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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.
I received an ARC of The Magician’s Lie by Greer MacAllister through NetGalley and finished it in two days. I fell in love with Arden the Magician immediately and was hooked by her story. She’s written as an unreliable narrator which I love because it keeps you on your toes. The longer Arden told her story the less certain I was of her credibility. I found myself doubting everything she said and wasn’t sure if I should feel sympathy for her or if she was really playing us. The book is called the magician’s lie after all. She’s a crafty one and my suspicious-meter was high.
I’ve never read Harry Potter, Twilight, or a host of other popular books because I typically avoid reading anything about magic, the supernatural, or the paranormal. The Magician’s Lie isn’t about magic as much as it is the Magician, Arden. It’s her story. The magic show is nothing more than the setting which spurs her on.
So what is it all about? It all begins when Arden, famous for sawing a man in half trades her saw for an ax during a show one night. Later that same night her husband is found dead, killed by an ax and Arden is the obvious suspect. The whole story then becomes about whether or not this famed illusionist killed her husband. Did she do it or was it all…an illusion?
Of course, as you’d expect she professes her innocence but you’re never sure if she is telling the truth or if it’s all just one big lie? Her career is all smoke and mirrors. Her entire life is built on lies and deceit so if her life is on the line (and it is) why should we expect that she’s being honest now? Besides, if she was innocent why was she trying to run away? I know running isn’t necessarily proof of guilt but it sure makes you look more suspicious doesn’t it? Then again, if the story she is telling is true you can totally understand why she wouldn’t trust the system to not set her up.
I won’t spoil it but I will say in that, in the end, it comes together perfectly and I was extremely satisfied. After I read the final chapter I wanted to shout from the rooftops how much I loved the book and how everyone needed to just rush out and buy it. Please do yourself a favor and buy it. It’s a fantastic book and a story I find myself returning to over and over and over again.