Saturday, April 15, 2017



Reformed con artist-turned-tarot reader Alanis McLachlan gets paid for predicting the future—too bad she didn’t see all the trouble in hers. First a figure from her past tries to drag her back into the life of crime she thought she’d left behind. Then a new suitor tries to sweep Alanis off her feet, forcing her on-again, off-again romance with hunky teacher Victor Castellanos to hit the skids. And then there’s the little matter of the client who gets an ominous reading from Alanis . . . and is promptly murdered. Danger is in the cards for Alanis, and she’ll need all her skill at reading people and reading tarot if she’s going to survive.


A great read . . . ~Babs Book Bistro

This is a funny mystery filled with con men, an investigative reporter, mafia types, old ladies with uzis, a pony-tailed German man, and a touch of the occult.
~Teresa Trent, Author  
Give the Devil His Due is another fun addition to the Tarot Mystery Series. I must say that I am really enjoying this series! ~Melissa’s Eclectic Bookshelf 

I really love the layout of this book, you aren’t left guessing what the cards look like, they are in the book! An author that dots his i’s and crosses his t’s.

In this book there’s mystery, action, a little bit of melodrama and humour, perfect for anyone searching a good read! ~Varietats


Musicians, I’m guessing, are inspired by music. Painters are inspired by paintings. Sculptors are inspired by sculptures. People who make art out of cat fur are inspired by…well, cats, probably.  But filmmakers are inspired by films. Etc.

And, yes, writers are inspired by writing. But it seems to me that writers — and novelists, in particular — aren’t just inspired by work in their own field. They’re inspired by movies and TV shows and songs, too. Maybe even by art made out of cat fur. (Coming soon to a bookstore near you — Macaram√© Is Meow-der: A Cat Fur Art Mystery.)

The Tarot Mystery series I do with Lisa Falco was — surprise surprise — inspired by tarot cards. Lisa’s a great tarot reader, and her deep knowledge of the deck has been woven into each book. (The latest is Give the Devil His Due, I should mention. Because you know what else inspires writers? Sales!)
But it’s not just the tarot that made the series what it is. There were other influences, too. Influences like —

A book: I loved the way Mma Precious Ramotswe, the hero of Alexander McCall Smith’s The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, helps her clients by solving mysteries that seem (when judged by the high bar set by, say, contemporary thrillers) low key and down to earth. Lisa and I wanted our tarot-reading hero, Alanis McLachlan, to do the same thing. We ended up straying a bit from that — the murder mystery in Give the Devil His Due is probably the wildest, wackiest one of the series — yet I think we’ve stayed true to our vision of Alanis as a sleuth who doesn’t just ask “Whodunnit?” but “Howyadoin'?” as well.

A series of movies: Alanis doesn’t have a socialite wife or a terrier, but like Nick Charles, the detective hero of the classic '30s and '40s Thin Man films, she’s got a breezy attitude and a shady past. Before I even knew I was a fan of the mystery genre, I watched those old movies over and over and over again. So when I finally started writing mysteries of my own, there was no way I could keep Nick’s irrepressible bonhomie out of my protagonist. (Big Red Amlingmeyer, the narrator of my “Holmes on the Range” mysteries, has it, too.)

A TV show: Speaking of irrepressible bonhomie, The Avengers has got it wall to wall. And I’m not talking about Captain America’s sprightly banter with Iron Man. The Avengers I’m talking about didn’t wear tights. Well, one of them kind of did. John Steed and Mrs. Emma Peel, the superspy team at the heart of the eccentric 1960s series The Avengers, solved mysteries while swilling champagne and sporting the grooviest Carnaby Street threads. (Mrs. Peel’s outfits usually had only enough threads to cover her body very, very tightly indeed.) While the series was goofier than the Tarot Mystery books, the light tone was an inspiration, as were the title cards that hinted at events about to unfold. (From an episode called “The Joker: Steed trumps an ace; Emma plays a lone hand.”) The latter we repurposed in the structure of our novels, with an interpretation of a tarot card opening its chapter and teasing what’s to come.

Cat fur art: You’ve just combed your kitty as a good pet owner should, and now it’s time to peel off and throw away all the excess hair stuck to the brush. But wait! Don’t you know you can make finger puppets with that?!? Inspired by the DIY spirit of the cat fur art movement, Lisa and I….

Oh, alright — I admit it. Cat fur art hasn’t had any influence on the Tarot Mystery series. Although — true story! — the illustrator who did the cover for the first book tried to slip in a cat even though there wasn't one in the book. Maybe he was like, "This is a cozy, right?" So I added a cat to the second book . . .  and then the cat didn't make it onto the cover.

I guess that's what I get for taking inspiration from something as far-out as the cover illustration . . . 



Steve Hockensmith’s first novel, Holmes on the Range, was a finalist for the Edgar, Shamus, Anthony and Dilys awards. He went on to write four sequels as well as a pair of bestselling follow-ups to the international publishing sensation Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. More recently, he wrote (with collaborator “Science Bob” Pflugfelder) the middle-grade mysteries Nick and Tesla’s High-Voltage Danger Lab and Nick and Tesla’s Robot Army Rampage.

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