Hurricane Sandy ravages the Jersey Shore while simultaneously providing the backdrop for a horrible crime. A serial killer takes advantage of the night's ferocity and inflicts his own damage. The madman then disappears, leaving a famed FBI agent broken in the process.
Frank Sorello retires from the Bureau only to be drawn back into the game after a best-selling novel by a new author raises suspicions about details inside the book. Is the homicidal maniac announcing his return or is it purely a coincidence?
The intrigue builds as a young man with an intellect rivaling that of Einstein and Da Vinci is tragically connected to the Bureau's top agent. As the investigation is renewed, the murders begin once again. While the mystery unravels no one is truly safe; neither the gated communities of Hollywood nor the hallowed grounds of an Ivy League University provide refuge from what lies waiting in the shadows.
The suspense mounts as the hunt gets ever more personal when the agent's current romantic interest becomes a target. Sorello vows to put an end to the killer's reign in this fast-paced thriller, but the killer has other plans.
First off, I have to say the author, D.A. Pupa is one of the nicest people I've ever encountered. When I added his book to my TBR shelf, he personally thanked me, then when I listed it as read, he messaged me and thanked me for reading his book. So if for anything, read this book so that you can get a message from a really nice author thanking you for reading their book, it really makes you feel good! I wasn't even gifted a copy of this book or anything, I bought it for Kindle and then I bought the WhisperSync Audible option so that I could listen to the Audiobook.
The Magician is a book that switches back and forth between the past and present, and I know that's a commonly used trope these days, but I promise it's done well here. We are first introduced to present-day Frank Sorello, then the past is to see how the killer is brought up into a killer and how Frank's wife is killed during Hurricane (or is it SuperStorm?) Sandy. I'd say that most of the book is in the present and what's in the past doesn't detract; if anything, it gives the background information necessary to know what motivates the killer, James. I was glad that we were able to get into the mind of not only the hunter, but the hunted. There are quite a few more minor characters, and I feel like they could have been fleshed out a bit more, but honestly, I quite enjoyed the central spotlight being on James and Frank; it seemed a bit obsessive at times, but on the flip side, then we would see other characters and it would cool off.
I think my only couple criticisms would be that the ending isn't wrapped up very neatly and that a few things were just a bit too easy. POTENTIAL SPOILER. First, I have been told that there is a sequel in the works, but the ending isn't tied up in a pretty bow. If that's going to bother you and you're going to give this book a 1-star review because you can't handle a book that ends but doesn't quite resolve everything, don't waste our time. This is a phenomenal book that the author has obviously worked very hard on; I'm really looking forward to reading the sequel. The ending didn't leave me disappointed or feeling unsatisfied and I wouldn't call it a cliffhanger at all, it's just not neat and tidy. END POTENTIAL SPOILER. Second, a couple things were just too easy, for example after the death of Frank's wife, he was at rock bottom and drinking too much, and we see that he has a Sensei that brings him from the depths, but we don't get too many details and it seems like it was just Frank pulling himself up by the bootstraps and getting on with life. Also, Sara is the only one that can break through his hardened heart, but it doesn't take much and is just really easily done, almost a gimmee. Again, these things don't necessarily detract from the storyline since the rest of it is so incredibly intense, but it would be nice to see just a bit more detail and fleshing out of these moments to see a bit more of the human side of Frank.
I have to take a moment to comment on the beauty of that cover. Before I read the book, I didn't understand the cover at all and I thought it was a bit weird, but after reading the book, HOLY COW, I've never seen a cover that embodies a book better than this one! You must really zoom in to see and appreciate the detail that was put into this cover to really appreciate it, but it's really a thing of beauty.
I listened to the audiobook narrated by L.J. Ganser that is available on Audible and as a WhisperSync option with Kindle ebooks. Since I didn't actually read the Kindle or paperback versions, I can't comment on any grammar or spelling issues. L.J. Ganser did a great job as a narrator and I think he embodied Frank and James really well. He struggled just a little bit with the female voices in dialogue, but I was still able to differentiate them and I was never confused as to whom was speaking.
I found this book riveting and am very excited for when the sequel comes out! I'm looking forward to more for D.A. Pupa and wish him the best in the publishing world as he writes a great book and is one of the nicest authors I've ever encountered.