The Magician's Lie
by Greer Maccallister
Sourcebooks Landmark, 2015. 312 pages. Fiction.
Before an audience's eyes, a man is magically hewn in half and then restored to life. Hours later, the magician's husband is found beaten and murdered. When Officer Virgil Holt miraculously finds Arden, the famous illusionist herself, running from the scene of the crime he takes her into his small country jail to find out the truth. In an attempt to save her life, Arden tells the story of her rise to fame. But is Arden telling the truth, or covering up her crime?
This is a fascinating historical conundrum that reads a lot like The Night Circus and Water for Elephants, detailing the magic industry at the turn of the century. Arden weaves an interesting narrative, judiciously interrupted by Officer Holt in the present, his thoughts reflecting the readers' questions about whether they can believe Arden or not. Although there were times when the narrative style strained at credulity at times (it seemed improbable that Arden would share some of the details she did), Maccallister's tale is both fast-paced and intricate, leaving readers to wonder what is truth and what is illusion until the very end.