Monday, February 09, 2015

Review: The Magician's Lie by Greer MacAllister

Title: The Magician's Lie    
Author: Greer MacAllister    
Published: January 2015, Sourcebooks Landmark  
Format: ARC Paperback, 320 pages   
Source: Publisher   

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.

My thoughts: This is Greer MacAllister's debut novel and it was a great read. I was fortunate to have picked up this gem last year at BEA and was thrilled when the gals at She Reads picked it as one of their 'Books of Winter' selections.

I loved the character of Arden - she is definitely a woman to be reckoned with, but more importantly, I liked her as a character because I couldn't tell if she was reliable. The whole time she is telling the policeman, Virgil Holt, her story, I didn't know whether to trust what she was saying or not. Don't get me wrong, I was still spellbound by the story, still entranced by her life and all that she went through, I just didn't know if she was trying to manipulate the situation to her benefit.

I also really loved how the story was told. The actual story takes place over the course of one night, with flash backs taking us back into Arden's past. All Holt wants to know is if she committed the murder. The reader wants to know who was killed and who did it. All Arden wants to do it tell her story, which involves going back and filling in the details that lead up to that event. Holt wants to get to the point, but Arden needs to build up to that moment.

The suspense and twists and turns that lie within this book keep you glued to the pages to see how everything will play out in the end. There is also a love story involved and what I found interesting in this is that it is far from perfect. It's a troubled love story and that's not something that is common in books today. This added a nice dimension to an already good story. 

Greer MacAllister is definitely an author that is going on my to-watch list. I enjoyed her writing and will be curious to see what comes next for her.

The Magician's Lie by Greer MacAllister is one of the She Reads "Books of Winter" reading selection picks. 
Head over to the She Reads website to read reviews and related posts of this book, as well as posts related to the other "Books of Winter" selections.



  1. Glad to hear you liked this one. I have an ARC and I think the story sounds fascinating. Normally I don't like unreliable narrators but I want to give this one a try. Nice review!

  2. This sounds interesting! I've seen it around and have taken notice because the cover is gorgeous but haven't been sure about it. Love the premise and all the twists and turns sound interesting. I'll definitely have to pick this one up!

  3. Fantastic review!! Arden is definitely a great story teller and it was hard to decipher what was true. Glad you enjoyed it!

  4. I think you make a lot of good points about this one! I also like that the love story wasn't perfect. I think it was a lot more interesting that way and it made the way it ended all the more satisfying. I also liked that Arden was an unreliable narrator and kept us guessing :)


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