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Black Fall: A Jessica Blackwood Novel Paperback – March 21, 2017
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Praise for Name of the Devil: “Science supersedes the supernatural in this action-packed follow-up.… With snappy prose and a smart protagonist, this is an adrenaline-fueled procedural with an unusual twist. Great reading.” (Booklist (starred review) )
“In Mayne’s exciting second Jessica Blackwood novel, the cunning FBI special agent applies her magician training to investigating a bizarre explosion…. A fast-moving thriller in which illusions are weapons for both good and evil.” (Publishers Weekly)
Praise for Angel Killer: “Mayne, the star of the A&E show Don’t Trust Andrew Mayne, combines magic and mayhem in this delightful beginning to a new series…. Readers will look forward to Jessica’s future adventures.” (Publishers Weekly)
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“Professional illusionist Mayne introduces a fresh angle to serial-killer hunting.… Mayne forgoes gimmicks, instead dissecting illusions with human behavior, math, and science without losing sight of the story’s big picture.” (Booklist)
“Looking for a dark page turner that will keep you guessing until the very end? Jessica Blackwood is your girl!” (WhyGirlsAreWeird.com)
“Entertainment at its finest! Magic and mystery blend together to showcase one heck of an intriguing plotline.… The sort of book you just can’t put down and yet you regret once that last page is turned.” (Fresh Fiction)
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From the Back Cover
An hour after a severe earthquake rocks the Eastern seaboard, a video of Nobel Prize—winning physicist Peter Devon predicting the location and date of the earthquake goes viral.
But Peter Devon has been dead for eight years.
The FBI’s best chance at finding an explanation is agent Jessica Blackwood. Raised as the rising star in a family dynasty of illusionists, Jessica has talent and experience that endow her with a gift for knowing when things are not always as they appear to be. Jessica’s boss, Dr. Ailes, puts her on the case even though she’s still recovering from a routine surveillance operation gone horribly wrong. When police discover a body that matches her description of the disturbed young woman who attacked her at the stakeout, Jessica is torn between professional duty and a personal desire to find out who this woman was, and why she was killed.
The investigations pull her in very different directions—until they start to converge, leading Jessica to confront something so twisted, only one person could be behind it . . .
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Andrew Mayne is either a genius or does A LOT of research because every time I checked any fact in the book (be it about computers, historic events or magic) it panned out. Or did it? Reading his books makes me trust the internet less than ever before and makes me want to take down my Facebook page!
If you think about picking up a Jessica Blackwood novel, do yourself a favor and start with Angel Killer and read them in order. You won't regret it if you enjoy a good mystery with lots of drama but enough "comic relief" from the sarcastic and funny protagonist's thoughts and comments to lighten the mood.
I love this book. Highly, highly recommended.
I can believe that irresponsible agents of a government – or once quasi-governmental entity – could compromise respected media sources to readily make it appear as if (factually bogus) disasters have occurred. Such planted stories could feasibly destabilize a targetted nation/regime. And should the trick go as far as the fanatics in Black Fall take it, revealing reality might not so easily save the world from resulting chaos.
Thank goodness Andrew Mayne's heroine is up to the task of controlling chaos. I doubt we'll all be so lucky as Jessica finding a kid to show her the way.
Intriguing, realistic storyline with plenty of twists to keep the reader both interested and guessing.
Believable characters with distinct personalities. Thought-provoking, informative and snarky dialogue.
'However, over the last year, I have to admit that things have improved between us. Either he’s become less of a bast@@@, or I’ve become a little more of one and can give it right back to him.'
'I sometimes joke that I don’t need children to look after me when I get older, because I’ll have Amazon Prime.'
'I wonder if the first person to realize I’m dead will be the mailman who sees Amazon packages stacking up on my doorstep. This scares me more than I let on.'
'People may say they want a revolution, but they also crave stability and things like pension plans and Starbucks with working Wi-Fi.'
I may re-read this story and always look forward to works by this author.
The book is tightly written and moves along quite well. There are a few untied up issues, hence the loss of half a star. We never find out what the real purpose of the evil plot, Black Fall, is nor why certain characters acted the way they did at the end of the book. We are teased that the President of the United States and a powerful senator might have been murdered, but never find out or sure. And finally, the story fizzles out rather than builds to a climactic ending. If you can get by those issues you will enjoy the book. I recommend it to lovers of thrillers.
Top international reviews
Long review - If you have read the previous two Jessica Blackwood stories you won’t be disappointed with this one. If you haven’t please don’t start here - whilst it is a stand alone story you will miss out an emerging and for me surprising larger picture that begins in Angel Killer. This is a timely story for the events of 2016/2017 and totally and disturbingly believable as a plot. The author continues to build his stories on how people’s capacity to be pleasantly fooled through entertainment can evolve into mass and in this case national manipulation to serve someone’s agenda. Most disturbing is how easily this can be done. You come away with a sense of how fragile society’s ‘rationality’ or perhaps ‘sanity’ is and how quickly and easily someone can ‘press out collective buttons’ and manipulate if not all then enough peoples’ actions. Jessica continues to develop as a character bringing her unique perspective as a former stage magician to what is this time a growing national threat. Where others see the supernatural or in this case ‘super science’ Jessica senses the ‘smoke and mirrors’ at work. I won’t give details of the plot but simply say it’s fast moving, logical and all too possible - or if as it now seems increasingly likely - it hasn’t already happened and is continuing to happen. The concept of launching a targeted ‘info-bomb’ is as disturbing as it is believable (Cambridge Analytics?). There is some violence but it is a crime thriller, it is never gratuitous and always serves to further the plot. If I had a (very) minor criticism it is that the ending, as with the second book - feels satisfying if just a little ‘rushed’. Having read the first two on kindle I bought the third in paperback and read it in one day - money very well spent! My plea to the author is please keep this series going - they are getting better each time and Jessica and her relationship with Damien (who takes more of a back seat in this book) remains one of the most interesting and more importantly evolving characters in modern crime fiction. The ending strongly hints one is coming and that these books might be all one story and given the events of this book it would not be ‘forced’ but would completely work.
(If someone doesn’t see the potential for a film they are crazy - but I guess with Hollywood they would probably ruin it e.g. Jack Reacher or is that just me?. Each book feels more like a potential Netflix series?)
I didn't feel this story was as good as the previous two either. The story line was as clever and it felt squeezed out of the writer rather than a 'Big Magic' moment (see Elizabeth Gilbert).