Fool Me Once is the second book in the White Magic Five and Dime series by Steve Hockensmith and Lisa Falco. Steve Hockensmith is also the author of the Holmes on the Range series and I love the audiobooks for those so I was happy to see he had another series out. It is my understanding that Lisa Falco contributed her extensive knowledge of Tarot decks and readings to their writing partnership. And the tarot card readings are essential to the story of Alanis McLachlan, daughter of a supreme con artist, and of the White Magic Five and Dime, the store her mother left her. Alanis is bent on finding the customers that her mother did Tarot card readings for – and cheated – so she can make amends. This is easier said than done. Alanis is learning to give readings, hoping to lure back her mother’s duped customers with the promise of a free reading. One of those returning customers is Marsha, an abused woman that Alanis tries to help leave her husband. But when her husband winds up dead and the police suspect Marsha, Alanis takes on more than she bargained for to clear her new friend’s name.
Hockensmith and Falco set up an intriguing premise for this series. Their characters are charming or suitably awful in some cases. The desert setting is well realized and the tarot card information is fascinating.Add in a challenging mystery to be solved by a heroine you can really root for and maybe just a pinch of romance and the authors have a solid hit on their hands! Oh, and don’t forget to close the book with a shocking surprise to make sure readers come clamoring back.