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The White Magic Five and Dime (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

I was looking for something fun, fast-paced, a little light-hearted, and entertaining.

The White Magic Five and Dime by Steve Hockensmith and Lisa Falco was just the thing!

Alanis McLachlan gets a serious surprise. Her mother, from whom she has been estranged for over 20 years, left her an inheritance - a tiny, New Agey shop in Berdache, Arizona. Alanis doesn't trust this gift from her mother with good reason - Athena was a master con artist. There's always a catch, there's always a mark, and Alanis is pretty sure her mother is setting her up as payback for her desertion, but Alanis is baffled as to how this last con is going to play out.

Further complications arise when Athena's death is called into question by the local sheriff, who has a disturbingly distracting effect on Alanis, and then there's the small matter of the teenager living in Athena's apartment. Alanis has to figure out who might want Athena (if that's her real name anyway) dead, and unsurprisingly, there are lots of suspects. After all, using tarot decks is a con, isn't it?

The White Magic Five and Dime is completely delightful, and I do hope Steve Hockensmith and Lisa Falco come back to this place and these people. Alanis is smart and funny and wistfully hopeful for one as cynical as she was raised to be. I like her a lot. And the other characters that populate Berdache are wonderfully diverse and quirky in the way you only get from small towns. For those of you who don't like "woo-woo" aspects to stories, there's really very little of the metaphysical going on here, although the possibility is certainly out there. But this tale is all about the people and how they do or don't play nicely  with each other. And I have to say, there are some brilliant and glorious twists that I absolutely did not see coming, which made The White Magic Five and Dime even more wonderful!

— Fran


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.


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

About the Author

Steve Hockensmith (California) is the author of the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies novels Dawn of the Dreadfuls (Quirk Classics, 2010) and Dreadfully Ever After (Quirk Classics, 2011). His book Holmes on the Range (Minotaur Books, 2007) was a finalist for the Edgar, Shamus, and Anthony Awards for Best First Novel. Lisa Falco (Los Angeles) received her first tarot deck at the age of eight years old. She holds degrees from both Northwestern University and Cal State University Northridge, and is the author of A Mother's Promise (Illumination Arts, 2004).
Product Details
ISBN: 9780738740225
ISBN-10: 0738740225
Publisher: Midnight Ink
Publication Date: July 8th, 2014
Pages: 326
Language: English
Series: Tarot Mysteries