Title: The Empress Card (The Tarot Mysteries #4)
Author: Bevan Atkinson
Published on: 15th October 2015
Genre: Mystery and Thrillers (Cozy)
The Empress is a blonde woman seated on a cushioned chair. Before her feet is a foreground field of wheat; behind her is a row of cypress trees. A stream flows nearby, and a heart-shaped placard with the circle-and-cross symbol of Venus leans against the side of her chair. She holds a scepter and wears a crown of stars, and around her neck is a string of pearls. She’s robed in a flowing white gown printed with ripe pomegranates.
Xana (pronounced as Ex-ana) and her gargantuan boyfriend Thorne Ardall are back with another exciting mystery! This time, a lot of emotions are involved, especially on the home front. Then there is a former siren Mona Raglan – she thinks she can still charm men and women with her oozing sex appeal. Ahem, poor thing is old now and the ‘appeal’ is not so appealing! She’s also a compulsively adoptive mother. Fourteen kids so far! Fourteen!!!!
Someone’s trying to kill Mona. She asks Deleon for help and DeLeon suggests Thorne as her bodyguard. Mona sashays giving Thorne a good view of her back…side but he’s not interested. There’s just one woman in Thorne Ardall’s life -Xana. Xana is called in for a Tarot reading. Instead of her usual draw, Xana asks Mona to pick twelve cards – each depicting a zodiac sign. Mona’s attention falls on one particular card – The Empress. In the draw, The Empress is reversed and Xana explains what it means. Mona is overwhelmed and walks away, only to trip on the marbles and crash down the stairs. Before the paramedics could arrive, Mona asks Xana to help her – someone close to Mona wants her dead. Who could it be?
What a fantastic read! This series gets better and better with each new addition! Xana is torn between helping Mona and trying to amend things in her own family. Nora, Xana’s younger sister has decided to come over with her kids – Xana believes all is not well between Nora and her husband Hal. Meanwhile, Mona’s in the hospital and the nurses are paying a lot of attention to… Thorne. Ah ha!
The story is incomplete without a mention or two of Rose Sason’s delicious cooking. This time, “Today’s special” at East-West Cafe is… “Chicky Molay with Bins and Rise”. Yumm!! (Chicken mole` with beans and rice). Xana plays a lesser role in the investigations this time, after all, Nora is here and Xana needs to spend time with her darling sister. But things go awry and Nora decides to spend time with the thirteen kids. Phew! There’s a mini school in the Raglan house! I cannot imagine a house with thirteen kids. Screaming, yelling, crying, complaining and whatnot!
There is no suspense about ‘who wants to kill Mona’ as the identity of the perp is made obvious at the beginning of the story. What I did not understand is the oldest daughter’s role in all this mess. But that didn’t stop me from enjoying this story. Xana and her hunka hunka burnin’ love Thorne are the best-est couple in the whole world! I really like the kinda of romance these two guys share. No PDA, no cheesy-mushy nauseous kinda romance. For a-romantics like me, this kinda romance is *hearts* .
The plot is pretty simple and straightforward. Something happens towards the end of the story – a complete shocker. I had to read the sentence twice and slap myself to come to my senses. *this is called overacting!* So, where was I? Ah, yes. The twist was unexpected but then all that remained was catching the perp red-handed. I really liked the ending. It was something different; things change a lot for Nora and Xana. I am definitely looking forward to reading the next book. Cannot wait to see what’s next in store for Xana and her hunka hunka boyfriend, Thorne Ardall.
Also, if you have followed the series so far, you would have observed that Xana doesn’t go beyond revealing the Empress card in the draw. The eleven cards remain unrevealed. I wonder what they were! What if Mona had chosen the Death Card? Death Card need not literally mean death – not always, but there are exceptions, right?
I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased opinion.