Water for Elephants meets The Night Circus in The Magician’s Lie, a debut novel in which the country’s most notorious female illusionist stands accused of her husband’s murder —and she has only one night to convince a small-town policeman of her innocence.
The Amazing Arden is the most famous female illusionist of her day, renowned for her notorious trick of sawing a man in half on stage. One night in Waterloo, Iowa, with young policeman Virgil Holt watching from the audience, she swaps her trademark saw for a fire ax. Is it a new version of the illusion, or an all-too-real murder? When Arden’s husband is found lifeless beneath the stage later that night, the answer seems clear.
But when Virgil happens upon the fleeing magician and takes her into custody, she has a very different story to tell. Even handcuffed and alone, Arden is far from powerless-and what she reveals is as unbelievable as it is spellbinding. Over the course of one eerie night, Virgil must decide whether to turn Arden in or set her free… and it will take all he has to see through the smoke and mirrors.
One of the greatest honors I’ve had as a book blogger is being a part of such an amazing community with She Reads! This Winter, four great books have been selected, with The Magician’s Lie as one of them.
From the moment I read the page, I wanted to know more about Arden. She is one of the few successful magicians in the country, who also happens to be a female! As Arden is holed up in a small county jail, she tells her story to Virgil, (a police officer), who has to determine what to do: turn her in for murder or release her.
Both Virgil and Arden have some similarities: they are broken (physically and emotionally), they have to choose their fate, and both have to come to terms with their future. Over the course of one night, Arden shares her life story and what happened on the fateful night that her husband is murdered. Did she do it? Was it an illusion gone wrong? Was someone else seeking justice?
Aside from trying to figure what happened, I was most interested in Arden’s early childhood. She is always second choice, from the time her father leaves her and her mother, to when her mother chooses her cousin’s side for the sake of their financial future, Arden (Ada) realizes that she is truly the only one in charge of her future.
I loved reading about the early beginnings of what it entails to be a magician, a female magician on the road dealing with the dangers and hostility that can easily come her way. While Arden strives to make a name for herself, her past is never far away…sometimes literally.
Greer MacAllister is an amazing storyteller, and like Arden, it was hard to separate fact from fiction. Greer based some of the book on actual facts, actual magicians, and brings an incredible story that is unique, will be loved, and will keep people guessing.
The ending seemed to move a little too fast. I wanted to see what happens after the interview with Virgil, however it ends brilliantly and in true magician form-it keeps you guessing long after the last page!
This is definitely a book that will be on many great lists of 2015, be a favorite amongst readers, and hopefully will show that in the end- you are in charge of your destiny and that what doesn’t kill you, truly does make you stronger. Choice…this story is all about it. So, now you have the choice: will you read it or won’t you? If you do, you will be just as mesmerized as I was and appreciate the level of work and art that magic encompasses. It’s a fantastic read and I enjoyed it very much!
*This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest opinion. No forms of compensation were given. All
Raised in the Midwest, Greer Macallister is a poet, short story writer, playwright and novelist whose work has appeared in publications such as The North American Review, The Missouri Review, and The Messenger. Her plays have been performed at American University, where she earned her MFA in Creative Writing. She lives with her family on the East Coast.
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