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Carter Beats the Devil Paperback – Jan 1 2007

4.3 out of 5 stars 151 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: SCEPTRE (Jan. 1 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340936274
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340936276
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 19.8 x 3.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 381 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 151 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,882,595 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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First Sentence
He wasn't always a great magician. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I would love to read this book again. But what would be the point! I remember each detail as though I had read it yesterday.
Just looked up my old review and was amazed that it has been
2 1/2 years since I read it. This will always be one of my all-time favorites. Glen, you are really Gold.
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By A Customer on Feb. 15 2004
Format: Paperback
Carter Beats The Devil is a fairly interesting read. This book would definately find a nice place in the hands of those that enjoy history and interesting tidbits about how things gained their names ie how lofts (apartments) gained their name. Futhermore, CBTD starts off with a jump and kept my attention until a little over half way through the book. At this point, I found myself struggling to finish the book. I began exclusively seeking those historical tidbits just to make the last half of the book bearable. With that (attempting not to give anything away) the romance shared between Carter and his lover became highly unrealistic. It almost felt like the author was struggling to turn the novel into some dime store romance fling (and not a well written one at that). I found it completely unbelievable and dreadful to read. All in all, I finished the book and would like to conclude that it is creative and there are many interesting little side suprises throughout the book. However, if your looking for something amazing then I would skip this book and keep looking.
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Format: Paperback
The amount of research that Gold put into Carter Beats the Devil is readily apparent - yet this work of historical fiction reads like a novel. The first 80% of the book leads in a very pleasant and engrossing way up to the climactic scene that takes place during Carter's last major show. While Gold doesn't give away many tricks - he does make you feel as if you were standing in the wings of the Orpheum Theater. You can see, hear and almost touch the audience, the catwalk above, the dressing are there with Carter (albiet with a slightly blocked view) as he performs his greatest tricks and has the time of his life - and as the other plotlines come to a head. I started into this scene at 10:30pm - and didn't stop until 12am even thought I had to get up at 5am!
The details of life in San Francisco in the teens/20's are rich, the writing is clear, Carter is well fleshed out (though the rest of the characters are a little stereotypical)...this is a good read. I'd recommend it to someone who was not in the mood for anything deep but didn't want anything cheesy or trashy. A fun book worth your while.
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Format: Paperback
***Some spoilers ahead***
This book took a little while to get moving for me, but once it did, it really took off and I was hooked.
"Carter Beats the Devil" is a sprawling thing, loosely historical (very loosely) and freshly unpredictable. I didn't realize until I read Glen David Gold's afterword that Charles Carter was a real magician performing in the heyday (teens and '20s) of the magic boom in the U.S. But don't be scared away by a dose of history with your fiction. The history on display here is only history in the loosest sense of the word. This book is first and foremost a work of fiction; let's face it---any book that has Warren Harding living on a deserted island with his wife and a menagerie of retired circus animals can't be taken too seriously, right?
The beginning of the book, detailing Carter's childhood and his motivations in becoming a magician, aren't that involving. For once, I just didn't care why he became a magician, and I would have accepted "he just wanted to perform magic" as reason enough. But on top of motivation not being necessary, the motivation Gold does provide isn't particularly interesting.
On top of the weak beginning, I thought the book was going to run a predictable course: Begin with framing device, explain childhood of protagonist, explain success of protagonist, explain downfall of protagonist, explain comeback of protagonist, return to framing device. I thought the novel would end with Harding's death, since that it is where it starts. But I was pleasantly surprised to find that the real plot didn't even get started until after Harding has "died." Once I reached this point in the book, I couldn't put it down and found scene after scene to be thrilling and memorable: the demonstration of T.V.
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Format: Paperback
Thursday, August 2, 1923. Magician Carter the Great is performing the third act of his show, the act called "Carter Beats the Devil." He' set up earlier to have a volunteer from the audience come on-stage, President Warren G. Harding.
Two hours after the show, President Harding is found dead in his hotel room. Charles Carter, the Magician, is the main suspect, and Secret Service Agent Jack Griffin is determined to prove his guilt.
Glen David Gold's novel follows the life of Charles Carter, from his childhood days with his seemingly neglectful parents to his first major illusion that makes his name and earns the friendship of Harry Houdini -- and a terrible enemy. From that day on, he strives to create the next, great illusion and in the process learns of a secret from President Harding that will revolutionize the world, but which also puts him in danger. All the while, he struggles with the accidental death of his wife Sarah.
The characters are well-drawn and realistic, and that, mixed in with actual persons from the time period, make for a more believable story. The descriptions of the magic acts are some of the most suspenseful scenes I've read -- case in point is Blackmail, the first big illusion that gets him really noticed in the industry -- and had me eagerly turing the page to find out what happens. As it states in the book, a magician never reveals his tricks so you must read the book to understand what I mean. At the same time, gold creatives a vivid picture of Vaudeville and the life its performers lead. Not to mention the terrific desriptions of the San Francisco of the 1920's.
Full of fantastic charcaters, both real and fictional, this novel is full of excitement, adventure and intrigue.
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