Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Illusionist's Apprentice

Welcome!  I wanted to share some new cozy mysteries that are available for pre-order on Amazon.  A Fatal Collection by Mary Ellen Hughes, A Christmas Peril by J.A. Hennrikus, Death on Tap by Ellie Alexander, Asking for Truffle by Dorothy St. James, The Plot is Murder by V.M. Burns, Death in the Stacks by Jenn McKinlay, Not a Creature was Purring by Krista Davis, Twelve Slays of Christmas by Jacqueline Frost. Some of these books do not have the Kindle version listed at this time. You can add the books to your wish list (which is what I did) as a reminder.  

The Illusionist’s Apprentice is the latest novel by Kristy Cambron.  It is December 31, 1926 in Boston, Massachusetts.  Agent Elliot Matthews and his partner, Agent Connor Finnegan are standing in Mount Auburn Cemetery waiting for Horace Stapleton to start his show.  He is having a Defy Death in Public Ceremony.  Stapleton is going to resurrect Victor Peale from the grave.  Agents Matthews and Finnegan are there to observe.  Matthews notices a woman wearing a bright red cape standing in the background.  Matthews is intrigued by her appearance.  The lady is clad in gentleman’s clothing.  Matthews finds out that she is illusionist, Wren Lockhart.  Wren worked with Harry Houdini before he passed away.  Before Matthews can approach Wren, Stapleton’s show begins.  The coffin is opened and a doctor confirms that the man inside is indeed deceased.  Amberley Dover, a rich widow, joins in on the show.  Victor Peale then rises from his coffin walks across the stage and collapses.  Victor Peale is dead and Stapleton is under arrest.  Stapleton refuses to talk and Matthews needs an illusionist help to unravel this case.  Agent Matthews approaches Wren and asks for her assistance.  Wren is reluctant to agree.  She does not want anyone invading her privacy and discovering her secrets.  Matthews, though, is determined and finally gets Wren to consent to assist the FBI.  It is soon apparent that someone is out to eliminate Wren, and Matthews has his hands full keeping her safe.  Why is this person out for Wren?  For magic, mayhem and murder, read The Illusionist’s Apprentice.

The Illusionist’s Apprentice sounded like such an intriguing book with illusions, magic, vaudeville, and a mystery.  I found the pace to be catatonic.  I had a difficult time reading this tome.  Wren is a difficult character to like.  She is extremely determined to keep her private life a secret (her reasoning is lacking).  Wren is stubborn, determined, distant, and frustrating.  The conversations between the Agent Matthews and Wren just kept going around in circles.  They are exasperating to read (I was irritated).  The author did a good job at capturing the time and place.  I enjoyed the details provided on the illusions (what there was).  I wanted more magic and illusions (escaping from handcuffs is an easy illusion to figure out).  I was hoping Wren would be a more outgoing, gregarious character.  Her costumes are outlandish, but they are just a disguise to keep people from looking deeper (like Agent Matthews).  I give The Illusionist’s Apprentice 3 out of 5 stars (okay, but not for me).  The mystery that the author created was very convoluted, but with an obvious solution (you have to piece together the clues and the solution will pop out at you).  I think that most readers, though, will not guess the culprit’s identity.  The “investigation” was lacking.  Agent Matthews said he needed Wren’s help with the case, but I saw little examination of evidence.  The story starts in the present and then it goes back in time.  Every other chapter takes the reader back in time to another piece of Wren’s history.  The reader is given another tidbit on Wren’s background.  While the information is helpful on Wren, it makes it difficult to get into the story (at least for me).  The romance between the characters (Wren and Matthews as well as Connor Finnegan and Amberley Dover) was very much in the foreground and the ending was inevitable.

I hope all of you have a pleasing Thursday.  I am currently reading Elementary, She Read by Vicki Delany.  I will be back tomorrow to read Two Good Dogs by Susan Wilson.   Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

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