Friday, March 10, 2023

#BookReview: Play the Fool: A Mystery by Lina Chern

Synopsis: A cynical tarot card reader seeks to uncover the truth about her friend's mysterious death in this delightfully clever whodunit.

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. So one day, having been encouraged by Marley to practice soothsaying, Katie reads tarot for someone who stumbles into her shop. But when she sneaks a glance at his phone, she finds more than just clairvoyant intel. 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 the truth has deadly consequences, and Katie's recklessness lands her in the crossfire of a threat she never saw coming. Now Katie must use her street smarts and her inner Strength card to solve Marley's murder--or risk losing everything.


Rating: 2 Stars
My Review: This book was great until around half way through.  It just became unbelievable and the story fell apart for me.  I loved the first half of this one but, just couldn't fully enjoy the last half.  


“With a delicious blend of suspense and madcap humor, Chern’s standout debut is guaranteed to delight fans of Lisa Lutz [and] Alan Bradley, and readers who enjoy witty, fast-paced mysteries.”Library Journal (starred review)

“A sharp, unique, and memorable debut, 
Play the Fool is unlike any mystery I’ve read before—and that’s a good thing! Lina Chern’s voice shines brightly, and readers will be immediately drawn into Katie True’s twisty and gripping investigation. It’s a fantastic read.”—Alex Segura, bestselling author of Secret Identity

“Lina Chern’s 
Play the Fool pulls off a tricky blend of humor and menace that had me flipping pages like crazy. The mystery is fresh and twisty, but it’s her characters (and voice) that kept me enthralled. I can’t believe this is a debut novel, and I can’t wait for more.”—Duane Swierczynski, award-winning author of Canary

About the Author

Lina Chern has been published in Mystery Weekly, The Marlboro Review, the Bellingham Review, Rhino, The Collagist, Black Fox Literary magazine, and the Coil. She lives in the Chicago area with her family. Play the Fool is her debut novel.  --This text refers to the paperback edition.

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FTC Guidelines: In accordance with FTC guidelines regarding endorsements and testimonials for bloggers, I would like my readers to know that many of the books I review are provided to me for free by the publisher or author of the book in exchange for an honest review. If am compensated for any reviews on this site I will state that post has been sponsored. 


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