Houdini's Last Illusion
Harry Houdini is a haunted man. Haunted by success; his emotions; and now by some of his compatriots: famed and feted illusionists like himself. The only problem is that they are dead. Houdini knows that time is running out, and before he is ready to die he must perform one final trick, the greatest illusion of his life... More
Harry Houdini is a haunted man. Haunted by success; his emotions; and now by some of his compatriots: famed and feted illusionists like himself. The only problem is that they are dead. Houdini knows that time is running out, and before he is ready to die he must perform one final trick, the greatest illusion of his life...
"Steve Savile treats this mythology with all due respect, and has a style which blends nicely subdued reverence for Houdini and all his works, with spot-on characterisation. The story reads almost as if it might be a lost episode from the electrifying life of the world's most celebrated escapologist."
"Savile's narrative is deceptively low-key, showing a thoughtful (almost philosophical) aging Houdini as he calmly addresses his own mortality—knowing full well that his debt is indeed up for repayment. There is also an underexplored time travel element that nevertheless works despite remaining mysterious. The novella, an expanded version of a tale which won in the 2002 Writers of the Future competition, wallows in a realistic nostalgia—both the nostalgia Houdini feels for his glorious youth, and that which the author seems to feel for the period."
--William Gagliani, Chizine.
"The plot moved along, and the supernatural delighted and surprised. I find it particularly wonderful that someone gifted with real magical ability would still use illusion for shows and showing up spirits."
"Savile makes you empathise with Houdini, making a connection that will make you reluctant to put the book down. It's fortunate then that this is a short book else I would have missed out on more sleep than I did. I simply had to finish it in a single sitting....(Savile) writes in a concise manner. There's no waste of words here. His has a knack of breathing life into his characters without having to explain every nuance. We do not need to know the shirt size of each person we meet to accept the way they act, and Savile realises this. 9/10"
"Savile effectively mixes in an interesting backstory on Houdini, including tactics he uses to complete his illusions. The characterization is also spot-on, bringing his cast of characters to life. It’s quite obvious that Savile has done his homework on Houdini, writing about actual events from the illusionist’s life while mixing in his own reflections to make a cohesive narrative. It doesn’t get much better than this, folks. It’s easily the best book I’ve read so far this year, and earns a 10 out of 10. Savile is a fantastic writer, and is underappreciated in this reviewer’s humble opinion. Do yourself a favor and snatch up anything he’s written. I promise you won’t be disappointed."
--The Horror Drive-In.
"His writing style is elegant but essential, smooth but poignant. Houdini's character, apparently so detached and aloof, actually tainted by a touch of gloom and loneliness, a sense of pity for himself, the human condition and life seen as a perennial illusion, is described by Savile with uncommon craftsmanship. I urge you to buy a copy of the book: you'll discover than even fiction, like the tricks performed by a skilled illusionist, can be magic. 5 Stars."
--Mario Guislandi, The Zone