A cynical tarot card reader seeks to uncover the truth about her friend’s mysterious death in this delightfully clever whodunit, “a delicious blend of suspense and madcap humor” (Library Journal, starred review).
For Katie True, a keen gut and quick wit are just tools of the trade. After a failed attempt at adulting in Chicago, she’s back in the suburbs living a bit too close to her overbearing parents, jumping from one dead-end job to the next, and flipping through her tarot deck for guidance. Then along comes Marley.
Mysterious, worldly, and comfortable in her own skin, Marley takes a job at the mall where Katie peddles Russian tchotchkes. The two just get each other. Marley doesn’t try to fix Katie’s life or pretend to be someone she’s not, and Katie thinks that with Marley’s friendship, she just might make it through this rough patch after all. Until the day when Katie, having been encouraged by Marley to practice soothsaying, reads the cards for someone who stumbles into her shop. But when she sneaks a glance at his phone, she finds more than intel to improve her clairvoyance. She finds a photo. Of Marley. With a gunshot wound to the head.
The bottom falls out of Katie’s world. Her best friend is dead? Who killed her? She quickly realizes there are some things her tarot cards can’t foresee, and she must put her razor-sharp instincts to the ultimate test. But Katie’s recklessness lands her in the crossfire of a threat she never saw coming. Now she must use her street smarts and her inner Strength card to solve Marley’s murder—or risk losing everything.
Katie True, the 29-year-old narrator of Chern's enjoyable debut, is stuck in a dead-end job at a "Russian knickknack place" in a mall outside Chicago. Her only friend, Marley, works in a goth boutique across the way. Secure and self-sufficient, Marley is everything that Katie is not. With Marley's encouragement, Katie, whose only skill is reading tarot cards, takes her first steps toward discovering her place in life, in defiance of her caring but judgmental family. Then a bleeding man stumbles into Katie's shop and asks her to read his cards. A panicked Katie sneaks a glance at his phone while he's distracted and spots a photo of Marley with a gunshot wound to the head. Katie's quest to discover the truth about her friend's death leads her afoul of organized criminals as well as a disturbingly attractive, by-the-books police detective. Mystery-first readers may find the plot a bit scant, but Katie is a heroine anyone will root for. This good-natured romp works best when it focuses on Katie's efforts to negotiate the gentle art of adulthood.