Title: Blind Shuffle by Austin Williams
The Rusty Diamond Trilogy Book Two
Publisher: Diversion Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Length: 265 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher
“I wanted to take a bite out of BLIND SHUFFLE before breakfast but ended up reading straight through lunch. I finished it on a plane to Tijuana. This was my first Rusty Diamond novel…it won’t be my last. Dig in.” —Patrick Hasburgh, creator of 21 JUMP STREET
Far from the neon lights of Bourbon Street, heinous crimes are being committed against young women, and a street magician seeks to pull off his greatest trick by staying alive long enough to see justice done. The stage is set for a New Orleans noir perfect for fans of James Lee Burke and George Pelecanos.
Rusty Diamond abandoned the Crescent City years ago to pursue fame in Las Vegas, leaving Marceline Lavalle, the daughter of his mentor, with a broken heart. Now Rusty has come back to make amends with his former teacher and his first love—but Prosper Lavalle won’t face him, and no one has seen Marceline for days.
Five months pregnant, Marceline’s vanished without a trace. Her estranged boyfriend, a casino boss with criminal ties and a hair-trigger temper, claims no knowledge of her whereabouts. With the police not yet ready to declare foul play, Rusty launches his own investigation.
The search for Marceline will take Rusty into the darkest corners of New Orleans, where enormous profit can be made from human misery, where desperate people hunt on the fringes, and where not all magic is sleight of hand. It will force him to confront the mistakes of his past, and offer him a shot at redemption. And it will leave him—if he’s not careful—at the bottom of a bayou.
Blind Shuffle by Austin Williams is another action-packed adventure starring illusionist Rusty Diamond. This second installment in the Rusty Diamond Trilogy brings the clever amateur sleuth face to face with his unresolved history as he unwittingly stumbles into the mysterious disappearance of a woman from his past.
Rusty is ready to face the mistakes of his past but his trip to New Orleans does not exactly go as planned. His tumultuous arrival leads to a tense meeting with his mentor, Prosper Lavalle, where he discovers that Prosper’s pregnant daughter Marceline (Marcie) has gone missing. Upon learning the police are uninterested in investigating her disappearance, Rusty sets out to discover what happened to his longtime friend and ex-girlfriend.
Rusty’s first order of business is talking to Marcie’s ex, Joseph Abellard, who owns a dilapidated casino out in the middle of the bayou. Although he picks up some interesting information, this meeting is fraught with danger and Rusty is forced to rely on past skills to save himself from a very sticky situation. He then joins forces with Monday Reed, a co-worker and friend of Marcie’s, to aid in his investigation. When Rusty links a couple of unsolved homicides to Abellard, he and Monday feverishly try to piece together the clues to Marcie’s whereabouts before it is too late.
Needing Prosper’s help to set his plan to rescue Marcie in motion, Rusty is forced to reveal the series of events that led to his abrupt departure from his lucrative career in Las Vegas. After divulging the bare bones of an illusion gone horribly wrong, he and Monday embark on their plan to find Marcie. Once again relying on the skills that made him such a successful illusionist, Rusty is thrust into a dangerous situation after he forces Abellard to take him to the person responsible for Marcie’s disappearance. When his plan goes awry, he and Marcie cleverly utilize the skills they learned from Prosper to extricate themselves from an increasingly dangerous situation.
Blind Shuffle by Austin Williams is a riveting addition to the Rusty Diamond Trilogy. Rusty remains an enigmatic but likable protagonist and making amends with Prosper and Marcie sets him on a collision course with his unsettled past.