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Publisher's Summary

The life of a magician isn't all kiddie shows and card tricks. Sometimes it's murder. Especially when magician Eli Marks very publicly debunks a famed psychic, and said psychic ends up dead. The evidence, including a bloody King of Diamonds playing card (one from Eli's own Ambitious Card routine), directs the police right to Eli.

As more psychics are slain, and more King cards rise to the top, Eli can't escape suspicion. Things get really complicated when romance blooms with a beautiful psychic, and Eli discovers she's the next target for murder, and he's scheduled to die with her. Now Eli must use every trick he knows to keep them both alive and reveal the true killer.

©2018 John Gaspard (P)2018 Spoken Realms

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characters that are actually likable

The Ambitious Card is an ambitious book to my mind because it promptly reminded me of two other books, which forced comparison. But it comes comes out on top I think, in both counts. First of all, the magicians and psychics made me think of Christopher Priest’s The Prestige, which I didn’t particularly like. But Gaspard breaks that tie quickly by giving us characters that are actually likable, even lovable (I love Uncle Harry). Also a plot that is quite interesting. I am fascinated by magic and illusions and this book has quite a few references to the real stuff, and ties it in well, without info dumping. I also enjoyed all the references to the comedians and magicians of the mid twentieth century. I’ve got some new ones to look up.

The second book that came to mind was Agatha Christie’s The ABC Murders, which I do particularly like. (I also particularly like the word “particularly” so expect to see it in my future reviews) That made me start speculating on the killer, but Gaspard managed to keep me guessing up to the end even with that hint.

Another thing this book actually reminded me of was Charles Dickens. Many of the characters have traits that are blown all out of proportion. I LOVED it. It was excellent, and it seemed realistic, partly because all these magicians and psychics are entertainers and are that way in real life, and partly because they were just hilariously, brilliantly done. I enjoyed them all thoroughly.

There is some sexual content that is graphic enough not to be appropriate children, as well as an implied lesbian relationship. It also deals with the subject of divorce and a couple of adulterous relationships.

Production-wise I have no complaints, the sound was excellent, consistent volume, no strange effects on any voices. I typically don’t like music in my audiobooks, but the intro and outro were kept short, and the the music just fit the book perfectly.

Jim Cunningham was fabulous. He captured the tone of the book in his delivery, and I loved all his voices. Particularly Harry and Frannie. Every word was clear, and all the characters were distinct. There was one point that I would have liked to have heard some effects on his voice because of what was happening in the story, but on the other hand, that could have been distracting, and potentially difficult to understand.

I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful