Title: The Magician
Author: D.A. Pupa
Genres: Crime, Mystery, Thriller
Length: 326 pages / 4561 locations
Detective Frank Sorello is obsessed with finding the man who murdered his wife.
With a novel coming out which depicts the murder in detail, he is sure he has finally found him.
The hunt begins. But is the prey more cunning than the hunter?
Well, it’s never easy to write less than stellar reviews when an author is kind enough to gift you his or her work, but I have to admit I had quite a few issues with this story.
First of all, I had a big problem with the punctuation. Misplaced commas always make me twitch.
He loved the darkness, quietly he entered the bedroom.
There was just something about the prose that felt forced and sometimes even pompous.
I got that feeling from the first line: The orange hue of the early morning sun was casting its rays upon the seashore community of Spring Lake, New Jersey. I thought the sun cast rays, not a hue, I don’t know. Probably not the best example but it was something that I was not crazy about.
This feeling transposed to the dialogues. I kept thinking that people don’t really talk like that, with all the politeness and treating each other by name every other line. Something that should have felt casual came across as much too formal or even fake.
Also, the characters felt less than believable because they all seemed so perfect. Frank was a gentleman and a perfect FBI agent with a tingling extra sense that popped up when real criminals were around, Rob was the perfect director who could see the big picture, Beth was a very attractive, perfect/extremely capable agent, Sarah was a perfect woman who broke through Frank’s shell…
Then there were all the clichés. One of the most noticeable ones was a sensei getting Frank out of his downward spiral with a few words – ones that anyone could have said to him, mind you, but for some reason the sensei saying them made more sense because he was wise. That is one of the examples of things that felt that were thrown out there just for the sake of it, without proper development. I also got that feeling throughout the narrative.
There were other lines that just felt cheesy to me, like Dear God, for everyone’s sake I pray he’s wrong or Sarah had become so in tune with her man (…)
With all that, I guess I may have become over-sensitive or I just focused hard on the story and became more aware of what was my main issue with it: the repetitiveness. The author kept coming back to things I felt should only be said once. At one point I felt I kept reading the same thing over and over, which made it less than special.
There are good things to this book, of course. I loved that the chapters relating present day were interspersed with how our villain came to be. My favourite part was definitely the description of guy’s story and his struggle (or lack thereof), but even that was thwarted by all the repetitions. James was a genius, James perfectly masked his thoughts, James always planned ahead, everything James did served a purpose, James really knew true love when he was with his group, up until then only James first foster parents brought out the good in him, etc, etc.
I am sorry I could not give this story a higher rating but it just wasn’t my cup of tea. Even the ending was anti-climatic. I thought there should have been a link that explained the dentist’s appointment, for instance. Did James switch his dental records with someone who looked like him? That would have been cool to find out. Especially if it turned out to be any number of characters that were described to be blonde, blue eyed and tall throughout the book. Because in the end everything James did had a purpose but a lot was left unexplained and I found that a shame.
I honestly believe other folks will appreciate this novel and dive right into the story. Sadly, I was unable to enjoy it much.
Disclaimer: I would like to thank the author for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Read from March 22 to 31, 2016