Charming Lily

The Nosy Neighbor

Sara's Song

What You Wish For

Hokus Pokus
by Fern Michaels
(Kensington, $6.99, PG) ISBN 978-14201-01850
Not having read any of the previous books about the “sisterhood” put me at a real disadvantage that lasted through the entire book.  Because I didn’t know what made these women tick, I really never got into Hokus Pokus.  I wasn’t able to feel the jubilation that was obvious or the wariness when plans started to unravel.  There is little to no real romance, except that which is understood from previous stories.  With that being said, it is my guess that fans of the series will find parts of this story fun, energetic, nerve-wracking and entertaining. 

The sisterhood is comprised of six women and one man who are living in exile in a secret mountaintop villa to elude capture.  They also have a somewhat small complement of assistants, a so called “second unit” in the States that is comprised of a retired judge, a district attorney, a cop, and a reporter.  To the world they are known as vigilantes because they find ways to give justice even when the courts don’t.  Hokus Pokus revolves around a Justice of the Supreme Court, who is friends with the Judge.  Justice Pearl Barnes comes to Nellie Easter and asks her help.  It seems her ex-son-in-law is blackmailing her.  He wants her to vote a certain way on an important case or he will tell the world her secret.  It seems for years she has been running an underground group who help battered women and children escape their spouses/abusers.  And one of the problems now is that there are women and children in the system at risk because of this threat of exposure.

So the sisterhood is called to arms.  Their plan is to come to the U.S. (in secret of course) so that they can perform their mission.  And to do it, they get to change places with a group of Germans, who are hiding out in the North Carolina mountains in a similar fortress.  These places are described to be impenetrable, similar to NORAD.  But first they have to get to the U.S. and save Justice Barnes.

The romance comes in because two of the women, Nikki and Yoko, are dating two of the men Stateside.  Jack Emery is the DA and Harry Wong is the cop/martial arts expert.  The romance involves some smiles, excitement pre-meeting, a few kisses and nothing else.  There is no real interaction and this was not the purpose of the story; it wasn’t really more than an afterthought.

The PG rating is because of one scene where the “ladies” force two men to strip and then do and threaten some things that are less than lady-like. 

The fun part of the plot is how they get into the US.  They call in their big gun helpers, including none other than Queen Elizabeth, to make arrangements for them to trade places with some superstar rock band called the G-String Girls. Yes, they wear what is apparently pretty risqué outfits.  The Hokus Pokus comes in when the African American girl of the sisterhood uses her make-up artist’s magic to transform them into these buxom, svelte girls.  Yes, even the elderly Myra and Annie, who are reportedly in their sixties and sagging.

I wish I could say that once I got my bearings, I was engaged and enjoyed the tale.  But I can’t.  I could never really distinguish the different characters nor could I feel myself caring about them.  The threat, an old boyfriend of the reporter, was unlikable but as the villain he wasn’t very worrisome.  The real villains were taken care of quickly.  I struggled to read this to the end, even interrupting to read two other novels in my to-be-read pile.  I basically forced myself to finish it.  Beyond the characters, I found the plotline unrealistic and highly improbable. 

Hokus Pokus will be a good seller for this author, as she is well known and apparently this series is popular.  Those who follow it may enjoy it.  But for me, the magic just wasn’t there. 

--Shirley Lyons 

@ Please tell us what you think! back Back Home