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The White Magic Five & Dime (A Tarot Mystery Book 1) Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 74 customer reviews

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Length: 338 pages Word Wise: Enabled Optimized for larger screens

Complete Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Alanis McLachlan is shocked to discover that her murdered mother, from whom Alanis had been estranged for 20 years, has left her daughter, of all things, a tarot shop in Berdache, Arizona. Why would she do such a thing, knowing that Alanis would see tarot reading as just another con in her mother’s long history of scams. Could the shop have something to do with why she was murdered? Intrigued in spite of herself, Alanis goes to Arizona and finds even more unanswered questions, chief among them, Who is the suspicious teenage girl who was living with Alanis’ mother? Filled with humor, this engaging mystery turns many staples of the amateur-sleuth story on their heads, with each chapter bringing new quirks and ­surprises—Alanis even finds herself drawn to the tarot cards and discovers an ability to use her readings to help people. Hockensmith, author of the award-winning Big Red/Old Red series, and coauthor Falco deliver a charming comic mystery, which one hopes is the beginning of a series. --Amy Alessio

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

  • File Size: 17221 KB
  • Print Length: 338 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0738740225
  • Publisher: Midnight Ink (July 8, 2014)
  • Publication Date: July 8, 2014
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00KWEY794
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #178,819 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

As you might have guessed by now, I am a writer. Most authors are (with the possible exception of Snooki). As a writer, it is my duty to spend large portions of my day sitting in front of a computer in ketchup-stained sweatpants while swilling enough coffee each hour to drown a chihuahua. This I cheerfully do. Occasionally, I even write something. Via this time-tested method of sitting, drinking coffee and writing, I have managed to produce several novels. Some people think they're pretty good. I will now fill the rest of my allotted space with quotes from positive reviews. Sorry. To make it more fun for everyone, I've slipped one fake review in with the real ones. See if you can spot it!

"Grade: A-...hilarious...delightfully offbeat...." --Entertainment Weekly on Holmes on the Range

"Other books and TV series have featured genre-melding cowboys armed with ratiocination as well as revolvers, but Hockensmith's take is quite special. There's his combination of intriguing mystery, breathless action, colorful characters and enough laugh-out-loud moments for the book to fit in the humorous crime category." --The Los Angeles Times on The Black Dove

"Hockensmith takes a concept that could have been terrible -- the backstory of the Bennet girls learning to fight the undead, setting the stage for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies -- and turns it into a gory and gross, wonderful and clever tale...a true delight, really." --Romantic Times on Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls

"Hulk hate silly things puny humans call 'books.' Hulk smash The Da Vinci Code! Hulk smash puny Harry Potter! But Hockensmith books pretty good. Hulk no smash. Hulk want more sequels." --The Incredible Hulk on The Crack in the Lens

To learn more about me, go to To learn more about the Incredible Hulk and his taste in literature, go to

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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.

Note: Review copy rcvd from Publisher, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Comment 19 of 19 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Kindle Edition
I've got a new favorite mystery series, the Tarot mysteries by Steve Hockensmith with Lisa Falco. Our family spends a lot of time in Sedona, Arizona, and I've always been intrigued by the vortexes and the crystal and shops with signs that promise healing crystals and tarot readings, but we've never ventured into one. (It just doesn't feel like the place for discreet browsing with four kids in tow.) As soon as I saw The White Magic Five & Dime, I knew I wanted to read it.

Alanis McLachlan is surprised when a caller informs her that her mother is dead and that she left her The White Magic Five & Dime, a new-age shop in Arizona. Alanis hasn't spoken to her mother in twenty years and it's news to her that her mother's latest cons were as a tarot reader. In an attempt to find her mother's killer, Alanis re-opens the shop and starts doing bogus readings herself, hoping that one of her mother's victims will let something slip. She doesn't know a thing about the cards, but she does know people and how to read them. There's no shortage of clients with grudges against the deceased.

Alanis is darker than any cozy heroine I've read so far. Raised by a con-woman, she knows all of the tricks of the trade. But she seems like a decent person, even if she might not realize that yet herself. As soon as I started reading, I was hooked. The authors reveal a lot of back story in just a few well-chosen thoughts. It's not until halfway through the book that we begin to get lengthy glimpses of Alanis's childhood and her relationship with her mother.

Disclosure - the publisher provided me with an advance ARC
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I loved how the tarot was woven into this story. Smart, strong female characters. A nice mystery to solve. Perfect for a rainy afternoon.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is fantastic. Not only is it a great mystery, I'd say it works well just as a novel. The story takes its time, interpolating flashbacks of the heroine's childhood being raised by an amoral con woman. Flashbacks often drag down a storyline, but that is absolutely not the case here. The tension builds as Alanis gets older, and some of these chapters are pretty dark. The flashbacks also do a great job of character development: Alanis basically educated herself, sitting in libraries all day while her mother worked her cons with Biddle (the only father figure she ever had in her life). She has an encyclopedic knowledge of old TV shows and 1980s movies for the same reason. It adds some humor when Alanis introduces herself as Julie McCoy or refers to "the writings of the great Roarke Villechaize Ricardo."

Alanis is living in an Illinois suburb working as a telemarketer (she's quite good at it, thanks to her upbringing) when she gets the news that her mother has been murdered. Off to Arizona she goes, having decided to avenge her mother's death, and is surprised to find her mother was reading tarot. This apparently was not one of her mother's con tricks when she was growing up. She's also greeted by a teenage girl who was her mother's ward/assistant, a hunky cop who's in charge of the investigation into her mother's murder, and several angry former customers who her mother swindled. The plot is really well done and the killer came as a surprise to me.

I've read many of Steve Hockensmith's books and love them. He is a wonderful writer. "The White Magic Five and Dime" is a great intro to a new series. Hockensmith doesn't lay on the supernatural too heavily, and this is a wise decision in my opinion. Mysteries that are heavily doused with witchcraft, ghosts, etc.
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