Originally posted by Tim McD:
While I agree it is worth the read and a real page turner in parts it is yet an uneven work. Certain character motivations seemed implausible even in the context of a mystery inside a mystery.
I agree with Tim. I am about halfway through the book, and although I am completely gripped by the story, I find it at times uneven. Without tipping too much of the plot, I found the demise of one of the characters in the first half to be somewhat perfunctory (for example).
Still I applaud Mr. Gold for a first work and look forward to his next. He describes lots of "period" historic trivia/tales/characters that, perhaps due to the central magic figure reminded me of a San Francisco/west coast version of Doctorow's "Ragtime". And it was great to have a magical hero and backdrop! I gather from the credits that the cover poster repro and the several other printed internally come from Norm Nielsen
It's interesting to see the reference to "Ragtime," Tim. I had exactly the same impression. I am moved to try to learn more about the death of President Harding, among other things. And not having read Caveney's bio of Carter, I wonder: did Houdini in fact play a central role in kicking off Carter's career?
As I've said in another thread on this board, a magic-related book I highly recommend is "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay," by Michael Chabon (author of "Wonderboys.") Although written by a non-magician about completely fictional characters, the sense of "inside-ness" into the magical world seemed even a bit more authentic than in the Carter book. K&C is not primarily ABOUT magic, but magic and escapism play a central role.
[ September 21, 2001: Message edited by: Dave Shepherd ]