This novel certainly checks all the mystery boxes: a likeable, stubborn, and persistent main character; interesting and somewhat intriguing secondary characters, many of whom are either magicians or somehow involved in the magical universe; a dead body in a box; a steadfast main plot and side-stepping subplots; and adequate dialogue, although there were a few too many exclamation points for my taste; and a logical, albeit a tad too convenient and probably slightly overcooked, climax followed by an equally convenient eureka moment to wrap up a dangling subplot before we moved on to the final curtain. To be immediately followed by crowd cheering, adoration, and kisses tossed in the magician’s direction.
NOW YOU SEE IT was cute and somewhat lighthearted, if you can forgive the corpse, and it checks boxes left and right and sideways and upside down. There’s no doubt in my mind Jane Tesh can capture an audience before her next disappearing act, but this novel filled me up about as well as Styrofoam peanuts. Instead of running a race fast and furious from the pistol start to the photo finish, edging out her competition by a nose hair and a sneeze, and pummeling the pages until pockmarks plastered the white space, it’s almost like Ms. Tesh shrugged her shoulders and said, “Well, that’s good enough.”
Just good enough works well for many a novel and many audience members, but I always go into every novel hoping to be razzled and dazzled and wowed in some form or fashion—an amazing character, an amazing plot, or a double-dip twist with a perfect backflip—and unfortunately, that just wasn’t the case here. Does that make this a bad novel? Absolutely not. Does that mean this is a good novel? I can’t really say. Instead, like the author, I’ll just shrug my shoulders, and move on to the next read, hoping at some point to be so hyped up on endorphins and amphetamines that I forget who I am for about five or six hours.
I received this book for free through NetGalley.