It’s impossible! The body of a young woman, dead only a few hours, is discovered in a pose that suggests she was trying to claw her way out of her own grave. To add an even more macabre touch, the gravesite is that of a woman who has been dead for two years.
Magic and murder make a spectacular entrance in Angel Killer, an intricate thriller with techno overtones written by illusionist Andrew Mayne. Originally self-published as a best-selling eBook, the novel now appears in a newly revised version from Bourbon Street Books. This is good news for jaded mystery fans who believe every possible character type has been imagined and brought to life. Nope! Jessica Blackwood grew up in a family of magic purveyors; her father, grandfather and great-grandfather formed a dynasty of famous illusionists, and Jessica joined the family business, making a name for herself as a clever young female magician.
For Jessica, however, there was one trick too many, and fallout from a fateful experience led her to abandon magic and her famous family for a career in law enforcement. Now an FBI agent, she puts her former skills to use when she becomes an advisor to a team studying the graveside crime, which appears to be a feat of incredible, gruesome magic. She’s called upon to think outside the box—or grave, as it were—and discover how the horrendous illusion was perpetrated. The “trick” horrifies but becomes a public sensation and a perfect prelude to more spectacular and deadly events.
The trick for Jessica and the FBI team is to ensure that the public recognizes that there is an evil, and very mortal, killer behind the “magical” and deadly crimes. Jessica’s elusive and mysterious former lover, Damian, watches her from the shadows, adding a frisson of further excitement to the scene.
Angel Killer is both addictive and at times ludicrous, as when the FBI misses clues simple enough for a child in grade school. But the whole book is one big glittery magic trick, guaranteed to ensnare readers who love a great illusion, with a lot of authentic tricks of the magic trade thrown in. This story magnifies the creepy possibilities of social media and its own very great illusions. So, “Like” fans, beware! It’s all smoke and mirrors in the virtual world, sometimes with lethal consequences.