Review of A Pocket Full of Voices by Alfred M. Albers

This who dunit is a fun little romp through the backstage worlds of stage magic and ventriloquism. Gary Egan is a ventriloquist whose rising career in a New Jersey casino threatens to self-destruct when he is charged with robbing a number of celebrity guests of high-value possessions. He calls his old friend John Michaels, a retired magician with a penchant for solving crime, to be a character witness. Murder is added to the mix as this tale of misdirection, conspiracy, robbery and revenge gets moving, and protagonist Michaels and his clever crew are in the best position to bring the key players out onto the stage of justice to take their bows.

This reviewer will not speculate as to whether author Albers breaks the magician’s code by revealing the tricks used by his fictional prestidigitator, Michaels. Suffice it to say that the descriptions of how he pulls off his illusions all seem plausible, but without the necessary equipment or experience it’s anybody’s guess as to whether the tricks work exactly as described. This book should probably be affixed with a “Magician’s Spoilers” warning label, just to be safe. If you prefer never to know how stage magicians ply their trade, this probably isn’t the book for you.

There’s no such well-known axiom about ventriloquism secrets, but in truth the amount of information revealed about this art is merely enough to whet the appetite of the curious. The reader will understand that “throwing one’s voice” is a sophisticated auditory illusion, and some of the general principles which make it possible. It’s unlikely that anyone would finish “A Pocket Full of Voices” and feel angry that their belief in ventriloquism has been forever shattered, but consider this a warning nevertheless.

It would be unfair to delve more into the details of the story itself, for this is a mystery, and has the right to unfold at its own pace. The pace itself, however, is sometimes slowed by the stunning level of detail with which every moment is described. As merely a reader of mysteries, this writer can only imagine how difficult it is to find the right mix of clues and false leads to keep the story moving. Too few clues and the tale seems implausible, but too many and the reader figures it out halfway through.

This author’s solution is to add more and more detail. The result are descriptions of actions and scenes which stretch on a good bit longer than is prudent, and conversations which often seem like interrogations. The responses to questioning are always far more in-depth than would seem credible. Skipping over a few of the longer passages took nothing away from understanding the tale.

Those concerns aside, “A Pocket Full of Voices” weaves an interesting tale that is full of fascinating information from the world of entertainment illusion. The details of how and where and when and whom are well thought-out, and as noted above, the tricks and capers are explained thoroughly. This is a fun little mystery that brings with it the spice of living the life of an entertainer, and what could be better than that?

Terence P Ward, Allbooks Review.
Title: A Pocket Full of Voices
Author: Alfred M. Albers
Publisher: Infinity Publishing
ISBN: 978-0-7414-6920-5


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