Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Book Review: The Floating Light Bulb by John Gaspard (Eli Marks #5)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Plenty of page turning fun
Cons: Other things overwhelm mystery at times
The Bottom Line:
Myst’ry at the mall
Makes Eli learn a new act
Lots of magic fun

Eli Finds Himself Creating Magic and Stalking a Killer at the Mall of America

When it comes to magic in mysteries, you can’t go wrong with Eli Marks.  Of course, he has a distinct advantage since he is a magician by trade.  He finds himself in another situation where he needs to conjure up some clues in The Floating Light Bulb, the fifth book in the series.

As the book opens, Eli and his uncle Harry are attending a magic show inside the amusement park inside the Mall of America.  The magician, Billy Blume, is one of Harry’s former students, and he has asked the older magician for some pointers.  The show is rather lack luster, but it’s nothing compared to the big climax, when Billy fails to appear on cue.

The next day, Eli and Harry find out why Billy never appeared – he’d been shot.  Then, to Eli’s surprise, his ex-wife, Deidre, and her new husband, Homicide Inspector Fred Hutton, ask him to take the job as Billy’s replacement.  They just want him to observe what is going on and report anything to them.  He is not – repeat not – supposed to do any questioning or investigating on his own.  But will Eli find anything, or will learning the show keep him to distracted?

While magic has always played a part in these books, as it should, I felt the magic overwhelmed the mystery a bit.  Eli learning the act and rehearsing with his new co-workers does seem to take the focus from the mystery quite a bit of the time.  Yes, events related to the mystery are sprinkled throughout these scenes, so they aren’t all wasted, and we do get a great climax that resolves things.

And please don’t misunderstand, I had a blast reading this book.  The scenes involving magic were fantastic, and I found the story of Eli trying to learn all of this to be a lot of fun.  Equally fun was a sub-plot involving the Minneapolis Mystics, an unofficial group of older magicians that Harry belongs to.  They weren’t in the previous book, so I enjoyed getting to see them again this time.

It certainly helps that Eli is surrounded by a great cast of the characters.  Both returning and new are fantastic and really helped pull me into the story.

I really enjoyed my time with this book, and the pages flew by all to quickly.  The Floating Light Bulb gives Eli’s fans another magical adventure they will enjoy.

Need to catch up on this series?  Here are the Eli Marks Mysteries in order.

NOTE: I received a copy of this book.

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