What struggling young author doesn’t both leap and tremble in dread at the chance to review a book by Frank Peretti? He hardly needs any introduction, and I can’t help but wonder what difference my little review would make in whether anyone buys it either way, but I’d rather not stick my foot in it by commenting on his craft and the writing, like one of the most well known Christian authors is or should be subject to literary criticism and like this greenhorn has any business judging a seasoned veteran. He doesn’t use the deep POV I am passionate about, but his fans won’t care one wit and reaching your audience is the artistic bottom line. When it comes to reach, Peretti is at the head of the pack and he’s likely to stay there with his March release, Illusion.
Illusion has a familiar voice and style to Peretti fans. This falls on the thriller side of his works and ventures deeper into the realm of Science Fiction than he has gone in the past, with famous magicians Dane and Mandy, a couple pushing sixty who have been delighting and wowing audiences with the wonder of their illusions for nearly forty years, also roughly how long they’ve been married.
We meet them as Dane is forced to say goodbye to his beloved wife after severe burns from a car accident claim her life. In the next chapter, we back up forty years, to when Mandy was nineteen in 1970 and visiting a county fair with friends, excited to see an upcoming magic act. Before she gets there, she is slammed forty years into the future, a 2010 where everything from her life in 1970 is gone and she is alone. She ends up in a mental hospital, but escapes and makes her way home to Idaho, where she rebuilds with the help of a halfway house for troubled girls and a kindly, widowed magician she feels strangely drawn to.
Dane likewise is fighting to keep his grip on reality when this strange young woman is the image of the beauty he met and married forty years ago. She uses the fake name Eloise Kramer, which he recognizes as the name of his wife’s mother. Some readers may be disturbed by the young “Eloise” and the aged Dane’s increasingly obvious feelings for one another. For the most part, both of them handle the problem appropriately while each seeks to rebuild their lives after sudden catastrophe, with Mandy/Eloise needing to unravel the mystery of who she really is, mysterious and somewhat ominous figures seem to be shadowing her, and she becomes a rising star with her magic act as she discovers an ability to slip through time and space and do magic feats that will take a bit of imagination for the reader to visualize. How she does it even baffles Dane.
If you want to know answers yourself, you’ll have to read Illusion. 🙂