Carter Beats The Devil by Glen David Gold
Gold’s debut novel opens with real-life magician Charles Carter executing a particularly grisly trick, using President Warren G. Harding as a volunteer. Shortly afterwards, Harding dies mysteriously in his San Francisco hotel room, and Carter is forced to flee the country. Or does he? It’s only the first of many misdirections in a magical performance by Gold. In the course of subsequent pages, Carter finds himself pursued by the most hapless of FBI agents; falls in love with a beautiful, outspoken blind woman; and confronts an old nemesis bent on destroying him. Throw in countless stunning (and historically accurate) illusions, some beautifully rendered period detail, and historical figures like young inventor Philo T. Farnsworth and self-made millionaire Francis “Borax” Smith, and you have old-fashioned entertainment executed with a decidedly modern sensibility. (via Goodreads)
The book is set in the early 20th century. These songs are not from that time period. I’m apparently from the Baz Luhrmann school of scoring. Also, I’ve been writing a book involving magicians of this time period. Concepts are munging together in my head. In a good way.
Abney Park, “Until the Day You Die”: Might be the perfect song for this book. The lyrics fit and Abney Park indulges in some mashed-up 20s electro jazz.
Ramona Falls, “I Say Fever”: Just seems to fit. And a evocative video.
Michael Penn, “No Myth”: Again a song that just seems to fit. About secrets and knots and identities.
Suzanne Vega, “No Cheap Thrill”: Card games! There is a very important card game trick in which…Carter beats the Devil.
Good Co, “Zebra Donkey”: More electro swing. Plus a donkey.
Cake, “Love You Madly”: Ending with another perfect song. This one pretty much epitomizes the romantic plot. (I wanted to use official videos when I could. This one has…cooking. *shrug*)
The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
A mysterious house harbors an unimaginable secret…
It’s wartime, and the Carver family decides to leave the capital where they live and move to a small coastal village. But from the minute they cross the threshold of their new home, strange things begin to happen. In that mysterious house still lurks the spirit of Jacob, the previous owners’ son, who died by drowning.
With the help of their new friend Roland, Max and Alicia Carver begin to explore the strange circumstances of that death and discover the existence of a mysterious being called the Prince of Mist; a diabolical character who has returned from the shadows to collect on a debt from the past. Soon the three friends find themselves caught up in an adventure of sunken ships and an enchanted stone garden; an adventure that will change their lives forever. (via Goodreads)
I’ve been meaning to read Carlos Ruiz Zafón. He seems to be a very interesting author. This is one of the first books he published and is middle grade/YA. I picked it up because I wanted a nice little scare and that’s pretty much what I got. It reminded me of Lady in White and Something Wicked This Way Comes, the film rather than the book. It’s certainly something I’d recommend to my niece, Gwen, who is currently on the prowl for fun ghost stories.
My main complaint is that the individual pieces don’t quite hang together in the plot. It’s sort of a conglomeration of spooky things, but there isn’t quite enough explanation as to why all the pieces should fit together. I *did* very much liked the not entirely happy ending. I’ll be reading more Zafón.
Genre: YA Ghost Story Mystery
Why did I choose to read this book? After 14, I was still in a sort of Scooby-Doo mood. With its mysterious house and shipwreck, it fit the bill.
Did I finish this book? (If not, why?) Finished in a couple of days.
Craft Lessons: A couple of spooky things does not a spooky plot make.
Format: Kindle ebook
Procurement: Greater Phoenix Digital Library