Sharon Long reviews magician Andrew Mayne's first novel today...
Angel Killer by Andrew Mayne, originally a self-published ebook was published by Bourbon Street Books, part of Harper Collins books, as a paperback in September 2014. This is the first in the Jessica Blackwood thriller, mystery series. I was intrigued to read this book because Andrew, the author, is an illusionist and I was curious if he could “pull off” writing. I am happy to report in my mind, he most definitely succeeded.
Jessica Blackwood is a third generation magician/illusionist, who is now an FBI agent working in forensic accounting. She is visiting a burned child victim in the hospital teaching her simple magic tricks when she receives a call to return to Quantico immediately. When Jessica arrives she is sent to Dr. Ailes’ office, a DOJ computer scientist. He asks why she went over the head of her superior on a recent case. She justifies her actions and then notices a magazine which has a picture of her as a teenager in her stage costume. Jessica is afraid she will be fired at this point, however, Dr. Ailes wants to know about her background and if she is capable of performing magic tricks which of course she is.
He informs Jessica, that because of her family history and her ability to invent magic she is unique and the only FBI agent ever to have this set of skills. Dr. Ailes explains that a hacker, calling himself the Warlock, has broken into the FBI’s system and posted a code which led to a Michigan cemetery.
There a dead girl appears to be rising from the ground as if she is trying to crawl out of her own grave. Jessica is sent to work on the case to discover how this is possible. This is the beginning of her chase to not only find Warlock but determine how he is performing these seemingly impossible feats resulting in murder.
I loved Jessica Blackwood because she is strong, gutsy and states her opinion. Even though she is called on to perform tricks and not always taken seriously by her fellow agents, Jessica holds firm to her beliefs and abilities. The action moves from Michigan to Ft. Lauderdale to New York and D.C. I was drawn into the story immediately as I, like Jessica and the FBI had to know how the Warlock was pulling off these amazing deadly coups.
I especially enjoyed the illusions which are throughout this story as I have never read a book with this element before. I was fascinated by how the author interwove murder with illusions. Angel Killer is enthralling, captivating and fast-paced. Andrew Mayne has written the second Jessica Blackwood novel, Name of the Devil, which I am excited to read next.
This book was provided to Mystery Playground by the publisher. This review is fair and independent.