by Cynthia Chow
Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of Give the Devil His Due, and a link to purchase it from Amazon, and an indie bookstore where a portion of the sale goes to help support KRL.
Raised by a grifting, con artist of a mother, Alanis McLachlan’s childhood was anything but normal. Alanis’s one anchor of security and comfort was Biddle, her mother’s partner-in-crime and who educated Alanis on the art of the con. Alanis last saw Biddle thirty years ago, when she and her mother fled while he faced off against murderous, double-crossed criminals. So it’s something of an understatement to say that Alanis is shocked to find Biddle, smiling and unrepentant, at the doorstep of her White Magic Five and Dive fortune-telling parlor. Considering that Alanis’s half-sister believes that Biddle was both her father and also definitely dead, there are some uncomfortable conversations in their future.
Half James Bond and half Shaft, Biddle lived for the con, saw the rest of the world as suckers to be fleeced, and lied more than he ever told the truth. So when another obvious liar comes into her parlor and then ends up dead, Alanis can’t help but assume that the murder is attached to one of Biddle’s scams. When it’s accompanied by a man disappearing into her bathroom, a driver nearly running over her twice, and then her apartment getting searched, Alanis finds herself sliding all too easily back into the grifting lifestyle she continually tries to escape. Perhaps that’s why she avoids the phone calls from the perfectly nice gym teacher Victor Castellanos, who is reliable, normal, and walks on the sunny side of the street. Instead, Alanis calls on GW Fletcher, who may be unreliable, devious, and a criminal, but he is also loyal, charming, and smoking hot. Perhaps what both appeals and terrifies Alanis the most about GW is that he understands her upbringing the most, and unquestioningly accepts the person she has become.
The highlight of this Tarot Mystery series has always been Alanis’s cynical outlook, her hilarious inner dialogue, and her insight on human behavior. What shouldn’t be overlooked is how her glibness is often a veneer that covers her loneliness and damage at having been raised without a real name (it could ruin a con), used television characters as her only role models, and been taught to never trust or make friends. Even though her mother established the White Magic Five and Dime as yet another con, Alanis has come to believe in the readings of her tarot cards and the guidebook her mother wrote.
As Biddle once again descends into her life, perhaps the Infinite Road to Knowing’s note that, “Nostalgia’s great at creating both pretty pictures and crummy history,” never rings more true. What the authors incorporate so well with the undercurrent of emotional realness are the comical and absurdly delightful characters that inhabit the Sedona-like town of Berdache, Arizona. A geriatric hit-woman wannabe, a German zillionaire who’s feuded with Mother Theresa and been head-butted by the Dalai Lama (according to Wikipedia), and especially Alanis’s half-sister Clarice, and her naively normal girlfriend CeeCee. One of the most original and humorous mystery series being written today, this series continues to surprise and satisfy with its deft plotting and evolving characters.
To enter to win a copy of Give the Devil His Due, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “devil,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen May 13, 2017. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
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Use this link to purchase the book & a portion goes to help support KRL & indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy:
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