Monday, April 03, 2017

The Magician's Lie - Greer Macallister

Sent to me by the Publisher in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: 03/04/17

Publisher: Legend Press

ISBN:  978-1787199972

Format: E-Book, 288pp

Genre: Mystery/Crime

Rating: 4/5

Summed up in a word:

Thank you for visiting Always Trust In Books for the first stop on Legend Press' The Magician's Lie blog tour. I am honoured to be the first in a long line of (awesome) book bloggers to support this brilliant book. I have a review to share with you today. I hope you go and check out The Magician's Lie as soon as you can.

First Impressions: Legend Press are consistently bringing us great fiction titles and The Magician's Lie is no exception. Thank you to Lucy for sending me a e-copy for review. 2017 continues to be a great year for books, TML has a perfect balance of mystery, potent backstory, deceit and graphic imagery. The Amazing Arden didn't obtain her position as the leading female illusionist of the early 20th century without breaking rules and herself in the process. The Magician's Lie has romance, mystery and adventure... but it also has violence, terror and a heavy dose of paralysing fear too... so be warned. 

Book Synopsis: 
Published in hardback on 3rd April 2017 and paperback on 2nd October 2017

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. But one night she swaps her trademark saw for an axe.

When Arden's husband is found dead later that night, the answer seems clear, most of all to young policeman Virgil Holt.

Captured and taken into custody, all seems set for Arden’s swift confession. But she has a different story to tell. Even handcuffed and alone, Arden is far from powerless, and what she reveals is as unbelievable as it is spellbinding. (Official Legend Press Synopsis)

My Review

There is so much praise for Greer Macallister's debut novel The Magician's Lie, so I was excited to get stuck in. Thank you to Legend Press for giving me the opening spot on this very exciting blog tour for the book. There are so many elements that gripped me in this book, the beauty; the rise of a strong woman in an industry dominated by men and of course, the illusions. Set at the dawn of the 20th century when illusionists were taking the world by storm. The Magician's Lie is has so many elements involved including mystery, horror, romance, thrills and suspense with a whole lot of magic and violence in between.

I have to say I found this book repulsive at times... Not because of the writing but by the main antagonist, Ray. I am sure that the people who have read this will agree, he is a right piece of work. More on that a bit later. I really enjoyed The Magician's Lie, I thought it really stood out in the cluster of books I have read recently and it deserves all the glorious praise it is currently receiving. Greer Macallister has created a wonderful, powerful and haunting narrative. 

The plot is split into two distinct arcs. The first arc follows a present day interrogation of The Amazing Arden (real name Ada Bates) after the corpse of her husband is found at most recent show. The second arc follows Ada's rise to fame via backstory/history that she shares with the policeman, Virgil Holt. The backstory is a significant chunk of the overall book, taking the reader back to the beginning of Ada's remarkable story. From there we follow Ada through all the stages of her life that lead her to becoming a star, from her difficult relationship with her mother and escaping Ray's clutches to her time on the road and training to become a pro.

I thought the fact that Ada was in complete control of the narrative and the facts she shared with Holt was brilliant. He is quickly dragged into the intoxicating, wondrous and magical tale that Ada has been living all these years. Holt thinks he is in control but spends a lot of time swilling her story around in his heading trying to work out if it is true or just a pack of lies.

Ada was a superb lead character and she effortlessly carried the plot to its satisfying and anticipation soaked ending. Her story is one of rejection, pain, escapism and eventually passion for/addiction to the adulation that comes with being a high profile show-woman. Ada is a dancer, elegant, graceful and dedicated. Her transformation into The Amazing Arden is a remarkable story. The Amazing Arden is the centre piece of this book, but there are some seriously good/evil secondary characters.

Holt is a policeman on the edge. About to be expelled from the force due to an injury he sustained preventing a bank robbery, he needs this high profile arrest. He needs a confession to win back his reputation, but is Ada spinning a web of lies, or is she genuine??? Is her magic real? Can she repair his injury and save his life? He needs to know. 

Clyde Garber is everything that Ada wants from a man. He cares for Ada and wants to be her partner in work and in life. Or is he just manipulating her for his own gain? I thought that, though an integral part of the plot, Clyde was somewhat boring... compared to Ada that is. I thought he became more interesting in the second act of the book and was important to keep Ada sane in the intense world she has found herself in.

Ada meets Ray at a young age and he changes her life forever. Ray is everything that is wrong with humanity. He was an unbelievably good villain and his scenes with Ada were both fascinating and horrendous. He wants to break Ada, destroy her spirit and her body. Ray likes hurting people and Ada becomes his sole focus. He is the reason that Ada spends most of her life running and finally becoming someone else who has more control, fortitude and power. 

I recommend this to all readers as it is a fascinating reading experience. The writing is magical, shrouding the plot in mystery. Greer Macallister spends a lot of time developing Ada's character, crafting an exceptionally complex character that no one can truly comprehend. GM does not shy away from the disturbing imagery and borderline horror style violence so be wary that some of the plot can become uncomfortable. The pacing of the book is good, jumping between to the two narratives with ease. I feel like I have said way too much about the deeper details of the book so I will try and wrap this up. 

Overall, The Magician's Lie is worth your time and money. Ada's story is a memorable one and while trying to escape her torturer, she manages to craft a career that brings the impossible to the masses. The narrative is a combination of mystery, suspense, violence and escapism. Everyone wants to believe in the impossible and The Amazing Arden sets out to make it a possibility. Check out The Magician's Lie and tell me what you thought.

Pick up a copy of The Magician's Lie here: Legend Press/Amazon UK/Goodreads 

About the Author: Raised in the Midwest, Greer Macallister is a poet, short story writer, playwright and novelist who earned her MFA in Creative Writing from American University. Her debut novel THE MAGICIAN'S LIE was a USA Today bestseller, an Indie Next pick, and a Target Book Club selection. It has been optioned for film by Jessica Chastain's Freckle Films. Her new novel GIRL IN DISGUISE, about America's first female private detective, is forthcoming from Sourcebooks in March 2017. (Official Bio + Picture from author's website, see more at

See below more so many more epic blogs to check out this week that are supporting The Magician's Lie on this weeks blog tour.

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