Title: The Cards of Life and Death

Publisher/Author: Colleen Gleason

Pages: 288 pp

Price: free (individual ebook) / .99 cents (as part of Dark Secrets: A Paranormal Romance Anthology)

The Hook: Diana Iverson is happily engaged and on the verge of making her name as a malpractice attorney in Boston. Then she finds her fiancĂ© Jonathan in bed with a coworker. And her best client gets drunk and screws up a surgery. And her beloved Aunt Belinda dies, leaving Diana a rambling house in the backwoods of Maine ... along with two inhospitable cats, a sexy neighbor, and a strange deck of Tarot cards ....

Analysis: Sympathetic leads, an intriguing mystery with strong paranormal elements, a quirky cast of supporting characters, and an appealing setting (woodsy Maine in high summer) makes for an enjoyable read. Some bits of the story are told out of sequence, as flashbacks, and there is a fair amount of in-scene head-hopping between Diana and Ethan, which may frustrate some readers. There is also nothing overtly Pagan in the story (the characters could be described as vaguely generic monotheist), but the psychic/precognitive and Tarot elements will appeal to many readers; plus, Gleason obviously did her homework on the Tarot before sitting down to write.

Verdict: An entertaining and fast read, perfect for long commutes to work and lunch breaks. Recommended to fans of Victoria Laurie, Juliet Blackwell, and Heather Blake.