Play the Fool by Lina Chern

Published: March 28, 2023


Genre: Friendship Fiction

Pages: 313

KKECReads Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I received a copy of this book for free, and I leave my review voluntarily.

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.

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.

“Everything was going to be fine.”

Katie is trying to figure out what she is good at. What will make her family take her seriously. She’s a talented tarot card reader. But her family would never see that as anything serious. When Katie befriends another woman who works at the same mall, Marley, she is drawn to Marley’s judgment-free attitude. Friendship is hard.

This book was so good! I loved how tarot cards were used in this book and how Katie visualized different cards when she processed things.

Katie was such a fantastic character. I loved her immediately. She is loyal and doing her best. I enjoyed watching her come into her own. Jamie was a great character, solid and true, and he was the perfect opposite of Katie. Their chemistry was fantastic.

I loved how emotion was used in this story. There was a perfect balance between humor and drama, which worked seamlessly to bring this story to life.

This is a fantastic debut; the writing is witty and clever, and the story is beautifully unique. This story sucks you in, and the more you read, the harder to put down this book becomes.

I enjoyed the storyline of this novel; the build-up and ending were so well done. This was such a fantastic read. I look forward to the next story Lina creates.

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