A giddy, supercharged introduction to the unconventional Szabo clan.
Sailing with his motorcycle off a Pacific cliff, Annie Szabo’s gypsy husband left her with three kids, a fledgling career as a tabloid journalist, and a feisty, indomitable mother-in-law who loves men, red undies, and telling fortunes at her San Francisco headquarters, Madame Mina’s Mystic Cafe. Years pass. Annie and Mina clash, make up, clash again. The kids grow up. Mina marries a couple of times but doesn’t bother with divorce. Property values increase. The one constant is Annie’s friendship with Jerry Baumann, a lawyer formerly married to Capri, Mina’s trapeze-artist daughter. When someone shoots Jerry, Mina sets out to avenge her ex–son-in-law and Annie her best friend. Of course they’ll need help. Enter a passel of Mina’s ex-lovers, including gypsy shamus Zoltan Perger and her surviving son, the mysterious Josef, heir to the mantle of Hummingbird Wizard, and so sexy Annie beds him before she even knows his name. And before you can say “gypsy curse,” the Szabos dance, sing, cavort, send the late Jerry off in incendiary fashion, and zero in on con-artist extraordinaire Pinky Marks, one of Mina’s not-quite-ex-husbands, as the killer before switching to Jerry’s law partner Bill Weeks, who dallied with Capri and Annie.
If you don’t fall in love with the Szabos, you don’t have hormones. A sublime debut whose sequel can’t come fast enough.