Gilbert Cruz
August 04, 2006 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Magic Man

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Ron Base
publisher
Signet
genre
Fiction

We gave it a B-

It’s 1928 Hollywood: Sound has just come to the movies, Prohibition is in full swing, and a mysterious Scot named Brae Orrack shows up on the Venice pier turning stones into bees. Orrack’s father has put a deadly curse on him, one that he can only break by falling in love. Despite the wacky setup, Ron Base’s novel quickly gets into full swing as Orrack becomes the bodyguard for a young Gary Cooper and raids a gambling ship with George Raft and his gangster pals. Magic Man‘s main drawback is Orrack’s highly unreliable and chatty narration, which fluctuates wildly between naïveté and an out-of-nowhere hard-boiled violence.

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