Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
Published by: Canongate Books (2006)
Pages: 363 (Hardback)
My Rating: 9/10
THE BULLET TRICK BY LOUISE WELSH
About the Book:
When down-at-heel Glasgow conjurer, William Wilson gets booked for a string of cabaret gigs in Berlin, he's hoping his luck's on the turn. There were certain spectators from his last show who he'd rather forget. Like the one who's now a corpse. Amongst the showgirls and tricksters of Berlin's scandalous underground Wilson can abandon his heart, his head and, more importantly, his past. But secrets have a habit of catching up with him and, as he gets sucked into certain lucrative after-hours work, the line between what's an act and what's real starts to blur.
I picked up this book from my library, the picture first caught my eye and then the title, and when I read the blurb and noticed that some of it was set in Berlin ...... I was travelling to Berlin soon ....... I just had to borrow it. And I'm really pleased that I did as I absolutely loved it.
The story starts in present day Glasgow and travels back and forth in time to Berlin and London narrated by William Wilson, Mentalist and Illusionist, who was
the warm-up act for a whole trough of comedians and stand ups. The guy nobody came to see.
When his agent sends him to a London club for a gig he somehow gets mixed up in a missing persons mystery, involving the police and blackmail, and where, shortly after, two men are found shot to death, he decides it would be a good idea to disappear and take another job in a cabaret club in Berlin....... but, unfortunately, his troubles have only just begun. As the chapters alternate between the different cities and the different times, I loved the way Louise Welsh built up the suspense, we knew something terrible had happened to William earlier but the clues are slowly dragged out and the story never slows or gets boring.
Even though William is not the most endearing of characters, he drinks too much, smokes too much, and at the beginning of the book he gambles too much, but his witty and dry humour had me laughing out loud a couple of times and I found myself liking him more and more as his life starts to unravel in the darkly gothic world of glamour and magic.
The descriptions of his illusionist acts were fascinating, all the various larger than life characters were well-defined and I was totally engrossed from start to finish.
For more about Louise Welsh see her website
LISTEN TO LOUISE WELSH READING AN EXCERPT FROM THE BULLET TRICK