I downloaded Steve Hockensmith’s The White Magic Five and Dime from the public library solely based on the cover, so I guess that works out sometimes. It was well-written and very funny, and had enough twists and turns to make it just fly by. The illustrations of tarot cards were great. I’m definitely going to put the sequel on my “to-read” list (although it doesn’t appear to actually be out yet…).
Alanis McLachlan (she made that name up when she was 18, and admits that it shows) has been out of contact with her con artist mother for 20 years. Then she gets a call one day that someone killed her mother, so she heads to Arizona to take care of things. She discovers she’s inherited some money, as well as her mother’s store — The White Magic Five & Dime — where she sold trinkets and did tarot card readings. Despite her tumultuous relationship with her mother, Alanis is determined to solve her mother’s murder and put everything in the past once and for all. Then she begins receiving death threats of her own.
This book was really very funny. At the end of each chapter there’s an illustration of a tarot card, with increasingly snarky descriptions beneath. Alanis has a sharp wit and a suspicious mind, and her banter with the cute small-town cop was great. In contrast, her flashbacks to her childhood, dragged around by her mother as a prop to her various cons, balance everything out with a bit of darkness. This book reminded me a lot of the Spellman series that I read last year, which was also full of humor and family drama. Definitely a fun read.