Magician’s Lie by Greer Macallister (3.5 out of 5)

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I got this advance from Valerie at Sourcebooks (Thank you, Valerie). Don’t rush off to pick up this one just yet, folks; it’s not out until January 13, 2015. I’m not going to lie, I had a real hard time with this book at first. I got into it but then set it down. It did not captivate me in the least. I had read reviews that likened it to The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. That may have been the problem. I read that book, based on glowing reviews from both booksellers and customers, and really didn’t care for it that much at all. Had I had this blog at the time I read that book, it likely would have only garnered a two star review. I emailed Valerie and told her my moral quandary, and she suggested I go back to it and try again. So I stopped it, read about 4 other books, and came back. The second time around I took to it much quicker. It still didn’t set off meteorites in my night sky, but I liked it a whole hell of a lot more than I did when I started reading it the first time. Thanks, Valerie, for encouraging me to keep with it. It was a very good read.

You are, however, going to meet the creepiest evildoer this side of Snidely Whiplash. Throw in a touch of menace that borders on sociopathic, and you have Ray. Back to that later in the review. The Amazing Arden is the most famous illusionist of her time. Her sawing a man in half trick has made her famous to her neck of the woods and beyond. When the show hits Waterloo, Iowa, policeman Virgil Holt witnesses her switch out her usual saw for a fire ax. No one’s quite sure why, and one normally wouldn’t ask an entertainer their tricks of the trade, except that in this instance, Arden’s husband is later found dead. Virgil nabs Arden, takes her into custody, and leaves her in cuffs, but the story doesn’t end there. Arden is not a shrinking violet and doesn’t take this lightly, although in handcuffs and basically in a heap of trouble. She begins to tell Virgil her story. The story of abuse, escape attempts, and her attempts to stay ahead of the loonburger captivate you. Ray is a real dirtbag; there are no hidden sympathetic plights which endear him to the reader, and truthfully, I think that vision of him throughout the book made it much easier for me to get into it on the second read. What’s more impressive about the story is that the entirety of the tale is laid out in one long night. Is Virgil going to buy Arden’s story? Will she be freed? What happened? What you have here, dear reader, is a story that completely rips the veil off of abusive relationships and what we show to the world and what we choose to remain secret. Virgil seems to me to be a bit enamored with Arden and you wonder if that colors his perceptions somewhat, but he’s still enough of a policeman to hope that this is the case that makes his career. A multi-faceted tale that draws you into its web, it’s truly a story of overcoming the evil of one man’s shadow and trying to survive. Of course, with possible murder charges hanging over your head, a lot more difficult, but a compelling story regardless.

Magic and secrecy and murder makes for a pretty good read. I had a hard time just bonding with Arden’s character; much of the book I felt like she had a separate agenda somewhere. Virgil tried to tow the line and do the right thing by the law, but I suspect his duties may have been compromised by his thoughts of the alluring and secretive Arden. Ray is likely the creepiest scumbag I have encountered in a book in a long, long time. Part of my hoping that he got his just desserts kept me reading on, as well as finding out what his deal was in the first place. You eventually get that whole story, and when you do, holy crap. That’s when I truly fell for the book; when the story started coming out and the pieces started to come together. Overall, if you have a hard time reading this, set it down, and go back to it when things are less crazy. Believe me, it’s a story worth reading.

*Magician’s Lie is available from Sourcebooks on January 13, 2015.*

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~ by generationgbooks on October 6, 2014.

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