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The Box Jumper by Lisa Mannetti
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The Box Jumper

by Lisa Mannetti

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A box Jumper is a magician’s assistant and one of Houdini’s box jumpers was Leona Derwatt. Leona came from a working class background and her father idolized Houdini. In 1919 she met Houdini while working in a magic shop, Houdini hired her on as an assistant and she became one of Houdini’s favorite employees. They worked as a team exposing spiritualists as frauds and performing illusions on the stage. Their life together was complicated and it was made more complicated as the charlatans who Houdini exposed as frauds conspired against them.

The Box Jumper by Lisa Mannetti is like a paranormal mystery that keeps you off-balance until the end. The story is told out-of-order which to me made the book seem more original and added to the mood. You have to pay attention to how all the pieces fit together and how the story is told gives it a surrealistic feel. It starts in the past, moves to the present and then keeps going to different periods in the life of Houdini and Leona. You may have one scene with Leona where she is young and life is going well then there is a flash forward to a dark period in her life and then we skip to the future where she is reminiscing on her past. I found myself constantly wondering where this story was going which made the mystery in it that much better.

The best part of The Box Jumper is how it handles Houdini’s history. It deals with how Houdini exposed mediums and spiritualists as frauds and it gets into how the charlatans were able to trick people out of their money. This book brings history to life and showcases spiritualism and magic at a time when it was at the height of its popularity. You don’t have to be a fan of horror to love this book , fans of historical fiction will love it too.

Another good part of this book is Lenora herself, you get to see her at different stages in her life and how she deals with abandonment, disappointment, happiness, and love. For a novella this book touches on several different themes and does a great job of making you feel for Leona. When I first read the ending I was upset by it but after thinking about it a little more I thought the end made perfect sense and I can’t explain that without giving the story away. The Box Jumper is a brilliantly written book and well worth your time. ( )
  dwatson2 | May 14, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0989667987, Paperback)

“‘Magic’ is the operative word for this moody novella. The magic of Harry Houdini serves as an overriding backdrop here, but another kind of magic permeates these pages—the magic of fine writing. Don’t expect the usual linear plot, because there is no direct narrative. Vivid dreams, surreal images, hypnotic memories, all serve to flesh out an unsettling tale that sweeps us into a new fictional dimension. Read The Box Jumper and share the magic.” — William F. Nolan, author of Logan’s Run and screenwriter of Burnt Offerings “A haunting tale of madness and mystery. Mannetti leads the reader through a thrilling maze of illusion and scandal surrounding world-famous magician and psychic debunker, Harry Houdini. As elusive as a magic trick, the story unfolds through the dubious memories of one of his former assistants who suffers from various illnesses throughout the story. Mannetti’s words entice the reader to explore a lewd world of liars and lust. As the layers of intrigue unfold, the reader is compelled to keep reading and isn’t disappointed.” — Sèphera Girón, Flesh Failure, author of Flesh Failure and Captured Souls “In Lisa Mannetti’s magical The Box Jumper, readers are treated to intriguing premises and finely wrought characterizations rooted in the hazy past of a bygone America. As usual, Mannetti’s driving narrative propels this fascinating portrait of illusionist Harry Houdini and the strange goings on in and around—even beyond—his world. Highly recommended to all who love a great story, excellent writing, and memorable characters with a haunting literary flair.” — Jason V. Brock, author of Milton’s Children and Disorders of Magnitude “Lisa Mannetti’s The Box Jumper is a passionately told story of love, memory, and how we can be possessed by both. Mannetti is, simply put, a master of the dark historical fantasy, and in The Box Jumper she has all her talents on full display. The only really frustrating thing about her stories is how she manages to make perfection look so easy.” — Joe McKinney, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Dog Days and Plague of the Undead “Lisa Mannetti has given us a look into the life of a fascinating historical character and cultural icon. Her novella brims over with dark suspense and a brilliant re-creation of a New York long gone. As always, she writes with passion and originality. A great story.” — Tom Monteleone, Bram Stoker and Locus Award-winning author of Night of Broken Souls and Eyes of the Virgin

(retrieved from Amazon Fri, 26 Feb 2016 03:34:53 -0500)

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