|The Magician's Lie
"Tonight, I will do the impossible."
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.
The Magician's Lie has a little bit of mystery, a little bit of historical fiction and lots of character plot. I liked this book, it held my interest but didn't completely overwhelm me enough to consider it four stars. The story goes back and forth in time, present day consisting of officer interrogating the alleged killer (the magician), past consisting of the magician telling her "story" in order to clear her name. The plot is slightly more complex since the officer is doing this in order to gain back his reputation after an accident in the field caused turmoil, as well as the magician having some kind of "magical" healing powers. This is all told to you in the first chapter or so (not considered a spoiler in my book). The greater mystery lies with, who killed the magician's husband? She claims it wasn't her, but she also fled the scene with a suitcase only to be caught by the officer. The officer wants her to be guilty and get her confession in order to redeem himself.
I was definitely more interested in the past (story-telling) aspect of this book over the present interrogation, thankfully those parts are smaller in scale to the other part. I found the story surrounding the officer and the incident in the field to be blasé and without flare. I honestly can't remember that side story and I enjoyed the story without putting much focus on it. I think the Author could have taken it out completely and the book wouldn't have suffered at all. Who cares about him when the main characters story is so fascinating!? Talk about living a life on the road, creating new illusions for shows, having a crazy special ability to heal oneself, and on and on... Yes, her story is fireworks compared to his.
I'd love to see what others thought of this book, the timing for me was a little off since I was reading this around the same time as reading "The Barefoot Queen", which I adored. I know I shouldn't compare the two (different time periods and histories BUT they both deal with strong female characters undergoing hardship). I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves a good historical fiction crime novel, it definitely hits all those notes.
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