Two for the Show
Review: Arthur Wallace, also known as "Wallace the Amazing", is a famous magician starring on stage in Las Vegas. Chas is a private investigator, but not one found in most crime fiction books. He uses his brilliant computer skills searching for information on people, their lives, their habits, their intimate secrets, and more to provide Wallace with the resources and information necessary to amaze his audience and especially the person he has selected for the evening's entertainment. But Chas has only met Arthur Wallace twice: once when he was hired, and the other time to rescue him from death, in Two for the Show, a suspense thriller by Jonathan Stone.
With Chas's input Arthur Wallace is able to pack the house every night with his mental magic. From advance ticket sales, Wallace knows who will be attending the performance. With that knowledge Chas is able to scan and hack into many systems to get private information on the subject, including pictures. One night, however, Wallace's subjects, the Stewartsons, a husband and wife, did not match the picture Chas had. The subjects, listening to the "facts" about their lives continued to act as if they were indeed that couple. Chas immediately began a search to try to find out who these people really were and why they were pretending to be the Stewartsons. But they were a step ahead: they knew who Chas was, and they knew Arthur Wallace was not the real Arthur Wallace. Chas quickly realizes that much of what he knows about Arthur Wallace is incomplete. He even discovers that his own life's history is lacking. The Stewardson's bring in the twisted reality of lies, blackmail, kidnapping and false identities. In the end this story may be the biggest magic trick of all.
Two for the Show is definitely an ambitious story, but one that may be trying to accomplish too much. There is a lot going on here, so much so that it's very hard to follow along at times. The principal characters are interesting, if also a bit of an enigma (as they are written to be), so it's kind of hard to make a connection with either of them. And it's not quite clear why Chas is suddenly discovering all this new information about Wallace when he's been with him for such a long time. There are probably more questions than answers here, both for the characters and the reader, and that's not always a good thing. The scope of the storyline certainly has potential and how it develops and plays out is intriguing, but it doesn't quite come together cleanly in the end.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Two for the Show.
Acknowledgment: Thomas & Mercer provided a copy of Two for the Show for this review.
Review Copyright © 2016 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Thomas & Mercer (Trade Paperback), June 2014
ISBN-13: 9781477818244; ISBN-10: 1477818243
Location(s) referenced in Two for the Show: Las Vegas
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Two for the Show by Jonathan Stone
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: May 2016
List Price: $15.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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