THE MAGICIAN’S LIE by Greer Macallister

Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Released: January 13, 2015
Source: Review copy from NetGalley
Rating: ★★

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 had the potential to be amazing (just like the main character’s stage name), but, for me at least, it fell short. I thought it would be a historical mystery, with a plot filled with clues to help expose who killed Arden’s husband, but it wasn’t. Instead, it was a book of backstories as Arden tells Officer Holt how she became a famous illusionist. Some of her tale was interesting, like when she described the tricks of the magic trade. Overall though, the plot and characters couldn’t hold my attention, and in the end I had no idea what lie the title was referring to. Just didn’t work for me.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.