When magician Oliver Tree announces hell perform a death-defying illusion live on national television, its quite the event.

The dangerous trick appears to be working fine at first, but the terror on Trees face is too real. Its soon apparent something has gone horribly wrong, as Oliver Tree dies in agony before a national audience. The police attribute his death to a tragic error but NYPD detective Kathleen Mallory thinks differently.

Ever one to buck authority, Mallory begins her own investigation, one that leads her to WWII, a group of magicians who apprenticed in occupied Paris, and a terrible crime thats been hidden for 50 years. Mallory must match wits with someone who has made the art of deception his lifestyle.

An intricate, involving plot and the intriguing background of magic make SHELL GAME extremely satisfying. The reader gains new insight into Mallory, who is probably the single most complex character in current mystery fiction. (July, 384pp., $24.95 )

Reviewed by: 
Toby Bromberg