I can't begin to figure out how Frank Peretti's mind works, learned to not even try, to not even anticipate, to just sit back and enjoy the show. His newest, Illusion, is one magic show I'm glad I didn't miss. Peretti has mastered the concept of RUE--Resist the Urge to Explain. He doesn't explain much of anything until it's time; you just have to follow along until he starts bringing things together, revealing secrets. And you can't get too comfortable--with every question answered, every secret revealed, he throws out more to take their place.
After forty years as world renowned magicians, Dane and Mandy Collins are ready to retire. But a tragic auto accident takes Mandy's life--or so everyone thinks.
A hospital counselor warns Dane that he may hallucinate about seeing Mandy in days to come, but not to worry--grief, combined with his pain meds, works that way sometimes. If he ever thinks he sees her, he can call the counselor anytime, day or night. But she didn't warn him that the delusion would take the form of a 19-year-old street magician with Mandy's eyes and smile.
And no one warned Mandy what would happen to her as a 19 year old born in 1951 but dropped unceremoniously into the 21st century. She had no clue about cell phones, lap top computers, Starbucks, or what happened to her father who disappeared from the county fair they'd been attending that morning. And she had no clue about her irresistible draw to a man 40 years older than her with a kind heart and a knowledge of magic that far exceeds her own.
As they form a tentative mentor-protégée relationship--as she tries to figure out what's going on with her and he tries to figure out whether she really could be Mandy--forces behind the scenes, the only ones who know the truth, are watching and waiting.
This story will keep you glued from the beginning to the end as you keep digging, searching for the answer to the latest question Peretti plants in your head, anticipating what's to happen only to be taken by surprise.
Peretti's writing style is beyond reproach--characterization, setting description, dialogue. Everything is presented with an ease as deceptive as the illusion itself. Before you know it, you're totally immersed in the novel, and if you put the book down at all, it's with reluctance.
There are many things going on in the story, but my favorite is the illustration of a man who, after 40 years, still adored his wife, still loved her with a depth unfathomable to most young couples. My favorite lines are toward the end:
He hadn't thought of it in these terms until now, but maybe this was why he always opened doors for her, let her take his arm when they walked, stood when she entered the room. Loving her had always been easy, but somewhere along the way he just knew he had to honor her.
This book is worth the read for the story alone. Writers need to read it twice to study technique. Peretti is a master.