Club Deception Author Sarah Skilton on Magic-Themed Books for Every Kind of Reader

My debut novel for adults, Club Deception, comes out today! A murder mystery set at an underground magic club in downtown L.A., it has been referred to as “juicy noir.” (I liken it to The Prestige meets Desperate Housewives, with a little Sons of Anarchy thrown in for good measure.)

As the wife of a magician, I had an absolute blast writing this behind-the-velvet-curtain caper about modern magic. To celebrate Club Deception’s release, here are five terrific books about magic, for fans of different genres.




If you like historical fiction, you’ll love…

The Magician’s Lie, by Greer Macallister
Set during the turn of the 20th century, at the height of vaudeville, The Magician’s Lie is the story of Ada Taylor (stage name Amazing Arden), whose provocative “sawing a man in half” illusion comes back to haunt her when she’s accused of using it to commit murder. You’ll be captivated by this dark feminist fable, which expertly weaves together psychological thrills, a touching romance, and a dash of fantasy.

Mrs. Houdini, by Victoria Kelly
“Many people had known some of his secrets…But only Bess knew everything.” He was born Ehrich Weiss, but we know him as Harry Houdini, the most famous escape artist in history. She was born Wilhelmina Beatrice Rahner, and most people don’t know anything about her—until now. Mrs. Houdini proves there has never been a love story like that of Harry and Bess Houdini, two Coney Island entertainers who married after a one-day courtship in 1894, and went on to perform a husband-and-wife act featuring impossible escapes, mentalism, and “communions with the dead.” From the Jersey boardwalk and the Walsh Brothers traveling circus, to prisons in Scotland Yard and séance rooms in Manhattan, Kelly brings the past alive in glorious detail, all wrapped around a heart-wrenching tale of spousal devotion that continues even after Harry’s sudden, too-young death.


If you like romance, you’ll love…

The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern
An enchantingly evocative debut about Le Cirque des Reves (the Circus of Dreams), a magical traveling production that “arrives without warning” and opens only at night. Against this backdrop we follow the travails of Celia Bowen and Marco Alisdair, two rival magicians forced to play a complex game of one-upmanship by their warring supernatural guardians. Problem is, the two are in love. So layered is Morgenstern’s prose, you’ll believe you’re actually visiting Le Cirque yourself, somewhere beyond the realm of imagination.




If you like self-help books, you’ll love…

Spellbound, by David Kwong
Written by a genuinely original, whip-smart magician whose act includes creating a one-of-a-kind New York Times–level crossword puzzle on the fly, Kwong uses his knowledge of magic and magic history to teach the seven principles of illusion. These principles are designed to elevate anyone’s career, regardless of field, by explaining how to command an audience, sway opinions, and sell products and ideas in more effective ways. Kwong’s unique premise makes the advice not only entertaining, but memorable as well.







If you like nonfiction, you’ll love…

The Last Greatest Magician in the World, by Jim Steinmeyer
A rock star historian and inventor, highly regarded in the magic world, Steinmeyer has designed illusions for David Copperfield, Ricky Jay, and even Orson Welles. Here, Steinmeyer expertly introduces readers to Howard Thurston (1869–1936), who became a worldwide phenomenon during the golden age of vaudeville. A pickpocket and con man turned spectacular (and spectacularly vain) conjurer, Thurston was mentored by Harry Kellar and eventually took over Kellar’s act, billing himself as the headliner of “The Wonder Show of the Universe.” Hyperbole aside, in his day he was more famous than Houdini. And even though he’s no longer a household name, Thurston’s classic image, style, and grandiose spectacles—the biggest traveling magic act in the world—are the ones we continue to envision when we think of stage magicians.

Club Deception hits shelves today.

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