Fatal Illusions is the first novel of Adam Blumer.
Gillian Thayer is a pastor’s wife in Chicago grieving the loss of stillborn twins, trying to keep busy with a calligraphy business and her teen-age daughter, Crystal. When her husband, Marc, is attacked and accused by an out-of-control counselee, Gillian doesn’t know what to think. Reluctantly the family agrees to take a sabbatical in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula until the publicity over Marc’s attack dies down.
Unbeknownst to them, amateur magician Haydon Owens is also taking a sabbatical in the area, but for different reasons. He has committed four murders in Cincinnati and has decided it is time to make a clean break just to be safe, even though the police have almost no leads on the so-called Magician Murderer. He grew up in Michigan’s UP and decides to head back there to lay low for a while…until he discovers that Crystal Thayer has the same blonde hair, blue eyes, and wire-rimmed glasses as his other victims…
Fatal Illusions is a suspenseful, can’t-put-it-down page turner with well-defined, genuine characters. I felt the Thayers could have been from my own home church: their reactions and ways of thinking and reasoning are similar to my own.
I think I am not alone in that, when I read a mystery, I can’t help but try to put the pieces together and figure out how it is going to end, but, though I may experience some satisfaction in doing so, I don’t really want to figure it out. I want to be surprised. Adam doesn’t disappoint on that front: just about the time I thought I knew where things were leading, the next few pages proved my theory wrong. A few scenes that didn’t seem to make sense to me at first became clear in good time.
It wasn’t until I typed the title that I realized there were so many shades of meaning in it as most of the main characters deal with various illusions or misconceptions.
I don’t normally read scary books, at least not since the last one I read left me afraid to be alone at night for a while. But when I heard that Adam Blumer was publishing his first novel, I wanted to read it. I sort-of know Adam from the Sharper Iron site and I have always appreciated his reasonable, articulate voice there. I almost didn’t want to mention that because I didn’t want that knowledge to cause readers to think I wasn’t being objective. I don’t review any book that I don’t feel I can be honest about, and those of you who have been reading here for a while know I don’t hesitate to share what I don’t like as well as what I like about books. But I honestly can’t find fault with this one except for a couple of what seemed to me to be cliched phrases.
And though I would call Fatal Illusions more suspenseful than scary, I would still recommend not reading it while home alone at night…but I do highly recommend it. I can’t wait to see what Adam publishes next.
(This review will be linked to Semicolon‘s Saturday Review of books.)
Thanks for the review! I’m glad you enjoyed Fatal Illusions. I’m working hard on the sequel now and plan to keep readers guessing.
This book sounds like a great read! I really like a good mystery. Not real scary though!! I like a book that is a page turner, too. Hugs Grams
I don’t usually read mysteries or suspense (because I’m a chicken!). Just reading your description made me shiver! LOL I might have to read this if I ever come across it, though. It does sound good!
Actually… you HAD me on this one long before I ever got to the confession that you know the author! LOL! This sounds like a great read – right up my ally!
I recently read the book and enjoyed it as well. Great job, especially for a first novel.
I loved this one too. I reviewed it on my book blog.
I love scary books and I LOVE mysteries. Thanks for doing the review. I’ll be adding this book to my “to be read” list 🙂
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