Carter Beats the Devil by Glen David Gold is the tale of a vaudeville musician turned feature performer suspected of the murder of President Warren G. Harding, the Secret Service agent investigating the death, a fellow magician disgraced early in Carter’s career, and the two loves of Carter’s life. The story has a less complex narrative than the others on the list so far, though it does shift characters at major story breaks and moves through time some, and for a story about a magician, there aren’t many misdirects in the plot and the few that appear are telegraphed well in advance.
It’s a good story, and a fun read, and I moved through it fast, but there wasn’t anything about it that I found gripping or moving or evocative–not evocative despite the fact that it takes place largely in San Francisco and Oakland, 40 miles from my house, among familiar names and places.
So I don’t have a lot to say. Feel free to read it, especially if you like magic, or want to read a book about a relentlessly good character (rescues animals, falls in love with blind woman, helps fellow performers, never has sex with anyone he isn’t in love with, abused as a child, loves his gay brother).
Read it or don’t.