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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon December 25, 2005
Laura Resnick creates the oddest assortment of characters to investigate a series of disappearances that occur onstage during a magician's act. Women (and one tiger) are disappearing regularly right at the peak of the illusion act involving a vanishing box. The magician's vary- from Joe the perpetually nervous, to Darling Delilah, a drag queen, to the Great Hidalgo who is actually Barclay the stockbroker, to Duke the rhinestone cowboy, to Goudini who is only worried about the return of his tiger, Alice. Esther Diamond is the central figure in the story who narrowly escapes being one of the disappearing acts when Max, a 350 year old alchemist, contacts her to warn her not to continue with the act. Max is a member of the Magnum Collegium, a consortium of true magicians who fight Evil. Esther, together with Max, the aforementioned magicians, and several other unusual characters band together to investigate the disappearances. Meanwhile, Esther herself is a suspect in the Detective Lopez's investigation as she was the understudy to Golly Gee (yes, that was her real name!) when Golly Gee disappeared. This is a cheesy but fun story and I am looking forward to what Resnick will do with the next installment in the series.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on January 25, 2006
A paranormal mystery in which magicians' assistants actually disappear during disappearing illusions, this book introduces the main character in a new series called "Manhattan Magic."

Esther Diamond gets the chance to be the star of an off-Broadway show when magician's assistant Golly Gee literally dematerializes during the height of the show and doesn't return, bumping Esther up from her job as understudy and lowly wood nymph to a key role. But when Esther receives a dire note and a newspaper clipping about a second disappearance, followed by a visit from a 350-year-old mage, she begins to realize that she must unravel the mystery or risk her own disappearance.

A surprisingly satisfying book. The dialogue was snappy and fun, the mystery unique and the characters a hilarious bunch of misfits. You can't help but root for the good guys as Esther and her growing band of helpers seek out the answers that will help them fight Evil and locate those who have disappeared. There's even some minor but gratifying romantic subplot.

I bought this book in order to get a feel for the style of writing desired by this publisher and ended up trying to squeeze in every moment I could to sit and read. I was stunned by the intelligent, humorous writing. Not an earth-shattering book of lyrical beauty that will end up winning awards all over the place, but I feel like it deserves my highest rating because it was just so darned fun. I can hardly stand the idea that the second book in this new series will not appear till December.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon January 3, 2006
Every so often I like to take a break from more serious books, and get a laugh from my reading. I saw this book and read the back cover, and it intrigued me, so I bought it. How can anyone not enjoy reading a book that, as a plot device, has magicians' assistants disappearing from a small box or cage, and then not reappearing? The plot gets really strange when a 350 year old magus turns up, and then more oddball characters. There are evil magicians, demons, and singing vegetables, all guaranteed to bring loud laughter from you! Enjoy, enjoy!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on March 26, 2006
This book was recommended to me by an Amazon.com email. I took a chance, and I'm very glad I did. EXCELLENT READ! I had fun with this book, enjoyed the cast of characters, enjoyed the story. I like the writer's style - the author kept a lot of characters going in this book and didn't lose my interest. I liked the main character Ester. She got involved, and she helped solve the mystery and fight the good fight. The names of the characters might throw you - the names are "theatrical" (like Golly Gee, Darling Delilah), but since the characters are mostly actors or performers, this can be forgiven. I can usually figure out "who done it" in mystery books. However, I thought the author did an excellent job with the mystery elements in this book. Overall, a fun and entertaining read. I look forward to the next book in this new series.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on July 17, 2006
As someone going through real Buffy-withdrawal, I've been sampling the growing variety of supernatural mystery series out there hoping for a new series to love. The good news here is that the dialogue is mostly fresh and funny, and the cast of characters is fun (though there may be too many players for Resnick to manage effectively). The bad news is that the action is extremely minimal, which makes for a long middle stretch, and the story slams to a stop every time a new mystical concept is introduced and explained. Also, the romance is - as pretty much every reviewer has pointed out - decidedly cheesy.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon May 18, 2007
This is an amusing mystery novel that fills the supernatural-show biz-working girl-comedy-romance niche. (And you just can't have too many of those, can you?)

"Disappearing Nightly" is one of those ostensibly funny books for which the comments, "smart, cool and wicked funny," and "screwball comedy adventure," appearing on the cover blurbs actually contain grains of truth, a middling rare thing. There are actually a few good laughs. More than that, the author knows what a punchline is, has a reliable sense of comic pacing and manages to toss out some effective wisecracks.

All these things have led at least one earlier Amazon reviewer to label the book as a Janet Evanovich imitation. Far worse things might be said about any book. Nevertheless, I would suggest a different and, I think, better model. The blurb on the back cover has it right with the words, "screwball comedy." Admittedly, the book doesn't achieve the rarified heights of "Bringing Up Baby" or "The Lady Eve," but it certainly catches the tone and flavor of film outings by Joan Blondell and Lucille Ball during the late 1930s and through the 40s.

In fact, as I was reading the book, I found myself casting it as a B+ feature from RKO in 1940. Esther, the self-reliant, wisecracking, off-Broadway understudy would be Joan Blondell (or Lucy if Joan were tied up with another film.) Doc Zadok would be Roland Young (or Leon Errol with Lucy), Lysander, Alan Mowbray; Magnus, Edgar Kennedy and Cowboy Duke, Ralph Bellamy (of course!) The smaller parts for young women could be spread among the era's usual coterie of screen chorines and a small but potentially memorable part for a somewhat older lady could tossed up for grabs among the many superb character actresses then on the payrolls of the studios. Casting the gay transvestites might have been a trifle more difficult in those days, but keep in mind that Cary Grant was wearing a frilly negligee in "Bringing Up Baby" when he announced "I've gone gay!" For Hieronymus, I find myself torn between Mickey Rooney and Shemp Howard.

To those of you for whom Blondell and RKO are at one with Burbage and the Globe and they, in turn, with Roscius and the amphitheater, let me suggest a more recent exemplar: call Doc Zadok "the Doctor," then imagine a TARDIS lurking somewhere in the background, modify the supernatural mumbo-jumbo into pseudo-scientific mumbo-jumbo, and--presto!--you have a fine Doctor Who episode. (I hasten to clarify that I do not refer to the present series or to either of the two comparatively youthful twits currently disgracing the part, but to the vintage, middle-aged or even downright elderly Doctors of the past.)

I have every intention of snatching up the next of Esther's adventures when I stumble upon it and I might even give a try to Ms. Resnik's earlier heroic fantasies. As far as I'm concerned, that sufficiently justifies a five star rating.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon May 29, 2006
More mystery than romance. Not necessarily for you romance readers out there. The characters in this unusual story are trying to solve several disappearing cases--apparently happening during magic shows. A wild assortment of people join together to find the disappearees and the one or thing responsible. What gives this novel four stars? Well, it's so goofy that it's funny.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 28, 2005
I really liked this book. The characters, dialogue, and situations were interesting, smart, and fun. I was actually very happy I took a chance on it. (I'd never read nor heard of the author before.) The only down-side is that the sequel isn't coming out for a whole year! *sniff sniff*
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 11, 2011
I really had a lot of fun with this one! I read the German version on my Kindle - sadly the original English version (title: "Disappearing Nightly") was not available either for Kindle or as a "real" book ... :o(

Anyway, if you are looking for some light (but very good!) entertainment then you will probably enjoy this book! The story is told by Esther Diamond, a young actress working and living in New York - her voice is charming, funny and very sarcastic ... I loved it!

"Disappearing Nightly" is not really a "Paranormal Romance" book. For one, both parties involved in the romance (and yes, there is one) are quite human! It could probably be categorized as "Urban Fantasy", although personally I think "Supernatural Crime" would be more fitting ...

About the story:
Esther Diamond plays a nymph in the chorus of a fairly mediocre Off-Broadway play. She is also the substitute for lead actress Golly Gee. Then one night Golly disappears during the grand finale of the show - a magic trick involving a glass box with a secret compartment - and Esther is expected to take her place. Before Esther can take the stage, though, an elderly man appears in her wardrobe to tell her that Golly's disappearance had supernatural reasons, and that several other people also recently disappeared on stage during similar tricks.

Even though Esther is skeptical at first she starts to work together with Max to find out what happened to Golly. Over the course of the next days a few other people join them, creating an illustrious group consisting of - among others - Esther, Max, two magicians and several drag queens. And then there's the handsome Detective Connor Lopez who seems to think that they have all lost their minds - at least a little. What follows is a turbulent and very entertaining whodunit with sometimes quite unconventional investigative methods ... ;o)
____________________________________________________________________

I really enjoyed this book - so much so that I downloaded the second book in the series for my Kindle before I was completely done with the first one! I can't say that "Disappearing Nightly" has a lot of substance but it's definitely entertaining and a lot of fun to read! I can't even count how many times this book made me laugh out loud!!!

Added to that the characters are quirky and likable, and I am really looking forward to meeting most of them again in the next book ... :o)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Esther Diamond is a struggling actress, in an off-broadway show. During a performance the female lead, Golly Gee, ends up literally disappearing. And while Esther is her understudy, she becomes convinced that something ominous happened to Golly Gee. Then, Esther receives an anonymous note telling her "There is evil among us" and begins hearing of other stage performers disappearing. Esther never really believed in magic... until now.

This is the first Esther Diamond novel. Though, out of print, it was fairly easy to find on Amazon. Having read and loved the latest two, I had to go back and read the first. I had to know how Esther and Max met. And I'm so glad I did. Resnick's characters are fantastic and flamboyant; and Esther's narrative is completely engaging.

Like most urban fantasies, a big mystery and an element of the supernatural is involved. But unlike the rest, the main character, Esther is not (at least for now) the one doing the magic. She is just a normal girl (with some unusual friends) put into incredible circumstances. Full of humor, adventure, suspense, and magic, this series is one of my favorites. The only problem with reading this first installment last, was that the ending was fairly predictable. But knowing the identity of the bad guy did not deter at all from the story. Like the others, this was impossible to put down and pure fun from beginning to end. This is a must-read series for urban fantasy fans.
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