The Magician’s Daughter by Judith Janeway

The Magician’s Daughter by Judith Janeway
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (227 pgs)
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Aloe

Magician Valentine Hill always introduces her act by announcing Reality is an illusion. Illusion is reality, and nothing is what it seems. When Valentine is reunited with her grifter mother, nothing is what it seems becomes true in real life. A wealthy socialite turns out to be a ruthless criminal, a car mechanic a psycho killer, and a cab driver a seductive gangster. When an FBI agent who’d befriended her is killed, Valentine takes on the hated role of a con artist to get evidence to put the criminals away. Will her skills as a magician prove enough to help her maintain the illusion?

Valentine is looking for her mother. It’s not because she misses her, she wants to find out her birthdate and place and who her father is. She has no ID because her mother is con artist and steals money from rich older gents. Mom makes reality as she goes. She can be anybody she wants because she’s good at acting and only uses the persona until she’s made her escape with the money. But she also leaves no clues about where she is when she moves on…

This is the first book in a new mystery series and it’s off to a nice start. I like the fact that Valentine knows magic. It means she’s good at observing, sleight of hand, and more. She’s a character that grows on you. She’s almost like a ghost: She has no ID, no social security card, and no birth certificate. She can’t work a traditional job. She’s following her mother to change that. But she’s not the only one following her.

I also liked Rico. He’s a bit strange, always seems to be there when she needs him, and he’s more than he seems. I hope he’ll be in future stories with Valentine.

This is a well thought story that has Valentine trying to run a con on her mother and the man she lives with. Her current flame is a scammer himself but on a much larger scale. He’s so big the FBI is after him. There were times when I wondered whether Valentine would even survive. She’s in danger from more sources than her hand has fingers, so author has to do a very careful balancing act here.

When you start reading, you don’t stop. The story moves fast, there are odd situations all through it, and Valentine keeps rolling with the punches. Magic even plays its part in this story. I found it to be a very good read and will be watching for the next one in the series.

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