I received a free copy of Illusions of Magic for my honest review.
About the Book:
Publication Date: April 17, 2016
eBook; 233 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction/Mystery
The withering of vaudeville was bad enough in 1933. Because of the Great Depression, bookings for stage magician Nick Zetner disappeared. With his marriage cracking under the strain, Nick reluctantly accepts a devious banker’s deal: He earns a generous reward if he retrieves photos stolen during a break-in at the bank. Along the way, a love he thought he’d forever lost reappears. Despite his skill in the arts of magic, penetrating the realm of the thieves grows increasingly perilous, especially when it endangers his newfound romance.
Illusions of Magic seamlessly merges this tale with the true-life assassination attempt on President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt resulting in Chicago’s mayor, Anton Cermak, being shot. His lingering death and a lack of legal means for his replacement causes great civic and social upheaval in the city.
In modern style, this novel propels the reader through emotional highs and subterranean lows with knife-edged dialogue, easy humor, page-turning action and authentic history.
About the Author:
Almost everyone is familiar with the illustrations in “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”. However, the number of illustrated novels published–for adult readers–declined steadily from the beginning to the middle of the 20th century, although not for lack of popularity. “Illusions of Magic” dares a return to the edgy, swirling arts of the illustrated story, with pen and ink illustrations by the novel’s author, Joseph B. “J. B.” Rivard, supplementing this exciting story.
As a young child, Rivard began drawing by copying newspaper comics. In his teens, he drew illustrations for his high school’s award-winning yearbook. He attended the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts and his artworks have appeared in more than fifty juried exhibitions, earning many prizes and awards. He’s an artist-member of the Salmagundi Club of New York City.
Rivard’s writing draws on wide experience–he served in the U.S. Navy, graduated from the University of Florida, worked as a newspaper reporter, a magazine writer, and on the engineering staff of a U.S. National Laboratory where he wrote and co-authored many technical papers listed on Google Scholar. His broad background supports a wide array of significant publications, from short stories to song lyrics, from essays to novels. He calls Spokane, Washington home.
For more information, please visit the Illusions of Magic website.
Illusions of Magic is written in old fashioned, gumshoe style which is appropriate given the time it takes place and the plot. This does take a little getting used to for the reader. The main story is about a man who is trying to make a go of it as a magician but the Great Depression is really starting to take hold and there isn’t much free money around for entertainment. His marriage is falling apart and his landlady is getting a little aggravated with him.
Just as things seem to be at their worst our intrepid magician is offered a job. It’s not exactly an on the level type of employment but given the times and the state of his finances he really doesn’t hesitate too much in accepting the position. He gets it thanks to his brother in law who is somewhat connected to city hall which leads to the secondary plot line which just really never made any sense to me at all. It involves the real life attempted assassination of Franklin Roosevelt. The shooter ended up wounding and ultimately killing the mayor of Chicago. Other than providing a bit of distraction from the main story I really didn’t understand why it was part of the book. Maybe I missed something?
The book was different, it was out of my usual reading box. It does have a bit of romance, a touch of intrigue yet surprisingly very little magic.