Of Ghosts and Magic by Alfred M. Albers Review

Of Ghosts and Magic Of Ghosts and Magic by Alfred M. Albers

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
"Of Ghosts and Magic" is a strong story of finding the ghosts of the past. It takes a magician to find this "ghost". John Michaels' 30th class reunion is ahead of him and at the request of his former classmate, he agrees to take his magical show out of retirement. When he learns that his high school friend, Alex Holloman, has yet to be located and has disappeared since 1974, John decides he is going to look for his friend and if he finds him, he will incorporate him in the reunion's magic show.

I really enjoyed this book. I felt John Michaels was a very strong and likeable character. The dialogue was fantastic and felt myself really wanting him to succeed. In real life, Mr. Albers is a part time professional magician and it shows through his descriptions of the magical acts and tricks. I really felt a bonding with Alex and could understand his pain and how the events of his life snow balled in to him disappearing in to "thin air" after coming home from two years in Vietnam and his parents being killed six months after his return to civilian life. The descriptions of New York City's subway system, neighborhoods, eateries and hotels was very realistic! The ending certainly gave me tears- of happiness of course!

I felt, though, there were some inconsistencies, for example, on page 179. Alex is taken back to 1964 during the British invasion and it's talking about music of the time and his desire to learn to play the guitar. Then in paragraphs 3 and 4, he is in Walter's Music store there is description of CDs, which weren't around then. I am not sure if it should have maybe been LPs? Then the next page jumps to 1984 and his teaching beginning guitar lessons. That is the only issue is the mention of CDs. It's very well possible I misread it but other then that, this book was a fantastic read. I really enjoyed John Michaels' respectful tone towards others he is dealing with in various scenes.

Thumbs up to Mr Albers for "Of Ghosts and Magic"

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Edit: I just received an email from Mr. Albers in which he thanked me for the review and clarified the CD mention in the story and this is the email:

Hello, Jaime:

Thanks for the great review; I appreciate it. By the way, you're only the second person to have mentioned to me about the use of CDs in the story. I took some "creative liberties" as a writer in using CDs in the story (they first came out in 1982; however, the selection was extremely limited). If I had a crystal ball, I'd have invested in this new technology as it was only a matter of time before they concept took off like a high flying kite. Oh well.

Again ... I'm glad you liked the story and I thank you for the kind words.



My reply:
Ahh ok! See, I wasn't sure if when the CDs were mentioned in the story, what time it was relating to! I knew it was sometime between 1964-84. Now that you mentioned that part, it makes perfect sense since Alex was a music collector! Being as his record collection was so vast and worth so much! Ok, I wish I could edit this in to my reviewthebook review but I can't, however, I will add our convo into the other reviews I posted! Thanks for telling me this!

I really want to share this because it makes PERFECT sense! I normally wouldn't share an author's email but this definitely clarifies the one part that mystified me and now the "Aha" moment shines!



  1. Ooh, that sounds confusing (the inconsistencies). But this does sound like an interesting one. It sort of reminds me of 'The Prestige' by Christopher Priest (*much* better than the film btw ;-) ).

  2. This sounds good - the cover (as usual) caught me - like the review and like that you point out about the CD's too.... it is funny how often things like that stop my flow of reading so I can think about it.... or backtrack because I think I missed something!

  3. Hi Ceri, it's definitely a good book. Just the CDs through me for a loop. I was like wait this is a flashback that goes from 1964-84.. there weren't CDs in the music stores then.
    I loved both the movie and the book! The Prestige was awesome!

    Sheila- totally! I totally reread the chapter to make sure I wasn't missing something. The author is very good at handling the flow of the flashbacks and the CDs really threw me for a pause. Other then the ONE part about CDs, this was a good book.

    Hee hee I like a good cover too :)

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