the well crafted plot and the solid mystery that kept me guessing.
Recommended.”

—Annarella

Quick and Enjoyable Read

“The author’s style with superb description makes you feel like you are right there in the story. This is the second book in her trilogy, and I would recommend starting with the first to understand the main characters and their unusual relationship. It’s a simple mystery and a quick read, but enjoyable, with the somewhat quirky characters you grow to love. I’m looking forward to the third installment.”

—Amazon verified reader

Good Fun Read

“I totally enjoyed this story set in San Francisco and which related to the Tarot deck. I know nothing about either: I live in the Northeast and I have never had Tarot cards read, but the book read well. I particularly liked the idea that the main character hurt her foot and suffered through the pain as the story progressed. Again, I have never had a foot injury but once again, the book read well. I have read the author’s other book also and I am waiting for the third in the series. The book was well written, a good read, and just a fun story.”

—Annie

Five Stars

“Great fun to read this mystery. Cannot wait to read the rest of the series!”

—Mei Lee

Funny and Clever

“The Magician Card is the second book in the The Tarot Mysteries by Bevan Atkinson. Originally released in 2012, this reformat is 163 pages and available in paperback and ebook formats.

This is an incredibly entertaining and well written book. Protagonist Xana is intelligent, strong, and likeable. The book is written in 1st person PoV, so hearing her internal monologue was a big part of the appeal for me. Her foil/partner is Thorne, is back and still a wonderful logical and Zen counterpoint to Xana’s impulsive intuitiveness. Together, they’re involved in high-biotech intrigue, industrial espionage and as always an element of family tragedy and betrayal. There’s also a REALLY cool parallel plotline that is a fun Rear Window ( It Had to be Murder/i> ) homage. I loved it! This is an extremely humorous read and it even surprised some audible laughs from me (not an easy feat) but the author manages to simultaneously sneak in some profound insights on interpersonal relationships and the myriad ways they can affect us for good or ill.

The plot gallops along, the tension arc is well controlled, and the technical aspects of the writing are seamless and enjoyable. This is an author who can really write. The secondary characters are well and sensitively drawn. The denouement was satisfyingly twisty. The language is G-rated, there’s no sexual content (though Xana/Thorne do make some progress at sorting out what it is they have between them), and it’s an enjoyable and humorous ride from start to finish. I was captivated from the first page.

I appreciated that the author didn’t throw the main protagonists together in an unfortunate and unbelievable insta-love romance. In fact the author didn’t abuse my suspension of disbelief one time in this book.
It’s always fun to find a new to me author and series to read. I would definitely recommend this one to fans of modern American mysteries. I’m looking forward to binge reading the rest of the series.

Five stars.”

—Annie B.

Quite entertaining. 

“The mystery(s) itself is/are not so much puzzles, but glimpses into other worlds. Xana Bard is a daughter of a San Francisco society family who uses her tarot cards and formidable intuition in ways of helping people. Asa Ballantine and his sister, Beth, are feverishly working for a medical breakthrough, but someone is out to stop them. Xana draws in her friend and tenant, Thorne, to protect them. Meanwhile there are other strange doings in the neighborhood. I have a set of the complete series, and I might just have to keep going as I am enjoying reading them so much!”

—Sue Em

Five Stars

“Book 2 of the Tarot Mysteries – The Magician, was just as good, if not better, than its predecessor The Fool. Another great mystery by the author with an attempted murder to solve. The storyline deals with genetics, gender ambiguity all while our female protagonist has a broken ankle that’s been heavily casted. Xana needed to let her guards down a bit and warmed up to Thorne and let her guard down. Thorne was more than happy to take care of her and make sure she wasn’t injured further. I loved meeting the twins Asa and Beth; theirs was an interesting plot. Overall a very enjoyable book with much detail on the tarot deck and reading the card with your intuition, which I find intriguing and very interesting in these books. I definitely recommended this book is well and I’m happy that I’ve been able to download book 3 in the series. This is a long holiday weekend and I plan to do a lot of reading.”

—Sheri

Five Stars

“These are such good fun books. The author’s reading of the tarot card shows experience and wisdom, as a reader myself there’s nothing I disagree with in what Xana says and her intuition is bang on. The story is an interesting one – fitting very well with The Magician card.
This review is voluntary, honest and my own opinion.”

—Aileen Ailz Grist

This is such a wonderful series

“Fun, entertaining, well-characterized… In this second installment we see a little less of Thorne, but despite that I thoroughly enjoyed it every bit as much as the first book. The mysteries are engaging, the characters and relationships are developing nicely, and the next book is already queued up on my Kindle! ”

—Jill Elizabeth

“I have read all three of Bevan Atkinson’s books, The Fool, The Magician and The High Priestess—and I keep checking to see if the next book is available. 

 

Good stories, interesting characters, and a fun quick read written about current times. If you are interested in Tarot and/or live in the San Francisco Bay Area, it’s even more fun (but not necessary). A little bit whodunnit, a little look at relationships, a peek at the flawed in all of us. I am ready for The Empress!”

—Barnes & Noble reader

“This is such a fun and fabulous series! The mysteries continue to engage and surprise me with their original premises. The ongoing characters and their relationships are maturing nicely, offering new opportunities for engagement and story development. And the writing is entertaining and easy-going, making them the perfect cozy mysteries in my mind…

This time we get more from DeLeon, which I found delightful. The cult angle was fascinating and one I haven’t come across in cozies very often, which made it a novel read for me. I thoroughly enjoy watching Xana take on the universe in these stories – I have to suspend disbelief occasionally, but the writing and plotting are smooth enough that I never mind, and she is such a deliciously fun character that I almost can buy that she’s as incredibly lucky and talented as she appears to be! 

These are great stories, full of interesting tidbits and fun characterizations and I can’t wait to read the next!”

—Jill Franklemont

“The High Priestess Card is the third book in the The Tarot Mysteries by Bevan Atkinson. Originally released in 2013, this reformat is 256 pages and available in paperback and ebook formats.

The plot gallops along, the tension arc is well controlled, and the technical aspects of the writing are seamless and enjoyable. This is an author who can really write . The secondary characters are well and sensitively drawn. The language is G-rated, there’s no on page sexual content (though there is implied off-scene consensual sex between Xana and Thorne), and it’s an enjoyable and humorous ride from start to finish. Just a solidly entertaining read.

The sense of place is palpable and the author has a gift for descriptive prose. There are some (few) potentially troubling aspects of the book and subplots which deal with exploitation of a minor, domestic violence, cults, and runaways. There are light science fiction aspects and a soupcon of magical realism. Not so much that I would qualify it as a paranormal cozy, but Xana is preternaturally perceptive and intuitive. I find her a thoroughly appealing character.

The plot here is relatively straightforward and linear. I found it well written and full of tension. Even Xana’s mother’s friends are starting to grow on me. The denouement in this installment was a little bit over the top, but I can see how it was necessary for the satisfying and complete resolution of the main plot arc.

It’s always fun to find a new to me author and series to read. I would definitely recommend this one to fans of modern American mysteries. I’m looking forward to binge reading the rest of the series.”

—Annie Buchanan

“This is an excellent series, gripping and entertaining.

I liked the well written cast of characters, the well crafted plot and the solid mystery that kept me guessing.

Recommended.”

—Anna Maria Giacomasso

“Third book in the Tarot Card mystery series and I am still really enjoying reading them. Quick reads, they are more whydoneits, than whodoneits. Xana Bard is a very interesting lead character and the secondary characters are well drawn. Atkinson’s eye for character and society are big plusses for these books. In this outing, a friend’s daughter has disappeared into a matriarchal, farming cult and must be rescued. The cult leader has a history of being strange and dangerous, and oddly enough, a past that leads back to her mother’s crowd.”

—Sue Em DAVENPORT

“I am really enjoying this series by Ms. Atkinson. Book Three, The High Priestess Card, is an excellent installment. I love the author’s insight into Tarot and the details she includes in her books. This was a wonderful, well-written book. I really find myself connecting with the characters, which are well developed and seem so real. The plot was an interesting one, it touched on some relevant topics of today, such as domestic abuse and cults. I enjoy seeing the relationship between Xana and Thorne deepening. I’m interested to see where it will go. This is a quick and enjoyable book. I definitely recommend.”

—Sheri O’Neill

“The series is very good. This review is for the series and I’ll be posting the same review for each individual book — each one is quite good. The main character Xana is pretty entertaining, and she and the other characters are appropriately quirky. Sometimes the plots are a bit predictable, and a bit unrealistic, and I’m not into Tarot Cards, but still enjoyed these. The author does a good job bringing the characters to life and obviously has talent. She knows how to build tension and characters, and writes pretty good dialog and humor.

The first book is good and the series gets better as the series progresses. These are not “literature” but they’re good cozies if that is what you’re seeking.”

—Paul

“Another good story from Bevan Atkinson. An occult cult, unusually run by a woman who sees herself – or so she says – as the embodiement of an Egyptian goddess. Is it a refunge for abused women, or a cult?

Loved it”

—Aileen (Ailz) Grist

I am beyond excited that I stumbled upon this series.  The stories are, without exception, engaging and original and fun to read. They are not overly violent or graphic or sexualized, focusing instead on character development and interesting and unusual plot lines. As a result they are great before-bed reads – quick, engaging, and thoroughly enjoyable. 

This time out, I really enjoyed seeing Mater fleshed out. In the earlier books she comes across as a great foil but a bit of a caricature. In this book, she becomes a fully-developed character, and while I entirely expect she’ll continue to WASP-torture Xana in future installments, it was fascinating to get a peek behind her curtain…

Looking forward to the next book, which I’m starting post haste!”

—Jill Franclemont

“What a fantastic read! This is book four in the series and it reads just as exciting and fun as the three prior. I love seeing the characters develop and grow and I’m thrilled that’s Xana and Thorne have developed a solid relationship. The new edition of Xana’s sister is a great addition to the series. It will make for good storylines in the future. Again, the Tarot is explained thoroughly and knowledgeably. You can tell that the author knows her Tarot. I enjoyed this book very much and was sad when it ended. It was a quick read for me. I’ve already downloaded the next one in the series and can’t wait to read it. I totally recommend for lovers of mysteries.”

—Sheri O’Neill

“The series is very good. This review is for the series and I’ll be posting the same review for each individual book — each one is quite good. The main character Xana is pretty entertaining, and she and the other characters are appropriately quirky. Sometimes the plots are a bit predictable, and a bit unrealistic, and I’m not into Tarot Cards, but still enjoyed these. The author does a good job bringing the characters to life and obviously has talent. She knows how to build tension and characters, and writes pretty good dialog and humor.

The first book is good and the series gets better as the series progresses. These are not “literature” but they’re good cozies if that is what you’re seeking.”

—Paul

“I’m more than happy I requested this ARC because this is an excellent series, gripping and entertaining.

I liked the well written cast of characters, the well crafted plot and the solid mystery that kept me guessing.

Recommended.”

—Anna Maria Giacomasso

“The Empress Card is the 4th book in the Tarot Mysteries by Bevan Atkinson. Originally released in 2015, this reformat is 183 pages and available in paperback and ebook formats.

 

The plot gallops along, it’s a short and satisfying read, and the technical aspects of the writing are seamless and enjoyable. This is an author who can really write. The secondary characters are well and sensitively drawn. The language is G-rated, there’s no on page sexual content (though there is implied off-scene consensual sex between Xana and Thorne), and it’s an enjoyable and humorous ride from start to finish. Just a solidly entertaining read.

 

The sense of place is palpable and the author has a gift for descriptive prose. There are some (few) potentially unrealistic aspects of the book and especially the denouement. I don’t think the official police presence would’ve accepted Thorne disappearing without a trace or not have tried to track him down relentlessly. The stories are so entertaining though, that I’m perfectly willing to suspend my disbelief and just enjoy the ride. I also love it that Xana is preternaturally perceptive and intuitive . I find her a thoroughly appealing character.

 

The plot here is relatively straightforward and linear. I found it well written and full of tension. Even Xana’s mother’s friends are starting to grow on me. The denouement in this installment was a little bit over the top, but I can see how it was necessary for the satisfying and complete resolution of the main plot arc.

 

Possibly worth noting for Kindle Unlimited subscribers, the first book in this highly entertaining series (The Fool Card) is included in the KU subscription library to borrow and read for free. It’s always fun to find a new to me author and series to read. I would definitely recommend this one to fans of modern American mysteries. I’m looking forward to binge reading the rest of the series.

 

Four stars.”

 

—Annie Buchanan

“Another slant on a tarot reading. The woman who is seen to be represented by the Empress is more represented by the negative – reversed – Empress. The reading of the cards always wants me to drag out a long buried pack and read them for myself, but I don’t as they’re not my readings.

Excellent story once again.”

—Aileen Grist

“I was looking forward to reading this book and I wasn’t disappointed. Xana – along with her mother and siblings – had cremated her father some years previously, so when he turns up with a knife in his back in Xana’s garden it’s a bit of a shock. To say the least. A book that has sadness and laughter throughout.

Loved it.”

—Aileen Grist

“The Emperor Card is the 5th book in the Tarot Mysteries by Bevan Atkinson. 

The plot gallops along, it’s a short and satisfying read, and the technical aspects of the writing are seamless and enjoyable. This is an author who can really write. The secondary characters are well and sensitively drawn. The language is G-rated, there’s no on page sexual content, and it’s an enjoyable and humorous ride from start to finish.

The sense of place is palpable and the author has a gift for descriptive prose. I love the white hats in the story. The decency and honesty of Thorne, Xana, and DeLeon are so appealing and they’re such great characters and so easy to like. The stories are wonderfully entertaining that I’m perfectly willing to suspend my disbelief and just enjoy the ride. I also love it that Xana is preternaturally perceptive and intuitive . I find her a thoroughly appealing character.

The plot here is relatively straightforward and linear. I found it well written, quite probably my favorite in the series thus far. Even Xana’s mother’s friends are starting to grow on me. The denouement in this installment was so satisfying, and I adored the epilogue.

I would definitely recommend this one to fans of modern American mysteries. I’m looking forward to binge reading the rest of the series.

Four stars.”

—Annie Buchanan

“Things continue to take fascinating turns in Atkinson’s delightful tarot series… This time we get a behind-the-scenes look at another member of Xana’s family – and you won’t believe the secrets underpinning his life/death! The mysterious circumstances surrounding a dead man who appears out of nowhere in our fearless heroine’s backyard are engaging, entertaining, and wild – much like the life of said fearless heroine. The series continues to hold my interest and leave me eagerly awaiting the next installment… It’s been a marvelous find!”

—Jill Franklemont

“This is an excellent series, gripping and entertaining.

I liked the well written cast of characters, the well crafted plot and the solid mystery that kept me guessing.

Recommended.”

—Anna Maria Giacomasso

“This series continues to delight, and to provide new and unusual settings and mysterious deaths – no small feat in a world that seems over-populated by mysteries… The characters have settled into a routine that is comfortably familiar – which is not to say that they’ve stagnated but rather that Atkinson has done a lovely job setting up a world in which growth is expected and a part of the scenery rather than thrown at the reader for shock or surprise value. It makes reading each new book feel like snuggling in front of a warm fire – you know you’ll have ups and downs while sitting there, as things play out and temperatures rise and fall, but the overall sensation will be thoroughly relaxing and enjoyable on the whole!”

—Jill Franclemont

“The Hierophant Card is the 6th book in the Tarot Mysteries by Bevan Atkinson. Released 3rd Nov 2019, it’s 222 pages and available in paperback and ebook formats.

The plot really gallops along, it’s a short and satisfying read, and the technical aspects of the writing are seamless and enjoyable. This is an author who can really write. The secondary characters are well and sensitively drawn. The language is R-rated, mostly used in context, and it’s an enjoyable and humorous ride from start to finish.

The sense of place is palpable and the author has a gift for descriptive prose. I love the main characters in the story. Thorne, Xana, and DeLeon are appealing and they’re such great characters and very easy to like. The stories are so entertaining that I’m perfectly willing to suspend my disbelief and just enjoy the ride, and I appreciate that the author never abuses my trust. I also love it that Xana is preternaturally perceptive and intuitive but not infallible. I find her a thoroughly appealing character.

The plot here is relatively straightforward and linear. I found it well written, although not my favorite in the series thus far. The denouement was a little rushed and scattered, but it’s still a solid read.

Possibly worth noting for Kindle Unlimited subscribers, the first book in this highly entertaining series (The Fool Card) is included in the KU subscription library to borrow and read for free. It’s always fun to find a new to me author and series to read. I would definitely recommend this one to fans of modern American mysteries. I’m admittedly a bit sad that currently this is the most recent book in the series. I’m looking forward to finding out what comes next for Xana and co.

Four stars.”

—AnnieB

“This an excellent series, gripping and entertaining.

I liked the well written cast of characters, the well crafted plot and the solid mystery that kept me guessing.

Recommended.”

—Annie Buchanan

“I read quite a few mystery books, and try very hard to figure out “whodunnit” before the end of the book. I loved this book, because every time I thought I had figured it out, something happened to steer me in another direction. One of the characters has a mannerism that I thought for sure was going to be the thing that got him caught as “the” killer. I won’t say if that was true or not.
I love the character of Xana Bard. Her sense of humor makes me smile and sometimes laugh out loud when I’m reading. And I love learning something new about tarot in each of the books in the Tarot Book Series.
The only bad thing is that I’ve finished the book and now have to wait for the next book in the series. Bevan Atkinson brings a new approach and a unique voice to mystery writing, and I’m hooked. If you haven’t read any of them yet, dive into the pages of these fun books.”

—Betsy H.

“The series is very good. This review is for the series and I’ll be posting the same review for each individual book — each one is quite good. The main character Xana is pretty entertaining, and she and the other characters are appropriately quirky. Sometimes the plots are a bit predictable, and a bit unrealistic, and I’m not into Tarot Cards, but still enjoyed these. The author does a good job bringing the characters to life and obviously has talent. She knows how to build tension and characters, and writes pretty good dialog and humor.

The first book is good and the series gets better as the series progresses. These are not “literature” but they’re good cozies if that is what you’re seeking.”

—Paul

“Another goodie by Bevan Atkinson. This is the last in the series – so far. The Hierophant is a difficult card to come to terms with in a reading. It can be read so many ways. An emotionless causer of many emotions. Double pronged and this is a definite double pronged story.”

—Aileen Grist