Sunday, October 23, 2011

Review: The Seance - Iain Lawrence

Synopsis: Scooter King understands illusions. In the midst of the Roaring Twenties, he performs them behind the scenes at his mother's seances, giving the impression that Madam King communicates with the dead.

Scooter also admires Harry Houdini and can hardly wait to see the famed magician escape from his razzle-dazzle Burmese Torture Tank. But when Scooter stumbles upon a dead body in the visiting Houdini's tank, it's no illusion. Who could the murderer be? And did he - or she - kill the right person?

As Scooter sets out to unmask the killer, the mysterious worlds of mediums, seances, and magic are revealed. No one is above suspicion, and appearances are deceiving. If Scooter doesn't sort out the clues - and fast - he may end up as the next dead body.

Review: One of Iain Lawrence's best books - right after The Convicts. He does a masterful job bringing the world of the early 20th century to life with the period-appropriate slang and vividly-described imagery. The Author casts new light onto the world's most famous escape artist, filling him with new life, making him seem like more than just another figure from history. What was probably the most pleasant about The Seance is it lacked the usual weirdness with which Iain Lawrence's books are so often characterized. If any of you have read any of Mr. Lawrence's books, you will understand what I am talking about; he has a habit of throwing something purely bizarre into his stories. The entire time, I was expecting The Seance to take a supernatural turn, but it never does, and everything is explained in a realistic manner, making it a splendid mystery.

My main complaint (because I always have one): the final confrontation with the villain (who, by the way, is easy to figure out, but the Author has added other elements that will keep the Reader guessing enough to remain interested) is painfully cliche. The villain gets to say his overblown peace and then unconvincingly laments that he must now kill the hero, and is even kind enough to explain the method. If ever I am captured by a villain, I hope he - or she - is nice enough to explain everything to me, so I can then spend my time figuring out how to escape.

However, The Seance is a very good book, despite this shortcoming. Scooter is remarkably likable (I usually find Iain Lawrence's heroes more than a little annoying in some aspect), and in the world of illusionists, magicians, and mediums, a murder mystery is bound to be interesting - and this particular one definitely is. Give this book a chance, even if you are not a fan of Iain Lawrence's stories - it will surprise you.

Overall Rating: 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for visiting 667B Baker Street! Please feel free to leave a comment; I love hearing from my Readers and I always try to respond, especially if you have a question!