I have read many books by Steve Hockensmith and enjoyed them all. The Holmes on the Range series is a great mash-up of mystery and western. Cadaver in Chief: A Special Report from the Dawn of the Zombie Apocalypse was the funniest zombie book I ever read, which is probably why I liked it. (I normally do not like zombies.) So when the The White Magic Five & Dime came out I couldn’t wait to read it and I was not disappointed. The only way I could be disappointed is if this is the only one in the series.
Who is Steve Hockensmith?
Steve has the best author website. Period. You need to check it out. His tongue-in-cheek writing style grabs me every time. He started in journalism and moved to writing novels. Since his first book, Holmes on the Range, was a finalist for several prestigious writing awards I would say that was a good move. Besides writing adult mystery novels, he writes short stories, romzomcoms, (I had never heard this term but it is basically Jane Austin with zombies) and kid’s books. His series, starting with Nick and Tesla’s High-Voltage Danger Lab, and co-written with “Science Bob” Pflugfelder, are very popular with middle grade readers. I just finished the first one and loved it.
All in all I would say Steve is a writer with a capital W. He does what I think all authors need to do more of, write and publish fun books.
Why do I love this book?
The White Magic Five & Dime is a clever, slightly snarky, fun, twisty mystery. The main character thinks she is normal but she can’t escape her crazy childhood although she does a good job of trying. I liked how she struggled with who she thought she should be and who she really was. Plus her inner dialogue is pithy and cynical which is so fun to read.
All good mysteries have a hobby, or a profession to wrap the story around. This one used tarot cards. Steve didn’t know much about tarot so he co-wrote the books with a tarot expert, Lisa Falco. They did a great job incorporating tarot into the story. Different cards are explained throughout the book and they help illuminate or confuse the plot. I like tarot cards the for the same reason I like horoscopes, it is amazing how accurate they can be while being so vague. Using them in a mystery helps make the story more mysterious. Very cool.
Sticking a die-hard skeptic in a new-age town is a great way to add natural conflict to a story. Since I am a bit of a skeptic myself I loved her opinion of the people who visited vortexes and psychics. The setting of the town added to the story and to her fish-out-of-water mentality. This is a mystery I would gladly read again and again.
No book is perfect. This is what bugs me…
The only thing that bugs me is that the second one isn’t out yet. Write faster!
Why should you read this book?
If you like light mysteries that are really funny, well-written, clever, and edu-taining then this is the book for you. The best part is, even though there isn’t a second tarot card mystery out yet, you can read Steve’s other books like Holmes on the Range or Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls and enjoy more funny, clever stories.
A Quote worth Quoting
“A blind lady swinging a sword big enough for Conan the Barbarian seems like a bad idea. But look: this Justice has the traditional sword and scales but no blindfold. (her muumuu’s a lot spiffier than the usual toga, too, but that’s beside the point.) The implication: screw impartiality. If things are to work out as they should (and that’s what justice is really all about), the important thing is to look at the situation – and yourself – and truly see. Miss Chance Infinite Roads of Knowing” Steve Hockensmith, White Magic Five and Dime