The Vanished Man

Discussions of new films, books, television shows, and media indirectly related to magic and magicians. For example, there may be a book on mnemonics or theatrical technique we should know or at least know about.

Postby Sam Kesler » 03/14/03 04:18 PM

"The Vanished Man" (Simon & Schuster) is the latest thriller by Jeffrey Deaver featuring Lincoln Rhyme & Amelia Sachs. When a student is found dead, the clues lead them on a hunt for a magician -- an escape artist, no less, who also happens to have the talents of sleight of hand and illusion on his side. Rhyme soon realizes he's up against a master illusionist, and acquires a conjuror of his own, a spunky apprentice magician to advise him. The book is supposed to be "rich in magic lore and lingo" (Publishers weekly).

I haven't read the book yet, but I noticed a passage on page 31 where the magician performs: "...Maldo's(?) 6-card mystery, a false dovetail shuffle, Stanley Palm's Ghost card, and a 3-pile false cut. The aknowledgements section in the back of the book include Ross Bertram, Tarbell, Slydini, among others. Here's hoping Denzel Washington will reprise his role as Lincoln Rhyme in the movie version.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 03/24/03 11:17 AM

Has anyone read this book yet? Any reports?
"Maldo" was a well-known Californian magician and is mentioned often in the early years of Genii.
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Postby Bill Mullins » 03/24/03 01:55 PM

I've read one of the books in Deaver's series (forget which one, but it was written before the Denzel Washington movie). It made no allusion to Rhyme's race. Is he black in the books?

If not, or if it was never specified, then congratulations to the producers of the movie for "overlooking" this detail to get such a strong actor to play the role.
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Postby Dave Egleston » 03/24/03 08:17 PM

There was no reference to Rhyme's racial makeup in the first book - Denzel Washington was a good selection - but Rhyme is a paraplegic and the final scene in the movie he actually move his whole upper body, but the badass was a Biomedical equipment repairman, that's my profession and the only time I've read a book that involves this noble profession, and of course, he's the criminal!!

I've got THE VANISHED MAN but it is about 10 or 11 books down on my fiction list for reading so I won't be reading it for a couple of weeks, maybe three.

But I'll be glad to write a book report upon completion

Dave
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Postby Sam Kesler » 03/30/03 10:43 AM

Dave, will be looking forward to your review. I'm curious what other fiction is on your list, if you feel like sharing. But perhaps I'm diverting this thread away from magic.

Just bought "The Da Vinci Code" to rave reviews ("...exhilaratingly brainy thriller" -Janet Maslin NY Times)but I haven't been able to wrestle it away from my wife. :)
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 03/30/03 01:50 PM

I met Jeffrey Deaver last week at a reading and book signing for "The Vanished Man" in Northern Virginia. The portion of the book he read was quite interesting, and he noted that his literary hero is Mickey Spillane!
The villian, the illusionist, sounds like a very nasty character.
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Postby Dave Egleston » 03/30/03 09:53 PM

Mr Kaufman -

I've always wondered about book signings - Is there a chance to talk to the author and ask them about some of their writings - I'm envious of you -

Mr Kesler

Right now, as far as popular fiction I'm reading KING OF TORTS,(Grisham)and JACK THE RIPPER: CASE CLOSED,(Cornwall)- I'm loving Jeff Shaara's RISE TO REBELLION and I always have a Sci-Fi paperback for when I've only got a few minutes between repairs - I started Patterson's FOUR BLIND MICE- but I can't find it right now

The next batch includes Deaver's novel along with JESTER (Patterson) and Shaara's GLORIOUS CAUSE.

As far as magical publications, I'm so far behind it's ridiculous, partly because I won't take them with me in public - I'm reading STANLEY COLLINS by Edwin Dawes and just started (this week) reading GREATER MAGIC - (yes, I'm one of those guys that's had this book for ten years and have only used it for references) - I have about 12!!! :o books I haven't even unwrapped

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Postby Dave Egleston » 04/20/03 10:33 AM

Oh man! I just wrote about two pages on this book and inadvertantly deleted it.

O.K., again:

I finished this book on Wednesday (Apr 16th) and like all of Jeffery Deaver"s books: an easy read well written and interesting enough to keep the reader interested for all 399 pages.

I started this book with the apprehensive attitude that the field of magic would somehow be be dismissed, disrespected, or diminished as an artform - but Deaver did do a nice job of presenting the profession as it should be - the central consultant is a young woman who has been apprenticing with an old illusionist for a couple of years and neither character thinks thinks she's ready to perform on her own.

The bad guy is a revenge seeking illusionist who is an expert in all aspects of magic.
Sleight of hand
Illusionist
Ventriloquism
Animal trainer
Escapology
Protean Magic
Mentalism
Lock picking
Pickpocket
Classically trained thespian
and
Magical Historian
(Hey I think I've met this guy! At every magic convention I've attended)

Of course the main character is a paraplegic so the magic he used is a combination of verbal misdirection and mentalism - learned from the consultant he is using to help solve the case

Mr Deaver cited several books he used to help write an accurate portrayal of magic and magicians, they include:

THE CREATIVE MAGICIAN'S HANDBOOK Marvin Kaye
THE ILLUSTRATED HISTORY OF MAGIC Milbourne and Maurine Christopher
THE MAGIC AND METHODS OF ROSS BERTRAM Ross Bertram
MAGICIANS AND ILLUSIONISTS Adam Woog
THE ANNOTATED MAGIC OF SLYDINI Slydini and Gene Matsuura
THE TARBELL COURSE IN MAGIC - Harlan Tarbell
HOUDINI ON MAGIC Walter B.Gibson and Morris N. Young, eds.
MAGIC IN THEORY Peter Lamont and Richard Wiseman

I personally enjoyed this book - It contains all the stuff I love to read about;murder, forensics, detection, magic and a mystery that wasn't solvable for the reader until the last 100 pages or so. There's also the underriding story of man's indomitable spirit over overwhelming odds.

As far as the magical aspects of this book - It was presented with an authoratative voice and respectful of the art. Though some of the illusions described and credited to the bad guy and the consultant was fantastical (42 quick changes in a 30 minute show) it was believable and I'm sure there are magicians on this forum that could come up with solutions to what was described.

There was a minimum amount of exposure and actually quite a lot written about the psychology of magic, better and more informative than some of the "must read" books written on the same subject by some of our peers.

All in all - a very good work of fiction if read with the right attitude and a book that can make us (magicians) feel like geniuses because we "know what they're talking about" more so than the casual fiction reader

Dave
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Postby Gary Brown » 05/14/03 11:15 PM

I just read The Vanished Man and will add a few observations. First off, I enjoyed the book -- it is a remarkable page turner replete with magic references. Several have already been mentioned in this thread -- I'll just add a few. There is a notable passage about John Mulholland's work with the CIA, a story that Michael Edwards broke in Genii last year. Another favorite of mine is an unacknowledged nod to an event from the career of Harry Blackstone, which I cannot discuss in more detail without tipping part of the mystery.

The book is fun and fast paced. Some may find that the twists and turns in the plot strain credibility -- you have to read this one with a firm suspension of disbelief. Also, there were some minor errors both in terms of magic history and terminology (for example, the author's repeated use of the phrase "close-in" magic in place of "close-up magic") that may annoy some purists. But even with these flaws, The Vanished Man is a terrific book for anyone interested in magic or a good mystery.

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Postby Gary Brown » 05/14/03 11:16 PM

I just read The Vanished Man and will add a few observations. First off, I enjoyed the book -- it is a remarkable page turner replete with magic references. Several have already been mentioned in this thread -- I'll just add a few. There is a notable passage about John Mulholland's work with the CIA, a story that Michael Edwards broke in Genii last year. Another favorite of mine is an unacknowledged nod to an event from the career of Harry Blackstone, which I cannot discuss in more detail without tipping part of the mystery.

The book is fun and fast paced. Some may find that the twists and turns in the plot strain credibility -- you have to read this one with a firm suspension of disbelief. Also, there were some minor errors both in terms of magic history and terminology (for example, the author's repeated use of the phrase "close-in" magic in place of "close-up magic") that may annoy some purists. But even with these flaws, The Vanished Man is a terrific book for anyone interested in magic or a good mystery.

Gary Brown
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