A DARKER MAGIC by Michael Bedard


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A tale of mystery and magic that leaves tingles in the spine but some questions in the mind. On Saturday, August 8th, the year she was ten, Miss Potts attended an evil magic show at the railroad depot. Now, 50 years later, she discovers the handbill from that same show in the desk of one of her students, Emily Endicott. The magician has returned in the guise of a new student--Scott Renshaw, a sinister pied piper; he will lure new victims to become part of his deadly tricks when he reenacts the show on another Saturday, August 8th. Three characters narrate: Miss Ports, determined to stop the show; Craig, overprotected and insecure--the magician's next victim; and Emily, who has the strength and courage to save Craig. This technique effectively develops characters while setting the stage for the dramatic confrontation at the depot; flashbacks are interspersed, to previous magic shows. The writing deftly mingles comic relief with chilling tension, but descriptions are occasionally overdone, offering more drama than substance; and the voice of the coy adult sometimes intrudes. Although the ending is satisfying, even good readers may have trouble comprehending the events; a number of plot threads are confusing or unresolved. Nevertheless, this is an intriguing, unsettling story--the magic show will remain in its twilight-zone time warp only until another August 8th falls on a Saturday again.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1987
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: Atheneum