The Bookworm Sez: 'The Magician's Lie' and entertaining read

The Bookworm Sez: ‘The Magician’s Lie’ and entertaining read

Abracadabra. Now you see it.

Now you don’t because a good magician knows to hide his props behind his fingers, beneath her clothes, in his pockets. And yet we flock to see that sleight of hand, the illusions, the chance to be awe-struck, entertained, and fooled.

Now you see it. Now you don’t. And in the new novel “The Magician’s Lie” by Greer Macallister (c.2015, Sourcebooks, $23.99, 320 pages), the only thing she’s hiding is the truth.

Officer Virgil Holt figured his life was over.

Just that week, he’d learned that the bullet he carried in his body could kill him at any time. Once the sheriff found out, he’d strip Virgil of his badge; he’d lose his wife, his home, everything he’d worked for. So when a dead man was found in a theater basement, gruesomely chopped in half, Virgil almost wished he could trade places.

But then something happened that could save him: Virgil captured The Amazing Arden, illusionist, wife of the dead man. Virgil had seen her stage show. He knew she cut men in two and he had her now, triple-handcuffed to a jailhouse chair.

He wanted a confession but instead, Arden began telling Virgil a story …

Once, long ago when she was called Ada, her mother taught her to dance and she had big plans. Then a cousin ruined everything by throwing Ada off a beam onto a barn floor. Just before fleeing for her life, she learned of her own healing powers.

As a runaway, Ada took a job as a kitchen maid where she met a boy and fell in love; he took her to New York, then broke her heart. Shortly afterward, she found work with a magic show, the owner of which taught Ada everything about illusion, and about pleasing a crowd. Ada grew to crave applause.

When the man she loved came back into her life, Ada became Arden, famous for her daring stage shows. She was in love, and happy until everything changed, all because of a fire and a chance meeting that nearly killed her.

She was a victim. She didn’t kill her husband. She didn’t know who did.

At least that’s what she said …

So you might be a little gullible. You know when someone’s fibbing — more or less. But the one thing you’ll know for sure when you read this book is that you’ve got a winner in your hands.

Set around the turn of the last century, “The Magician’s Lie” proves, like any good stage show, that our brains can easily deceive us: never mind the characters, we readers don’t truly know if Arden is spinning a fable or giving an alibi. I’m still reeling from the possibilities myself, because author Greer Macallister’s conjured up the kind of novel that pulls readers in, shakes us up, and leaves us feeling sawed in two.

That, and the lingering sense of having just been happily duped, makes this one very satisfying novel and you know you want it. Go now, find “The Magician’s Lie,” and watch your time disappear.

The Bookworm is Terri Schlichenmeyer. Email her at

More in Life

This photo of Frenchy with a freshly killed black bear was taken on the Kenai Peninsula in the early 1900s. (Photo courtesy of the Viani Family Collection)
Unraveling the story of Frenchy, Part 1

The stories were full of high adventure — whaling, mining, polar bear hunting, extensive travel, and the accumulation of wealth

Seeing God’s hand in this grand and glorious creation

The same God of creation is the God that made me and you with the same thoughtfulness of design, purpose and intention

Chewy and sweet the macaroons are done in 30 minutes flat. (Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Sophisticated, simplified

When macarons are too complicated, make these delicious, simple macaroons

Michael S. Lockett / capital city weekly
Gigi Monroe welcomes guests to Glitz at Centennial Hall, a major annual drag event celebrated every Pride Month, on June 18.
Packed houses, back to back: GLITZ a roaring success

Sold-out sets and heavy-hitting headliners

Michael Armstrong / Homer News 
Music lovers dance to Nervis Rex at the KBBI Concert on the Lawn on July 28, 2012, at Karen Hornaday Park in Homer.
Concert on the Lawn returns

COTL line up includes The English Bay Band, a group that played in 1980

Marcia and Mary Alice Grainge pose in 1980 with a pair of caribou antlers they found in 1972. The sisters dug the antlers from deep snow and detached them from a dead caribou. (Photo provided by Marcia Grainge King)
Fortune and misfortune on the Kenai — Part 2

In Kasilof, and on Kachemak Bay, in Seldovia and later in Unga, Petersen worked various jobs before being appointed deputy marshal in 1934

“Glimmer of Hope: How Tragedy Sparked a Movement” was published in 2018 by Razorbill and Dutton, imprints of Penguin Random House LLC. (Image via
Off the Shelf: The power of personal voice

“A Glimmer of Hope: How Tragedy Sparked a Movement” provides first-person accounts of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida

Most Read