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Randy Wakeman Presents
[RANDYWAKE]

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I thought this would be an easy book to review, but find instead that it is difficult for me to put into just how strong this material is. I don't think John Bannon would mind me quoting what he says on the dust jacket of the book: "A card trick should be fun to watch as well as fun to do. Technicians will find these routines subtle and direct. Performers will find them engaging and commercial. Audiences will find the combination a knock-out". Okay, I confess, I have not audience-tested them yet, but they are a knock-out!

Many of the routines have double or triple surprises. There are also some nice refinements of sleights that you may already know, and some totally new ones. Some very visual magic (half of the deck levitates above the performer's palm, a variety of color changes, a gun-and-bullet revelation, the deck visibly melts into the case leaving the selected card behind, etc.).

I especially liked the idea behind "Anything I Can Do, You Can Do Better". Here, the tables are turned. No matter what the performer does, the spectator seems to do it better. All done good-naturedly, with humor and lots of fun; sure beats the "wise-guy" approach where the performer always gets the better of the spectator.

There are things here that a beginner could probably tackle, but the overall level is intermediate to advanced. Mike Maxwell's writing is extremely clear and to the point, and Bob Nelson's illustrations are first-rate. I like the fact that in the table of contents, each effect is listed, along with the sleights that are used. Almost any effect in the book could be released as a single manuscript; you'd pay $10 or $20 for it and feel that you got your money's worth. There is a danger that by combining them all into a single book, the impact of any single one might be diminished. Don't let that happen.

If you are seriously interested in magic that truly entertain (oh, by the way, there are cards involved), in charming entertainment, and in having fun, then BUY THIS BOOK! If you are more interested in finger gymnastics, impressing magicians with your invisible pass, gathering one-liners and performing quick tricks, this book is not for you.

Review By Jon Elion
Date Added: 06/18/2006 by Jeffrey Mash

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