Description: A street magician needs more than sleight-of-hand to survive getting embroiled in a murder case in this blistering novel of suspense, perfect for fans of Harlan Coben and George Pelecanos.
After years of chasing fame and hedonistic excess in the bright lights of Las Vegas, Rusty “The Raven” Diamond has returned home to Ocean City to piece his life back together. When he finds himself an innocent suspect in his landlord’s brutal murder, Rusty abandons all hope of maintaining a tranquil existence. Acting on impulse, he digs into the investigation just enough to anger both the police and a local drug cartel.
As the unsolved case grows more complex, claiming new victims and inciting widespread panic, Rusty feels galvanized by the adrenaline he’s been missing for too long. But his newfound excitement threatens to become an addiction, leading him headfirst into an underworld he’s been desperately trying to escape.
Austin Williams creates an unforgettable protagonist in Rusty, a flawed but relatable master of illusion in very real danger. As the suspense builds to an explosively orchestrated climax, Williams paints a riveting portrait of both a city—and a man—on the edge.
Review: Our author has written a very readable story. It’s well paced and flows right along, bringing you from scene to scene. Rusty is certainly a character with a good balance of both virtues and flaws, and that’s important to me. However, I’m not sure I ever really connected with him, which made it hard to feel like I was really into the story.
Perhaps it was the drug angle of the story just not hooking me. I didn’t dislike Rusty, or the story, just didn’t quite get pulled entirely into it.
Some of the scenes that weren’t from Rusty’s perspective felt like “filler” and the ex-girlfriend arc felt kind of pointless, but that part I imagine will be brought back in later books. This is subtitled as the first in a trilogy. So, I’m not holding that against it too much but I wish it had felt stronger in this one.
I did like the magician thing, because that was different from the usual. I always like that. Jim was cool, too. I did like him. So, this book had a lot going for it. I think it just wasn’t quite the style for me. 3.5 Fireballs.