Thursday, August 27, 2015

Fool Me Once - Steve Hockensmith with Lisa Falco

My review of Steve Hockensmith's Fool Me Once first appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers. I am posting it today with their permission. And if you're interested in my take on the first book in this series, you can check that review out here. Plus, if you missed it, I chatted with Steve last year about this series. The interview is here. Hope you enjoy!

First line: "Anyone who says 'I'm going to kill you,' Biddle use to tell me, isn't going to kill you."

"I'd been so sure I could take over the White Magic Five & Dime and just flip its karma like a pancake. Turn wrongs into rights, help instead of hurt, make amends for all my mother's crimes."  Alanis McLachlan, introduced by Steve Hockensmith and Lisa Falco in The White Magic Five & Dime, is discovering that atoning for her deceased con-woman mother is harder than she first imagined.

In the second book of the Tarot Mystery series Alanis tries to help Marsha, one of her mother's most gullible targets, leave an abusive marriage. But the amateur tarot reader's efforts result in Marsha looking like the prime suspect when her husband winds up murdered. As Alanis endeavors to clear Marsha, she inadvertently steps into the crosshairs of a deadly conspiracy.

Lisa Falco's tarot savvy combined with Steve Hockensmith's cunning wit make this series a delightful escape from life's austere demands. Each chapter begins with a comical interpretation of a single tarot card (accompanied by an illustration), reflecting insight into the card's spiritual meaning as well as cynicism for the occult.

The novel's mystery itself is an enjoyable diversion, but readers wanting to delve further into the plot's layers will find symbolism in the tarot's minor arcana--wands--featured in this installment of the series. And the complexities of the characters and their relationships help to make this story more than a simple who-done-it.

Smart, humorous and refreshingly offbeat, Fool Me Once is a must-read mystery for believers and non-believers alike.

Fool Me Once is available in trade paperback from Midnight Ink (9780738742236).

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