Often, it's the details that help solve crimes, and no one does detail better than Deaver, particularly by way of the forensic expertise of Lincoln Rhymes and Amelia Sachs, most recently paired in The Stone Monkey. When a student is found dead, the clues lead Amelia and Lincoln on a hunt for a magician--an escape artist, no less, who also happens to have the talents of sleight of hand and illusion on his side. Amelia and Lincoln enlist the aid of Kara, who studies under the mysterious master magician David Balzac. As more dead bodies pop up accompanied by the same calling card, the team homes in on the perp, dubbed the Conjurer. As Kara tells it, all magic comes in two parts: effect and method. The effect is what you want the audience to see, and the method is the technique used to elicit that effect. This theme continues throughout the novel wheelchair-bound, introspective Rhymes compares this duality to his crime-solving process, and the bulk of the book is divided into two like-named parts. Well-researched and exciting, this has all the elements of good crime fiction: likable leads, a colorful supporting cast, fascinating scientific analysis, and a look at the secrets of an otherwise unknown world. A sure hit.
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