Monday, September 19, 2016

Book Review: The Bullet Catch by John Gaspard (Eli Marks #2)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Great characters, engaging story
Cons: Eli’s fear of heights inconsistent
The Bottom Line:
Eli must juggle
Two compelling cases that
Keep pages turning

Be Sure to Catch This Sequel

Earlier this year, I listened to the audio version of the first Eli Marks book, and I didn’t find it as gripping as I thought I would.  At least at the time.  I couldn’t get the characters out of my head, however, and I kept thinking about going back and reading the sequel, so when I won the audio version of The Bullet Catch in a contest, I was absolutely thrilled.

For those new to this series, Eli Marks is a magician.  In addition to performance gigs, he also helps his uncle with a magic store located in Minneapolis.  His ex-wife is an assistant district attorney, and her new husband is a homicide cop, which makes his forays into murder problematic at best, but he can’t seem to help himself.

Back in high school, Eli and Jake weren’t close friends, but they moved in the same circles since Eli performed magic and Jake was an actor.  Now, fifteen years later, Jake is back in town having made a name for himself in Hollywood starring in a controversial sitcom.  But Jake’s time in town is business rather than pleasure since he is filming a movie about a magician who died during the always dangerous bullet catch trick.  Only Jake thinks that someone is going to kill him when they film the pivotal scene to gain publicity for the movie, and he asks Eli to use his expertise as a magician to keep that from happening.

Jake also talks Eli into attending their high school reunion.  While there, Eli runs into his old high school crush.  Trish has married the bad boy of their class, the one that everyone thought would be in prison by graduation.  However, after they all leave the reunion, Trish’s husband is killed.  With Eli’s connections to the police, he finds himself drawn into what is happening.  Can he figure out who the killer is while keeping Jake safe?

My complaint about the first book was the pacing, but that isn’t an issue here at all.   With two plots keeping Eli busy, there is never a moment for things to slow down.  The murder is the main story, and it provides some great twists and surprises along the way, but the story with Jake is just as much fun and manages to build some great suspense.  Both stories reach fantastic and surprising climaxes as well.

I realized how much I had come to care for the characters when I started in on this book.  It was great to see them again and get to know them better here.  Of course, we meet some well developed new characters as well, and they all get their moments to shine.

And Eli’s knowledge of magic adds a great touch to the mystery.  I loved his unique take on things based on his expertise.  Quite often, the hook of a series is just that, a hook (and I don’t mind it when that is the case), but this time the hook really does add to the mystery.

Unfortunately, there is still one flaw here.  Eli has developed a huge fear of heights between, a detail I actually loved since I am afraid of heights myself.  However, he lives on the third floor, yet his crippling fear of heights never seems to bother him at home.

Jim Cunningham is the narrator once again, and he is wonderful at bringing the characters to life.  This is especially true of Eli and his various reactions to things.

It’s rare I revisit a series that didn’t hook me right away, but I’ve very glad I did with The Bullet Catch.  If you are looking for a fun mystery with a unique hook, be sure to pick it up today.  I’m definitely hoping to move on to the third in the series soon.

It's no magic trick.  Here are the rest of the Eli Marks Mysteries.


  1. I do love when things I didn't love in a first book get fixed in the 2nd. Definitely is promising for the series as a whole. I love the sound of this one though I do agree that the height thing sounds a little strange unless he mentions that it only is a problem on the 10th floor or something. Definitely looks like a series worth trying.

    1. No, the height thing should have been an issue at home for him as well. However, it certainly isn't a deal killer. The book is well worth reading.

  2. Doesn't sound like the height issue kills the story though so I would still read it.

    1. It didn't at all. Definitely a book worth reading.