You want to know about a day in my life? Well, this much I can tell you for sure: It’s going to start way too damn early, and it’s probably going to get weird before it’s over.
Up until a few months ago, I had a pretty normal routine. On weekdays, it looked like this: up at 9, at work by 10, annoy people till 7 (I was a telemarketer — don’t hate me), home by 8, in bed by midnight. On weekends, it was up whenever, hang around till whenever, ponder the meaninglessness of life till whenever, maybe go on a bad date whenever (and with whoever — it never ended up mattering), go to bed (alone) whenever.
Like I said: pretty normal. (That is pretty normal, right? I was raised by my sociopath con artist mother, so “normal” doesn’t always come easy to me.)
Then I moved to Berdache, Arizona, to take over the fortune-telling parlor my mom had left me, and the old routine went out the window. For one thing, along with the shop — the White Magic Five & Dime — I inherited a teenage half-sister, Clarice. Clarice is a good kid, but she’s still a kid. I can depend on her to get up for school every morning at 6:30. . .and I can also depend on her to wake me up when she starts banging around in the kitchen looking for a clean bowl for her Froot Loops.
If my sister doesn’t wake me up too early, a customer will. Clarice and I live in an apartment above the White Magic Five & Dime, so if someone knocks on the shop’s front door I’m going to hear it. And I’m going to come downstairs and see who it is, too, because I’ve made it my mission to find and help my mother’s old customers — a.k.a. her old victims.
Remember the “sociopath con artist” thing? Well, Mommy Dearest was still at it till the day she died. The only thing that changed was her con of choice. Her last few years, it was tarot reading.
So there I’ll be, up too early trying to help people my mother scammed by pretending to be a tarot reader myself. (I need an excuse to keep the shop open. And hey — I think I’m actually getting kind of good at it.) And if things are going just a little too smoothly that day, you know what’ll happen?
Someone will turn up murdered.
First it was my mother herself. (I probably shouldn’t admit it, but my first reaction upon hearing that someone had killed her was “What took so long?”) Then it was the abusive husband of one of my mom’s customer/victims. Next it could be me if I keep poking my nose into people’s business around Berdache.
Fortunately, being raised by a sociopath con artist has an upside. All that experience with lying and cheating and escaping and surviving comes in pretty handy when there’s a killer on the loose. So I’ve managed to con my way out of an early grave. . .so far. But who knows?
The day is young.
You can read more about Alanis in Fool Me Once, the second book in the “Tarot” mystery series written by Steve Hockensmith (with help from tarot expert Lisa Falco) and published by Midnight Ink. The first book in the series is The White Magic Five & Dime.
About Fool Me Once
Since taking over the White Magic Five & Dime, Alanis McLachlan has been tracking down old customers and making amends for her mother’s con jobs. So when Marsha — one of the shop’s most loyal clients — comes looking for a way out of her abusive marriage, Alanis does everything she can to help.
But lending a hand leads to unforeseen consequences, including the murder of Marsha’s husband. Now Alanis has to use her wiles to undo a mess of her own making. Her growing mastery of the tarot might help her find the truth…if the killer doesn’t get to her first.
Critics are calling Fool Me Once “winning” (Publishers Weekly) and “delightfully quirky” (Kirkus).
GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on August 28 for the chance to win a paperback edition of Fool Me Once. The giveaway is open to everyone. Winner will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes and will have three days to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected.
About the author
Steve Hockensmith is the author of 14 novels and dozens of short stories in a variety of genres. His novel Dawn of the Dreadfuls, the official prequel to the smash “mashup” Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, was a New York Times bestseller. His other books include the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies sequel Dreadfully Ever After, the Edgar Award-nominated mystery/Western Holmes on the Range and the science-adventure for kids Nick and Tesla’s High-Voltage Danger Lab (written with frequent Jimmy Kimmel Live! guest “Science Bob” Pflugfelder).