Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Book Review: The Linking Rings by John Gaspard (Eli Marks #4)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Fast paced mystery, fun characters, magic
Cons: Plot could be a little stronger, but a minor issue overall
The Bottom Line:
Magic in London
Ruined by a murderer
Fast paced and fun trip

A Gathering of Magicians Makes a Killer Appear

Whenever a series I love takes the characters on vacation, I must admit I get a little worried.  I read a series for the recurring characters, and often a book set outside the normal setting means that we won’t have the full cast.  That thought crossed my mind when I saw that The Linking Rings would take Eli Marks to London, but I quickly forgot about that as I got caught up in the plot.

Eli, his girlfriend Megan, and his uncle Harry are in London because Harry is being honored along with a group of magicians at The Magic Circle, one of the oldest magic clubs in the world.  While Harry is only there long enough for his show, Eli and Megan are planning to stay for a week and be tourists.

Harry is performing alongside Oskar Korhonen the first night of this celebration.  After the audience is warmed up and Harry and Oskar are introduced, the curtain opens to find Harry standing next to the chair Oskar is sitting in.  The catch?  Oskar is dead, stabbed in the back while sitting in the chair.

Naturally, the police are quick to zero in on Harry as a suspect, but Harry shares something truly sobering.  He and Oskar had spent some time back stage arguing about who was going to sit in the chair.  The question quickly becomes, who was the intended victim?

The book starts off very quickly, and I was soon caught up in the story.  Did I miss a couple of the regulars?  Yes, although the new characters did a good job of filling in for me.  As we’ve come to expect with the magicians in this series, they are an eccentric group and very entertaining as a result.  And Eli, Megan, and Harry are their normal charming selves.

The plot is fast paced, constantly moving from one event to another.  Like a good magician, it keeps us so distracted that we don’t quite notice that Eli is doing more reacting that actual investigating.  He does piece things together in the end, however.  Truly, I was entertained the entire way through, so it’s a minor complaint.

Part of the reason I was entertained was the humor.  Eli’s first-person observations are often very fun.  One of the couples we meet in this book is quite funny as well.  I laughed a time or two and grinned plenty of others.

Like many people, I find magic fascinating.  No, we don’t learn how to do any actual tricks here, but the hook certainly works well for me since I find the tidbits we do get fascinating.  And I love how it enables Eli’s mind to look at the puzzle differently from the sleuths in the books I normally read.

This series has grown on me, and I truly do enjoy my time with Eli.  The pages in The Linking Rings disappeared all too quickly.  You’ll be left hoping another book in the series appears soon.

Looking for more magic mysteries?  Here are the rest of the Eli Marks mysteries.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.


  1. I always have mixed feelings about favorites going on vacations. It's good to get a new environment but always miss the side characters! I haven't read any of this series but it sounds like a good one!

  2. I have the first one in this series, but haven't gotten around to reading it yet. It definitely sounds like a series i'll enjoy.