Magic Mirror by Sean Ellis
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
A simple and boring mystery
The story centers around the mysterious disappearance of a creative genius and the subsequently finding of his car in the middle of a lake far away from his last known location. The primary characters are the diver that found the car, who for some reason becomes a key part of the reopened investigation … and an FBI agent sent in to ride herd. The diver has a dark past and the FBI agent some personal drama that provide nearly all of the conflict until the end, where the story does pick up the pace somewhat. For most of the story, the only villain in sight is a tech billionaire that provides the author with an opportunity to preach and moralize about society today and they are some issues with how some of the tech actually works that seem to defy conventional science. There are also some new agey elements that bookend the story and a few minor plot surprises, but this is unfortunately undermined by the complete lack of any reader suspense for most of the book. In fact, there is way too much of the “narrator” within the story talking (aka info dumping) that there is actual action or true dialog, making the whole about as exciting as a Great Courses lecture. The performance was solid though.
I was given this free advance review/listener copy (ARC) audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.
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My Ratings Explained ...
- [ ***** ] Amazing Read - Perfect story, exciting, engrossing, well developed complex characters, solid plot with few to no holes, descriptive environments and place settings, great mystery elements, realistic dialogue, believable reactions and behaviors; a favorite that I can re-read many times.
- [ **** ] Great Read - Highly entertaining and enjoyable, exciting storyline, well developed characters and settings, a few discrepancies but nothing that can’t be overlooked. Some aspect of the story was new/refreshing to me and/or intriguing. Recommended for everyone.
- [ *** ] Good Read - Solid story with a 'good' ending, or has some other redeeming feature. Limited character development and/or over reliance on tropes. Noticeable discrepancies in world building and/or dialog/behavior that were distracting. I connected enough with the characters/world to read the entire series. Most of the books I read for fun are here. Recommended for fans of the genre.
- [ ** ] Okay Read - Suitable for a brief, afternoon escape … flat or shallow characters with little to no development. Over the top character dialog and/or behavior. Poor world building with significant issues and/or mistakes indicating poor research. Excessive use of trivial detail, info dumps and/or pontification. Any issues with the story/characters are offset by some other aspect that I enjoyed. Not very memorable. May only appeal to a niche group of readers. Recommended for some (YMMV).
- [ * ] Bad Read - Awkward and/or confusing writing style. Poor world building and/or unbelievable (or unlikeable) characters. Victimization, gaslighting, blatant abuse, unnecessary violence, child endangerment, or any other highly objectionable behaviors by Main characters. I didn't connect with the story at all; significant aspects of this story irritated me enough that I struggled to finished it. Series was abandoned. Not recommended.