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Much to Alanis McLachlan's surprise, her estranged con-woman mother has left her an inheritance: The White Magic Five & Dime, a shop in tiny Berdache, Arizona. Reluctantly traveling to Berdache to claim her new property, Alanis decides to stay and pick up her mother's tarot business in an attempt to find out how she died. With help from a hunky cop and her mother's live-in Much to Alanis McLachlan's surprise, her estranged con-woman mother has left her an inheritance: The White Magic Five & Dime, a shop in tiny Berdache, Arizona. Reluctantly traveling to Berdache to claim her new property, Alanis decides to stay and pick up her mother's tarot business in an attempt to find out how she died. With help from a hunky cop and her mother's live-in teenage apprentice, Alanis begins faking her way through tarot readings in order to win the confidence of her mother's clients. But the more she uses the tarot deck, the more Alanis begins to find real meaning in the cards ... and the secrets surrounding her mother's demise. Praise: 2015 IPPY Award Bronze Medal Winner in Mystery/Cozy/Noir 2014 ForeWord IndieFab Gold Winner for Mystery "Cozy readers with a taste for humor will welcome this hilarious series debut . . . [and] will eagerly await the next installment." --PUBLISHERS WEEKLY (STARRED REVIEW) "Hockensmith...and coauthor Falco deliver a charming comic mystery, which one hopes is the beginning of a series."--BOOKLIST "[A] clever and compelling tale filled with colorful and engaging characters and a whodunit plot." --FOREWORD REVIEWS "From the unique title to the cool cover, this book has it all . . . A+ across the board!"--SUSPENSE MAGAZINE "Fun and light."--ELLERY QUEEN'S MYSTERY MAGAZINE


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Much to Alanis McLachlan's surprise, her estranged con-woman mother has left her an inheritance: The White Magic Five & Dime, a shop in tiny Berdache, Arizona. Reluctantly traveling to Berdache to claim her new property, Alanis decides to stay and pick up her mother's tarot business in an attempt to find out how she died. With help from a hunky cop and her mother's live-in Much to Alanis McLachlan's surprise, her estranged con-woman mother has left her an inheritance: The White Magic Five & Dime, a shop in tiny Berdache, Arizona. Reluctantly traveling to Berdache to claim her new property, Alanis decides to stay and pick up her mother's tarot business in an attempt to find out how she died. With help from a hunky cop and her mother's live-in teenage apprentice, Alanis begins faking her way through tarot readings in order to win the confidence of her mother's clients. But the more she uses the tarot deck, the more Alanis begins to find real meaning in the cards ... and the secrets surrounding her mother's demise. Praise: 2015 IPPY Award Bronze Medal Winner in Mystery/Cozy/Noir 2014 ForeWord IndieFab Gold Winner for Mystery "Cozy readers with a taste for humor will welcome this hilarious series debut . . . [and] will eagerly await the next installment." --PUBLISHERS WEEKLY (STARRED REVIEW) "Hockensmith...and coauthor Falco deliver a charming comic mystery, which one hopes is the beginning of a series."--BOOKLIST "[A] clever and compelling tale filled with colorful and engaging characters and a whodunit plot." --FOREWORD REVIEWS "From the unique title to the cool cover, this book has it all . . . A+ across the board!"--SUSPENSE MAGAZINE "Fun and light."--ELLERY QUEEN'S MYSTERY MAGAZINE

30 review for The White Magic Five and Dime

  1. 4 out of 5

    J L's Bibliomania

    The White Magic Five and Dime (A Tarot Mystery) is not a good book, but it is fun. Written by Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dreadfully Ever After author Steve Hockensmith assisted by SME (subject matter expert) Lisa Falco, The White Magic Five and Dime (A Tarot Mystery) is a nicely done puff piece of a cozy, complete with Tarot spreads. While much of the plot was predictable, the one-liners and amusing Tarot card descriptions frequently had me smiling. I particularly enjoyed the lighthearted The White Magic Five and Dime (A Tarot Mystery) is not a good book, but it is fun. Written by Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dreadfully Ever After author Steve Hockensmith assisted by SME (subject matter expert) Lisa Falco, The White Magic Five and Dime (A Tarot Mystery) is a nicely done puff piece of a cozy, complete with Tarot spreads. While much of the plot was predictable, the one-liners and amusing Tarot card descriptions frequently had me smiling. I particularly enjoyed the lighthearted descriptions of selected cards from the major arcana that appeared as chapter dividers.

  2. 4 out of 5

    ☆Dani☆ ☆Touch My Spine Book Reviews☆

    Absolutely LOVED this book! A great start to a series!😀 Can't wait to finish it!💖 I highly recommend this book! It's more than meets the eyes! Absolutely LOVED this book! A great start to a series!😀 Can't wait to finish it!💖 I highly recommend this book! It's more than meets the eyes!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Tara♥ {MindforBooks}

    I picked this book up in a charity shop for 50c on Friday. Bargain says I! It sounded like something I'd enjoy and for that price how could I not? Yesterday I remembered to add it to GR and discovered that this was the first of three books. The other two books are not on kindle and they are €11 each on Book Depository. It's like Age Action Ireland and Steve Hockensmith have partnered up for some elaborate book selling con!! Obviously I bought Fool Me Once (oh how ironic) and Give the Devil His Du I picked this book up in a charity shop for 50c on Friday. Bargain says I! It sounded like something I'd enjoy and for that price how could I not? Yesterday I remembered to add it to GR and discovered that this was the first of three books. The other two books are not on kindle and they are €11 each on Book Depository. It's like Age Action Ireland and Steve Hockensmith have partnered up for some elaborate book selling con!! Obviously I bought Fool Me Once (oh how ironic) and Give the Devil His Due I really enjoyed this book. It was a quick, easy and a fun read and I picked it up in the first place because the Tarot element caught my eye and that was a really great part of this. I loved the Tarot back in college and me and my friend used to have so much fun with it. I personally don't believe that they predict the future but I've always liked the idea that they simply show you possibilities and I think that is reflected really well in this book. In actual fact combining it with the con artist element made Alanis discovering what tarot was all about even more enjoyable. Kind of a 'you can use your power for good or for evil' kind of thing. The mystery was a little predictable but I actually enjoyed that as well. All in all this was a great find and I'm so glad I read it. Now I need the other two books to get here pronto!! Also... I may have done a thing... I may have bought these in a cyber Monday sale... I have the worst impulse control!!

  4. 4 out of 5

    John

    I'm truly ambivalent about this one. Setting and characters were done well, although I had some problems with the plot. Will probably read the second book for the psychic aspect of the series, as the co-author who handles that angle really did a good job in this one. I'm truly ambivalent about this one. Setting and characters were done well, although I had some problems with the plot. Will probably read the second book for the psychic aspect of the series, as the co-author who handles that angle really did a good job in this one.

  5. 5 out of 5

    LORI (Dollycas) CASWELL

    Alanis McLachlan has not seen her mother in 20 years so when she is summoned to Berdache, Arizona to collect her inheritance she is very surprised. Her con-woman mother has left her The White Magic Five & Dime, a small shop where her mother has her tarot card reading business. Unsure what to do with the place she decides to temporarily open the store to try to figure out how and why her mother died. She assumes one of her mother’s cons was run on the wrong person and she ended up paying for it w Alanis McLachlan has not seen her mother in 20 years so when she is summoned to Berdache, Arizona to collect her inheritance she is very surprised. Her con-woman mother has left her The White Magic Five & Dime, a small shop where her mother has her tarot card reading business. Unsure what to do with the place she decides to temporarily open the store to try to figure out how and why her mother died. She assumes one of her mother’s cons was run on the wrong person and she ended up paying for it with her life. Dollycas’s Thoughts Alanis McLachlan (the name she is currently using) has quite a life which makes her a very interesting protagonist. Her mother has been a con-woman Alantis’ whole life and as soon as she was old enough she ran away and left that world and her mother behind. Arriving in Arizona with a long list of unanswered questions she finds her mother had a teenage roommate. Did her mother replace her with this girl to help her with her con games? She hopes by reopening the shop and meeting with her mother’s customers she may get some answers to her questions and find out who killed her mother. Alanis is very cynical but with her upbringing it is easy to understand why. She truly is a good person and wants to do right for a mom who really did a lot of things wrong. I was engaged by her story immediately. The authors also gave us some great supporting characters. Clarice, who seems to be Alanis’ mother’s apprentice, and Josh Logan, the officer in charge of her mother’s investigation. The dialogue between Josh and Alanis is absolutely fantastic. The mystery was well written and well plotted. All the information about Tarot Cards was very interesting. While this area of Arizona is know for psychics and its energy vortex the paranormal part of the story is very mild. Alanis starts out feeling it is just another of her mother’s con’s but the story has a nice twist that makes her question her theory. I can’t believe how quickly I read this story. I was captivated from beginning to end!! I can’t wait for Book 2.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Shafer

    I thoroughly and completely loved Steve Hockensmith's Holmes on the Range series, so I was very pleased to see he'd been writing another mystery. I scarfed up White Magic Five & Dime the second it hit the public library shelves. I was not disappointed. It's freakin' hilarious. (My favorite part is the tarot card reading given by the protagonist, who has no clue what she's doing. Now, I think a lot of tarot cards are very pretty, and I know a little about them, but Hockensmith's description of eac I thoroughly and completely loved Steve Hockensmith's Holmes on the Range series, so I was very pleased to see he'd been writing another mystery. I scarfed up White Magic Five & Dime the second it hit the public library shelves. I was not disappointed. It's freakin' hilarious. (My favorite part is the tarot card reading given by the protagonist, who has no clue what she's doing. Now, I think a lot of tarot cards are very pretty, and I know a little about them, but Hockensmith's description of each card used in the reading scene ought to come with a "swallow first" warning, as the reader will undoubtably spew/choke on anything in her/his mouth while laughing uncontrollably.) This book is billed as a cozy mystery, but I think I'll term it "cozy noir" instead. It's a bit darker than most cozies. The basic plot is that a 36-year-old woman whose real name might possibly be Sophie, but who chose the name Alanis at age 18, arrives in a small town in Arizona because her estranged mother (with whom she's had no contact for 20 years -- and flashback scenes let the reader know why) has been murdered. Alanis has inherited her mother's shop and apartment -- and apparently her teenage apprentice/flunky as well. Alanis' mom has been a con artist for decades, so Alanis isn't at all surprised her mother was murdered. However, she feels the need to find the killer. Naturally, there's a handsome cop involved in this effort. So far it sounds like the average cozy, doesn't it? We have the female protagonist who falls within the correct age-range, the theme or hook (in this case, the tarot shop), a murder, the sexy cop who tries to protect/dissuade the protagonist, and the small town. But, not only is this book funnier than any other cozy I've read before, it has very distinct dark elements. Alanis was with her con-artist mom until she was a teenager; she is not particularly innocent. Her past is dark. She thinks nothing of breaking laws in order to bring about real justice. She does not trust people easily, and therefore, she never falls into the usual cozy scenario of needing to be rescued by the sexy cop or other male figure. I liked this side of the book. Downsides? Well, Clarice's side-plot secrets are incredibly obvious, yet it takes Alanis forever to figure them out, which is annoying. But that's about all I can scrape up. This is a great mystery read: funny, mostly cozy, and just dark enough to break the mold a bit.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Melissa ♥ Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf

    The Good: ~Though this book didn’t have what I typically consider a cozy feel it more than made up for that with it’s wonderful quirkiness. ~I loved Alanis and her sarcastic personality. We get to know her little by little throughout the story and by the middle of the book I was completely in love with her character. ~It’s no secret that paranormal cozies are one of my favorite genres and this one delivers without being too out there. Is there really something to the Tarot? Or is at all about the r The Good: ~Though this book didn’t have what I typically consider a cozy feel it more than made up for that with it’s wonderful quirkiness. ~I loved Alanis and her sarcastic personality. We get to know her little by little throughout the story and by the middle of the book I was completely in love with her character. ~It’s no secret that paranormal cozies are one of my favorite genres and this one delivers without being too out there. Is there really something to the Tarot? Or is at all about the readers ability to read not the cards but rather the customer? I’ll let you decide, but either way…it makes for a great addition to the story. ~Well written and incredibly entertaining, this one captured me from the first page and I was hooked until the end. ~The interactions between Logan and Alanis were priceless. ~It’s also no secret that I love “woowoo,” the Tarot card elements of this story fascinated me and have renewed my interest to break out the deck I bought years ago and learn. ~Lots of clues were sprinkled throughout. You may or may not guess who done it…but regardless you’ll be entertained until the end. The Not So Good: ~I wish that we had gotten to know a bit more about the town and it’s residents. Unlike most cozies, the town wasn’t really a “character” in this one…I suspect though that in future books in this series we’ll learn more about Berdache and the town folk. Final Thoughts: This book was very simply so much fun. I can’t wait for the next book in the series.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Julie Davis

    An entertaining, light mystery. I guessed the villain halfway through but still enjoyed it a lot, especially the tarot card descriptions that separated the chapters.

  9. 5 out of 5

    D.L. Morrese

    Every once in a while you come across a book that you really like but you don't really know why. This is one of those. There's nothing overly special or unique about it. It's a contemporary murder mystery. A woman is notified that her estranged mother has died and left her all of her worldly assets, which includes a shop in a nothing of a town in Arizona. The shop (see title) is only one of several in the area that provide psychic readings and other woo-woo services. The deceased mom was a caree Every once in a while you come across a book that you really like but you don't really know why. This is one of those. There's nothing overly special or unique about it. It's a contemporary murder mystery. A woman is notified that her estranged mother has died and left her all of her worldly assets, which includes a shop in a nothing of a town in Arizona. The shop (see title) is only one of several in the area that provide psychic readings and other woo-woo services. The deceased mom was a career con-woman. The daughter would rather not be, although it is what she was groomed for. So, when it turns out that the woman's death probably wasn't due to a burglary gone wrong but was, instead, a targeted slaying, the daughter is not surprised, and she begins to investigate. I like stories with clever, witty, but essentially moral protagonists. The one in this book certainly qualifies. Alanis (possibly her real name, although she's had many aliases) is given depth in the story through flashbacks to scenes from her childhood, traveling around the country, living in hotels, and playing parts in her mother's cons. From these you see why she is what she is, and you admire that she's not been completely destroyed by her experiences, that she's somehow retained both her sanity and her humanity. One of her first acts upon arriving in Arizona is to make amends with some of the people her mother conned out of money or jewelry. But I think what I find most appealing about this spunky heroine is that she's a clear thinker, skeptical, logical, perhaps even a bit cynical. She arrives knowing that her mother, her shop, and the mystical stuff the town is known for are nothing more than ways of extracting money from credulous, superstitious tourists. But as she learns more, she wonders if the Tarot cards can't be more than just a con. In the hands of a skilled reader, perhaps they can provide comfort, or motivation, or confidence.... Rather than being used to cheat people, maybe they can be used to help them. Of course they'd need to be in the hands of someone skilled at reading people to do that. Alanis feels that she is. There are two more books in this series. I just ordered the second, and the third is in my local library system. I've added both to my TBR list. I suppose you could consider that an endorsement of this one.

  10. 5 out of 5

    K.

    I received an ARC of The White Magic Five & Dime through NetGalley. (3.5 Stars) I expected The White Magic Five & Dime to be a good guilty pleasure read for yet another snowed in winter night and was happily surprised when it turned out to be less "guilty pleasure" and more "genuinely enjoyable." While the book's premise (young woman inherits new age shop from her estranged con artist mother, finds herself at the center of a revenge plot engineered by her mother's marks) errs a bit on the absurd s I received an ARC of The White Magic Five & Dime through NetGalley. (3.5 Stars) I expected The White Magic Five & Dime to be a good guilty pleasure read for yet another snowed in winter night and was happily surprised when it turned out to be less "guilty pleasure" and more "genuinely enjoyable." While the book's premise (young woman inherits new age shop from her estranged con artist mother, finds herself at the center of a revenge plot engineered by her mother's marks) errs a bit on the absurd side, Hockensmith and Falco manage to keep things reigned in. The present-day predicament of Alanis inheriting her mother's new age gift shop and tarot reading business is interwoven with flashbacks to Alanis's childhood. These flashbacks lay the groundwork for Alanis's eventual estrangement from her mother, taking the reader through a series of increasingly high risk and violent cons. As much as Alanis strives to escape her mother, she finds that she carries pieces of her wherever she goes. Through this look at Alanis's history, Hockensmith and Falco are able to ask some tough questions about the role that toxic family relationships can play in shaping our personalities. The White Magic Five & Dime had a good blend of humor and suspense - but was never downright funny or scary. If you read a lot of mysteries, you'll see several well-worn tropes in play, the majority of which are executed skillfully. Like most good mysteries, The White Magic Five & Dime feels familiar from the outset, but is never entirely predictable.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Alice Liu

    I am far wiser for having read this book, having learned about the shortcomings of female gaydar and human goldfish funerals. Alanis McLachlan grew up in a loveless, makeshift family of grifters. When she inherits her estranged mother's last con, a tarot shop, she decides to make amends to her mother's victims while hopefully catching her mother's murderer. There is so much great information that comes through Alanis -- words of con artist wisdom that reveal great insight into human nature. Hock I am far wiser for having read this book, having learned about the shortcomings of female gaydar and human goldfish funerals. Alanis McLachlan grew up in a loveless, makeshift family of grifters. When she inherits her estranged mother's last con, a tarot shop, she decides to make amends to her mother's victims while hopefully catching her mother's murderer. There is so much great information that comes through Alanis -- words of con artist wisdom that reveal great insight into human nature. Hockensmith and Falco keep the action dynamic and the characters are well developed...so much so that I grew to love Biddle who appears only in brief flashbacks, and as the voice of grifter wisdom in Alanis's head. I was especially thrilled when a murderer reveals a surprising multi-con. The tarot aspect wove its way surprisingly well through the story. The readings are not the standard, predictable readings, but specific to character/situation reveals, or just downright funny. Though Alanis is so serious and there is much criminality to be had by all, there is also an underlying hopeful feel to the book that is just sublime. It did take me a bit of time in the beginning to get used to Alanis's unique vernacular, so if any readers find themselves struggling with the same thing, I urge you to persevere. You will be greatly rewarded....and surprised by the ending. Which I never saw coming.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Leslie aka StoreyBook Reviews

    Do you believe in White Magic? After reading this book you might...or might not. Alanis is notified that her mother has died and she has been left everything. Yet when she arrives in Berdache AZ, she finds things maybe aren't as cut and dried as it seems. For some reason, I thought this book was going to be a cozy mystery. I don't think I would put it in that genre. Mystery? yes! Cozy? hmmm, borderline. However, that doesn't matter because this is still a GREAT book! I have always been fascinated Do you believe in White Magic? After reading this book you might...or might not. Alanis is notified that her mother has died and she has been left everything. Yet when she arrives in Berdache AZ, she finds things maybe aren't as cut and dried as it seems. For some reason, I thought this book was going to be a cozy mystery. I don't think I would put it in that genre. Mystery? yes! Cozy? hmmm, borderline. However, that doesn't matter because this is still a GREAT book! I have always been fascinated with things like psychics and tarot card readers (and maybe one day I will visit one for a reading!). This book explained more about tarot cards and what each card means (or could mean) when chosen. The characters were very real and there were flashbacks to Alanis' life growing up that filled in the gaps as to why she hadn't seen her mother in 20 years and what it was like being a part of a con artist's life as a child. There are twists and turns that I definitely didn't expect and the book had an ending that could lead to another book, or could just as easily end here as a stand-alone book. Worth the read!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

    2017 Notes: A re-read as I prepare to read the second book in this series. I was blown away by the main character and her sarcastic life outlook on my first read and this time through did not disappoint. I really really like this main character and while this is still more a cozy than not – there is no one quite like Alanis McLachlan (STILL not her real name). Loved it even more this time around! 2015 Notes: I can’t remember the last time a book made me laugh out loud so much. Alanis McLachlan (N 2017 Notes: A re-read as I prepare to read the second book in this series. I was blown away by the main character and her sarcastic life outlook on my first read and this time through did not disappoint. I really really like this main character and while this is still more a cozy than not – there is no one quite like Alanis McLachlan (STILL not her real name). Loved it even more this time around! 2015 Notes: I can’t remember the last time a book made me laugh out loud so much. Alanis McLachlan (NOT her real name) is a second generation con-woman (sort of) who hoped to never hear from her mother again, which she didn’t (sort of). When her mother is murdered, Alanis inherits a new agey tarot card shop, a surly teenage roommate and a bunch of vague but menacing threats. Alanis perspective is wry verging on face-puckeringly sour and she cracks me up. This didn’t quite read as a “cozy” to me, but it was hysterically funny. I think I ended up reading about 1/3 of this book to my husband in random excerpts because Alanis’ POV was just that entertaining! Looking forward to the next book in this series and off to find more works by this author.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Melodie

    Really enjoyed this one, though it isn't really a cozy. Our heroine was brought up by her con-woman mother & her boyfriend. She ran away as soon as she was old enough to fend for herself and never looked back. After years of no contact at all, she's more surprised when she gets a call that her mother has died and left all that she had to her. Once she arrives in Arizona she finds that Mom's death wasn't "natural". She was murdered. Even though she had no relationship with her mother, she feels l Really enjoyed this one, though it isn't really a cozy. Our heroine was brought up by her con-woman mother & her boyfriend. She ran away as soon as she was old enough to fend for herself and never looked back. After years of no contact at all, she's more surprised when she gets a call that her mother has died and left all that she had to her. Once she arrives in Arizona she finds that Mom's death wasn't "natural". She was murdered. Even though she had no relationship with her mother, she feels like she ought to try and find out who did her in. Along the way she meets up with some disgruntled clients and some not so "gruntled". Was a bit surprised with "whodunit", but it worked for sure. Looking forward to the next in this series. The tarot got worked in handily, too! Recommend!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Chrissie

    This book was a quick read and had some very funny one-liners. The reason I am giving it only 2 stars is that the entire book was only one-liners. Since it is written in first person, it was impossible to connect with the protagonist and she had zero depth. How can you route for someone who was so consistently one-note? I felt like i was in the company of a smart-ass stand up comic who had nothing to say except one wise crack after another. The mystery solving part was pretty pedestrian and sinc This book was a quick read and had some very funny one-liners. The reason I am giving it only 2 stars is that the entire book was only one-liners. Since it is written in first person, it was impossible to connect with the protagonist and she had zero depth. How can you route for someone who was so consistently one-note? I felt like i was in the company of a smart-ass stand up comic who had nothing to say except one wise crack after another. The mystery solving part was pretty pedestrian and since I figured out (correctly) the 'who done it' halfway through the book, I was disappointed in the lack of surprise at the conclusion.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Tim Hicks

    Hockensmith? I'm in. Tarot mystery? Don't care. And indeed the tarot was very well handled and integrated. Alanis is a smartass, and smart, and bold, and funny, and I want to see what she does next. She starts in an interesting situation that gets more interesting as we learn more (with her). The plot is surprisingly good for what looked like a generic small-towner. Thoroughly enjoyable. Recommended. Hockensmith? I'm in. Tarot mystery? Don't care. And indeed the tarot was very well handled and integrated. Alanis is a smartass, and smart, and bold, and funny, and I want to see what she does next. She starts in an interesting situation that gets more interesting as we learn more (with her). The plot is surprisingly good for what looked like a generic small-towner. Thoroughly enjoyable. Recommended.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kaitlyn Dunnett

    This is quite different from the other Hockensmith books I've read (in his Holmes on the Range series) but just as intriguing. Here, as in those, the voice is distinctive. In this case it's also snarky, which works just fine. I found myself smiling as I read. The only thing better than finding an enjoyable new-to-me mystery is realizing that there are more books already in print that feature the same characters. I'm looking forward to reading the second and third entries in this series. This is quite different from the other Hockensmith books I've read (in his Holmes on the Range series) but just as intriguing. Here, as in those, the voice is distinctive. In this case it's also snarky, which works just fine. I found myself smiling as I read. The only thing better than finding an enjoyable new-to-me mystery is realizing that there are more books already in print that feature the same characters. I'm looking forward to reading the second and third entries in this series.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    The White Magic Five and Dime by Steve Hockensmith with Lisa Falco When Alanis McLachlan gets a call that her 20-year estranged mother has been killed in a botched burglary and she has inherited her mother’s business in Arizona, she flies out of Chicago to assess the situation. Signing into the varied accumulations, she is also given the duty of the afters that follow death. Knowing her mother’s wish for cremation, she nearly seriously asks the executor “Where would you go around here to pick up The White Magic Five and Dime by Steve Hockensmith with Lisa Falco When Alanis McLachlan gets a call that her 20-year estranged mother has been killed in a botched burglary and she has inherited her mother’s business in Arizona, she flies out of Chicago to assess the situation. Signing into the varied accumulations, she is also given the duty of the afters that follow death. Knowing her mother’s wish for cremation, she nearly seriously asks the executor “Where would you go around here to pick up some charcoal briquettes?” Yeah, it’s one of those. Set outside Sedona, where the vortexes are not as strong. Coming from a lineage of con artists, Alanis is hip to the sham and adept at playing dupe to get what she needs. Reverse con. Savvy from an upbringing of close escapes and constant lam life, she is street smart and super snarky. Reading from a tarot lesson book by “Miss Chance”, Alanis gleams some necessary information and we, some chuckles, as she attempts to restart the business she just inherited. As a (not so) bonus, the upstairs apartment comes with a roommate, in a teenage girl Alanis’ mother was implementing in her scams. There are secrets both will divulge to each other after a testy span of trust-seeking. Then there is hunky policeman who offers help and protection, a handful of inherited grudges, and a bevy of wrongs Alanis hopes to make right. In her own backchannel method of seeking justice, the twists nearly vortex with comical dialogue before the totally unexpected climax. Hats off to this duo for that surprise. I loved this read, just as I did Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Now, to seek out the others. Favorite line: “Churches were just competition working a different kind of con.” Page 74. Big LOL. Added bonus: Learned some tarot card tidbits

  19. 4 out of 5

    Maggie Gordon

    I went searching for books involving tarot and stumbling across this fun mystery. Alanis McLachlin (even she admits her teenage name choice was terrible) is the daughter of a con artist. When her estranged mother is murdered, she finds out she's inherited a metaphysical shop and decides she needs to solve her mother's murder. The book incorporates some basic tarot lessons as Alanis learns the cards (and is ever the skeptic). Hockensmith plays with a lot of tropes of the genre, giving them some n I went searching for books involving tarot and stumbling across this fun mystery. Alanis McLachlin (even she admits her teenage name choice was terrible) is the daughter of a con artist. When her estranged mother is murdered, she finds out she's inherited a metaphysical shop and decides she needs to solve her mother's murder. The book incorporates some basic tarot lessons as Alanis learns the cards (and is ever the skeptic). Hockensmith plays with a lot of tropes of the genre, giving them some new spins. Overall, a fun, cozy mystery that's great for a relaxing read. Will definitely be seeking out the rest of the series!

  20. 4 out of 5

    A Voracious Reader (a.k.a. Carol)

    4.5 *Book source ~ Library Alanis McLachlan has not had a conventional childhood and it ended when she walked out on her mother. So she is understandably surprised when her mom croaks and leaves her everything. However, Alanis discovers, much like her childhood, nothing is ever as simple as it seems. Can she solve her mother’s murder and get to the bottom of what she was up to all while keeping herself alive? This is told differently. Almost like Alanis is talking to the reader. I love it, but a lo 4.5 *Book source ~ Library Alanis McLachlan has not had a conventional childhood and it ended when she walked out on her mother. So she is understandably surprised when her mom croaks and leaves her everything. However, Alanis discovers, much like her childhood, nothing is ever as simple as it seems. Can she solve her mother’s murder and get to the bottom of what she was up to all while keeping herself alive? This is told differently. Almost like Alanis is talking to the reader. I love it, but a lot of readers may find it off-putting. There’s a mystery to solve which is always nice, but her mother is a con artist of the finest order so it gets tricky, tricky and trickier. There’s humor and horror (Alanis’s childhood will give you nightmares), twists and turns, and the ending surprised me. I can’t wait to see what Alanis plans to do now. Glad I have books 2 & 3 from the library. This should be good.

  21. 5 out of 5

    OpenBookSociety.com

    http://openbooksociety.com/article/th... Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra The premise is enticing and fun. Alanis is the estranged daughter of the owner of The White Magic Five & Dime. When Alanis’ mother gets murdered, Alanis inherits the business and feels it is only right to find justice for her mother. It is a light cozy, written as a story told by Alanis. I enjoyed the author`s style of writing. It made for a VERY easy read. Each chapter begins with a picture of one of the tarot cards and http://openbooksociety.com/article/th... Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra The premise is enticing and fun. Alanis is the estranged daughter of the owner of The White Magic Five & Dime. When Alanis’ mother gets murdered, Alanis inherits the business and feels it is only right to find justice for her mother. It is a light cozy, written as a story told by Alanis. I enjoyed the author`s style of writing. It made for a VERY easy read. Each chapter begins with a picture of one of the tarot cards and a brief description of the card…according to Miss Chance, the author of Infinite Roads to Knowing. That is very fun :) and….later on you learn of a secret which is surprising and yet……….not surrounding the book. Even if you have little or no knowledge of tarot cards and associated readings, you will enjoy this aspect. Biddle, Alanis’ male role model when she was growing up and still with her mother (by whatever name she was going by), is an intriguing character which the reader comes to know only in flashbacks that Alanis is having. He imparts wisdom and one comes to appreciate his role in her life growing up, a “somewhat stable” male role model. I must say that the love interest angle was quite weak….and I was disappointed to a certain degree, but as luck would have it, other aspects of the book made up for this. Josh Logan (Berdache Police Department detective) and Alanis did not seem to really have that ‘spark’ even though Josh was portrayed as a “hunk”. I quite enjoyed the spunky, older suspect – Kenneth Meldon…he was a hoot…especially when he pulls out his gun (not to worry – no more bloodshed occurred). The twists relating to Clarice added some much needed spice. I liked Clarice’s character……Don’t really want to elaborate….so as to keep the mystery alive until YOU read the book. Overall, without giving away anything, the story was an enjoyable read. I was able to chuckle at Alanis’ vision of keeping the business alive, even with her lack of experience in tarot card reading. But hey….a con is a con….right? A satisfying end where the bad guy/gal is of course identified…and not who you thought it would be! *OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*

  22. 5 out of 5

    Claire

    Amusing. Sort of hard bitten noir voice. Alanis, a name she chose when she walked away from her narcissistic (generous- maybe psychopathic)mother. Who is now using (well used)the name Athena Passalis. As Alanis said to the attorney who called her; "Does she want money or is she dead?" When hearing that dear old mom has passed to her reward, Alanis asks, "How was she murdered?" Cynical, right? Alanis (under many different names,she actually wonders what her name really is grew up on the road with Amusing. Sort of hard bitten noir voice. Alanis, a name she chose when she walked away from her narcissistic (generous- maybe psychopathic)mother. Who is now using (well used)the name Athena Passalis. As Alanis said to the attorney who called her; "Does she want money or is she dead?" When hearing that dear old mom has passed to her reward, Alanis asks, "How was she murdered?" Cynical, right? Alanis (under many different names,she actually wonders what her name really is grew up on the road with "Mom" and Biddle running cons and scams across the country. When the cons turn too close to pandering, Alanis splits and leaves her mother to her own devices. Fast forward 20 years, Alanis defines herself as Not My Mother which leaves a lot to be desired in a life. When Mom dies and leaves her of all things The White Magic Five & Dime Alanis decides to find Mom's murderer and ditch the Five & Dime. So this noir is really 'closure' for Alanis who really is not sure what her name is, who her father is, or where she is going ultimately. As a woman who lives 'straight' but raised as a con artist she is uniquely skilled to find Mom's killer. Many twists turns and surprises pop up as Alanis homes in on the killer. And really the reader starts to wonder if Alanis will survive the investigation.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Barbm1020

    This story is told by the main character, who is so strong and so interesting that I couldn't put it down. If you liked The Grifters and Lynda Barry's Cruddy, you'll guess the ending, but it's still a good read. This story is told by the main character, who is so strong and so interesting that I couldn't put it down. If you liked The Grifters and Lynda Barry's Cruddy, you'll guess the ending, but it's still a good read.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Dianne

    Have you ever started a book and after a couple of chapters thought to yourself that this drivel just wasn’t for you? That is what I first thought about The White Magic Five and Dime, but something kept me reading and I quickly became engrossed in this book. At first the sarcasm and hidden self pity from Alanis was just a bit too over the top …until you read further and really get a feel for our protagonist. Initially I was annoyed with see all of the 80’s TV and movie references but it soon bec Have you ever started a book and after a couple of chapters thought to yourself that this drivel just wasn’t for you? That is what I first thought about The White Magic Five and Dime, but something kept me reading and I quickly became engrossed in this book. At first the sarcasm and hidden self pity from Alanis was just a bit too over the top …until you read further and really get a feel for our protagonist. Initially I was annoyed with see all of the 80’s TV and movie references but it soon became fun to try and figure them out. The story is a mystery and a very good one at that. I wonder how many other readers will have an easier time figuring out who done it and why, than I did, but I didn’t catch on until the real killer was actually revealed. Anything else I say about the big reveal will ‘spoil’ the story so I am not going to say anything more. So many secrets, so many cons…this is going to make an excellent series and I am certainly going to be along for the ride. Happy reading!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Carrie

    2015 Reading Challenge- a book with a number in the title. SO MUCH FUN! This isn't my typical genre, but a friend recommended this to me for a lighter read. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the book. The main character is sarcastic and compassionate at the same time. Her inner monologue regarding tarot, the other characters and the situation made me laugh aloud more than once. And perhaps an even bigger surprise, I didn't guess the end half way through the book. I recommend this to anyone w 2015 Reading Challenge- a book with a number in the title. SO MUCH FUN! This isn't my typical genre, but a friend recommended this to me for a lighter read. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the book. The main character is sarcastic and compassionate at the same time. Her inner monologue regarding tarot, the other characters and the situation made me laugh aloud more than once. And perhaps an even bigger surprise, I didn't guess the end half way through the book. I recommend this to anyone with a sarcastic side that needs a few laughs

  26. 5 out of 5

    Dichotomy Girl

    Wow, this book really surprised me. It was an impulse check out from the e-library, by an unknown author, involving tarot cards? I figured it would serve as an mildly enjoyable palette cleanser. So I was really shocked that I enjoyed it so much. It's been awhile since I've read a truly enjoyable cozy-type mystery. The only thing that makes me sad is that this is the only (or first?) book in a potential series, so who knows when and if, there will be another one. Wow, this book really surprised me. It was an impulse check out from the e-library, by an unknown author, involving tarot cards? I figured it would serve as an mildly enjoyable palette cleanser. So I was really shocked that I enjoyed it so much. It's been awhile since I've read a truly enjoyable cozy-type mystery. The only thing that makes me sad is that this is the only (or first?) book in a potential series, so who knows when and if, there will be another one.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sally Ember

    Clever, unexpected twists and character turns, not a lot of predictable or stock scenes, plot devices or characters, and fascinating take on Tarot cards and readings. Well done! Fun to read, especially since I have used/read Tarot cards for decades. Recommended if you like mysteries with strong female characters and interesting settings/details. Will look for more by this author, but skipping all those about zombies. Not my thing.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Dakota

    was a pretty fun read. It wasn't until the middle that I started really got into the series. Will be reading the second book was a pretty fun read. It wasn't until the middle that I started really got into the series. Will be reading the second book

  29. 5 out of 5

    Angela

    tremendously great. hope there is a sequel.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sue Em

    Nothing like an enjoyable heroine with sass in an unusual situation. Thumbs up on this really fun read

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