Archive for the 'Book' Category

Ramsay’s Review- Above The Fold

Posted by Cameron on December 18th, 2010

Magic Reviews by Cameron Ramsay

Above the Fold

Rich Aviles

Vanishing Inc Plublishing

Manufacturer’s  Description

Published by Vanishing Inc. Magic, Above the Fold is the debut collection from one of magic’s most exciting new talents: Rich Aviles. In this intelligent, praiseworthy collection of card and close-up material, Aviles details thirteen effects and seven moves, each one explained with equal parts clarity and wit.

Cameron’s Description?

Yes,Yes,Yes, people are still writing books. Andy Gladwin and Joshua Jay are bringing sexy (books) back and I am certainly loving it. This debut collection from Rich Aviles has a lot of great material in it. Highlights for me were Pocket Protector-a clever prediction using an Alex Elmsly move. Asher Twich- Rich’s take on the now classic ace routine by Lee Asher. Now I’m not a guy that thinks any one should be boring their audience with 37 different color changes but I really like 2 Legit as a double color change.

Cameron’s Favorite Part

Again this is a book, what’s even better is that it is a book I can take on the subway (I don’t’ go on subways ever since Spiderman) and easily travel with anywhere with it. It’s not big and that’s what the guys at Vanishing Inc Magic are trying for. They are calling it their “Small But Potent”, just the best material from that one creator.

Now I didn’t want to write about this but there is a secret gem in the book that I am sure a lot of card guys won’t use. It’s the only non card trick/gag in the book. I have been able to put this gem in my comedy club set. To sum it up this is a great card book from a really funny guy that everyone will enjoy.

I really look forward to more books and products coming out of the Vanishing Inc Publishing company.


@Cameron401 on twitter

Wayne Houchin – SINFUL: A Graphic Novel

Posted by Corey Martin on April 20th, 2010


Corey Martin is a regular contributor to iTricks Raves.

Most of us remember when we first saw Sinful. For me, it was on an episode of Criss Angel’s “Mindfreak”. A signed coin visually penetrates a sealed soda can. hedshot Magic at one of it’s purest moments. Since that episode it has been hailed as one of the greatest impromptu effects of all time. With all of the classic movies getting a “facelift” these days it is nice to see that some of the great magic effects are getting similar treatment. If you liked the “original” version of Sinful, then you are going to love the new style, tips and handling of the new version. Inside this book not only shows you how to perform an incredible piece of magic, but it also lets you in on just how intense of a process goes into creating something so special. Welcome to Sinful: A Graphic Novel.


Posted by Corey Martin on November 23rd, 2009

asi one

Corey Martin is a regular contributor to iTricks Raves.


Some performers and those close to the art of magic well often say, “The most beautiful magic is done up close.” This of course is all hinged upon which style you like, what you perform (if that is the case) and the vast differences between the different magical styles. Every so often we find a performer who takes their style and makes it elegant and a pleasure to watch. Asi Wind has created ‘Chapter One’, a look into the “evolution of magic” and how he has contributed his ideas to that concept. You get very well put together 35-page book which includes five incredible close up card effects, three essays on various topics related to magic and performing, as well as the DVD which includes performances with or without cometary.

Alvo Stockman ELIXIR OF LIFE

Posted by Editor on October 14th, 2009

Mark Tirone has had his review selected for iTricks Raves. Would you like to see your review here? Email

Welcome back guys. It’s been a few weeks since I’ve reviewed something and I guess this is a little bit late since itricks just hosted a very special live chat event with the guy who created this next piece. As the title says, I’m about to rip open Alvo Stockman’s “Elixir of Life”. A quick note before I begin though: During the live chat thingy, Alvo was consistantly tossing out some FANTASTIC advice (I highly suggest you go back and watch the recorded show) as well as some great quotes. Well I took notes and some of those will be appearing in here, as well as a slightly different layout for y’all!


Devin Knight & Al Mann

Posted by Corey Martin on September 3rd, 2009


Corey Martin is a regular contributor to iTricks Raves.


We have all seen it. The Magician shows a box that has been hanging in full view the entire performance, is sealed, anything in the box can be seen. Random selections are made, be it a card from a deck or a set of numbers or even a word from a page of newsprint. The box is carefully opened, one part at a time to insure that it has not been tampered with in any way. The prediction inside the box matches that of the selection made on stage. The crowd is stunned. The Magician smiles and takes his bow. The stage goes dark….


‘Something Else’ Reviewed by Jeff Prace

Posted by Editor on July 29th, 2009

Jeff Prace is special to iTricks Raves. Want to writes a Rave? Email

“I need more non-card stuff,” is a familiar refrain with most close up magicians. Well, it’s Cameron Francis to the rescue as he presents 8 stunning routines with business cards, coins, coin holders, sugar packets and matchboxes. That’s right, no playing cards! Just practical, astonishing, real world effects using everyday objects which you will want to add to your repertoire straight away!


‘The Plot Thickens’ Reviewed by Mark Tirone

Posted by Editor on June 8th, 2009

“10 out of 10…buy this and buy this now. You won’t regret it.”

Online Visions.”Hugely impressive…it won’t be long before his reputation is made…
unusual plots, simple methods, great ideas – why aren’t you ordering this book right now?”

Magicseen.”Buy this book! Highly recommended.”

Genii Online.”An astounding collection” Gary Jones,

Magicbunny & The Magic Cafe.”Buy it. He’s got some great ideas.” Tim Trono, creator of Branded.

“[The effects] are all practical and easy to handle…a breath of fresh air” Peter Duffie,

MAGIC.”I rarely get so much inspiration from one book” Andi Gladwin.

“Excellently written…very well-produced…each time [I flick through] I find something, which becomes my new favourite…For £12.49 (less than the price of a one trick DVD) this really is an excellent purchase. Highly recommended!”


Magicians experience a torrent of new methods but just a trickle of new plots. It’s time for a change. And the change starts here!22 fresh plots with everything from bottles to bubbles and photos to false teeth, including:
- Invisible Man: Convince a spectator that they’ve vanished.
- Flaming Voodoo: A spectator stares at a piece of paper he is holding and it bursts into flames.
- Touching Transposition: Forget sight, fool their sense of touch.
- X-ray Coin: A spectator swallows an initialed coin and it appears on an X-ray of their stomach.
- Secret Service Load: Divine the serial number of a bill in the spectator’s wallet without ever going near it.
Plus 17 more impossibilities.

Some you’ll perform every night. Others you’ll save for special occasions. All you’ll enjoy learning as much as performing. The book alone is worth the price of the book!

87 large format pages. 86 photo illustrations. Perfect bound with a glossy cover.
£12.49/$21.53 plus shipping (varies by destination).

Welcome back. I’m here again with my latest review. This one is special. I was connected to a guy named Oliver Meech. Oliver is a VERY talented performer. He sent me a copy of his book and after reading the first few effects in it, I KNEW this was going to be a a great read. And I was correct! The advertisement reads as the audience sees it. There are absolutely NO pipe-dreams in this book. Everything CAN and WILL be performed at one time or another.

So what exactly is “The Plot Thickens”? It is a colaboration of extremely creative ideas from Oliver Meech. There certainly is nothing “new” in here, just ideas basically. Thickened plots. What I mean by that is, Oliver has taken a wide variety of plots from classic texts in magic, and revamped them to work for YOU in today’s world. The tricks are all the same, but in each one there is something new, whether that be a simpler method, to a more visual effect. For example, do you remember that old bird cage trick? The one where you had a bird on one side of a paddle and a cage on the other and when you spin it around fast, it looked as if the bird was in the cage? Well in here, this is done with a fish and a fishbowl. Do you know The Quarter Through Soda can? That is mixed in with the paper balls over the head! Read ahead to find out more! ____________________________________________

LAYOUT: 5/5The layout, in my opinion, was genious. Everything was very modern and east to comprehend. There were introductions, forewards, brief information about the effects in the book, and then the chapters. At the beginning of each chapter, there is a little “optical illusion”, of a sort (which was annoying in the beginning but kind of grows on you), and then the tricks. He gives an introduction to each effect (similar to those of Coinsomnia [see review]) and also a simple effect “description” (which wasn’t really described but of course these effects arn’t too difficult to figure out what is supposed to happen). Then after each effect, Oliver gives credits and additional advice, plus a large blank space which can be used for notes.

QUALITY: 3/5I had higher expectations for the quality of this book. It was published and printed by and normally their products have very fine quality, but this was just disappointing. The spine of the book seemed like it was a little bit frayed, and through opening and closing the book, the spine was getting wrinkled sort of, and that has never happened to me before (except for Jerry Mentzer’s book, but that was just poor choice of paper). Also, the color tone of the book (purple or blue?), shows smudges and it looks terrible. When I first got this and started reading through it, I noticed that it was covered in finger prints and it looks bad. One final note, the printing of the book. The plot might be a little TOO thick. The word “thickens” on the front cover if the book was printed off center so it rides right off the cover of the book and the letters “T” and “S” are only half exposed. I guess I can’t blame Oliver since he has no control over the printing, just letting you know. In each effect, there are photographs. These are VERY good quality! Although black and white, Oliver did the un-thinkable, and filmed in a simple setting. There were no elaborate posters or cages in the background. Just a table and Oliver. They wern’t even fuzzy or hard to understand, like some books I have read. The only problem is that all of the pictures are reversed because Oliver is a left handed magician, so they were flipped to be righty compatable, which doesn’t work out too well for another lefty, like myself.


I made the mistake in one of my previous reviews, to review EVERYTHING. That review took almost 3 weeks. I won’t be doing that here. I’m sorry, but there are 22 creations in this book, plus varriants, so doing so would be completely undesirable. So I have chosen to review each of my favorite effects from this book, not from a personal view, but from an objective point of view so YOU, the reader, gets to know exactly what is good about each effect.


STUFF WITH CARDS: 4/5This might be the only time you hear me rave about cards. I typically only perform a few card tricks, but enough about me. In this chapter, the effects are visual (or CAN be visual) and are all practical for the real world. One of the better effects here is the Invisible Man, which can be performed on stage or close-up without worry. But there are other ones that are visual stunners, such as Cardboard Birthday Cake, where a signed playing card with a birthday cake and a candle is shaken and the candle either visually extinguishes, or invisibly, depending on your style. Then the psychological killers, being Not Seeing The Wood For The Trees, an effect where a grid of cards is layed out, and failing to find the selected card, the remaining cards reveal a selected card.

INVISIBLE MAN: 5/5Is my absolute favorite effects from here. This is one of those effects that Gary Norsigian talks about on his DVD set, Tricks That Will Get You Paid (see review), where you can take it from close up, and with little change, make it play for a grand audience or 400. What happens is an audience member is braught up and selects a card, and two stickers are used to make the assistant believe he is invisible and annother assistant can see through the person and read the card against his chest. The method is one that has been around for a long time, yet widely over-looked until jsut recently, yet even THEN it was a little over looked! After reading this one, it will be ver clear how powerfull it could be. The best part is, the playing card doesn’t even need to be read. If you did this on a large stage with just normal playing cards, sure the card can’t be read by the people in the back, if the front row audience can see it and can REACT to it, then people will understand that the assistant has seen through the other assistant’s body and read the card. Even just the invisible assistant needs to react for everybody else to know that the card that was revealed is the one he held. And for the record, the assistant you choose to be turned “invisible”, might not be too good if it is a woman.

NOT SEEING THE WOOD FOR THE TREES: 4/5This is one of the other psycholigical killers presented in this book. What is awesome about it is, it takes a classic plot that isn’t really performed anymore, and made it MUCH better. That is the old dealing down cards trick. The kind of trick that makes people go, “yea, I know this one, uncle Roofus did it for me”. But he DIDN’T. Sure cards are delt down after one is chosen, but after eliminating a few to get to the chosen card, the audience notices that the remaining cards form the shape of their card, AND in the same color! The bad part about this one is that dealing down cards can be a hassle for you. If you work in a restaurant where the table top might be a little small, the cards might not fit and you will have to move to another effect. Also, if you do outdoor walkaround engagements, the wind will blow your cards away and then you are left revealing the sdfsdf of sdfsdf. But this one is certainly GREAT for parties when you are put on the spot.

STUFF WITH COINS: 4/5 Phew, coins! I am so glad to see coins in here. It takes a lot to get coin guys thinking, but this chaper actually got me thinking and thinking hard! While only a few in here actually made me excited to perform, they all have something special. For example, like we mentioned earlier. Oliver does a Paper Balls Over The head type effect, and leads into A Coin In Soda Can effect. Possibly the most insane coin to impossibly location effects are in this chapter. One of them makes the coin go into an xray of your body, the other into a soda can, and the last one goes to a candy bar in a vending machine that you use the signed coin to buy. I won’t be reviewing them all, but they all merit some consideration.

FISH BOWL COIN ILLUSION: 5/5 : This one is REALLY cool! Remember that old bird cage illusion? The one where there was a picture of a bird and a cage on different sides of a paddle and you could make it look like the bird was in the cage when twisted rapidly? Well this is pretty much that, but with a borrowed coin and a fish bowl is drawn on one side and a fish is drawn on the other. The coin is of course spun on the table and you get this really nice image of a fish being in the bowl when looked at the coin. When the coin stops spinning, ther can actually see that the fish is inside the circle representing a bowl and the coin could be kept. While this effect won’t fool ever magician, it can be quite stunning to a lay audience. They KNOW the fish isn’t really in the bowl and for somebody just seeing this for the first time, it will be very amusing to them. But when they discover that the fish is inside the bowl that was apparently a joke, it will generate a very nice reaction.

X-RAY COIN:3/5: This was a weird one. Let me tell ya’. Firstly, this is probably one of the few, if not ONLY, coin effect that you can do on stage with a borrowed coin. Essentially, the spectator’s initials are written on their coin, THEY swallow their own coin, an x-ray image is brough up on stage of them, and on the x-ray appears their own borrowed coin WITH the initials! Of course you can make this more goory if you wish by swallowing it yourself and giving it a lot of drama. There IS quite an extensive setup but in time you will get good and fast at it. Also, you can’t really re-use the props but it really isn’t much of an issue at all. It will all be worth it in the end. I think you’re going to like this one.

STUFF WITH THE MIND:3/5I really didn’t much care for this chapter. There were a few little peices that I enjoyed, but for the most part, a lot of it was quite impractical for me. A lot of gimmicks involved. These ARE pretty good for stage/parlor/stand up, but if you are working close up, not exactly the best. One plus side to many of these effects is, if you don’t want to come off as an extreme mentalist (such as Darren Brown, Luke Jermay etc.), these effects have more of a magic aspect to them so I’m sure some of you will get a good look at these. Just not exactly “Up there” for me.

BUBBLE IMAGE:4/5This is one of those effects that can be done quite efficiantly on stage and could be seen. What happens is basically the spectator looks into one of many bubbles (yes, bubbles, as in children’s bubbles, made out of soap…) dancing around on stage and sees a number in one of them, almost like a crystal ball. A prediction you had from the start is brought out and on the piece of paper reads the number they saw in the bubble. It is a nice piece by means of theatrical magic. It could be played as serious, half serious, comedy, magic, whatever you want it to be really. This DOES use a prop that you might have if you are a magician, but I’m sure the mentalists will know exactly what this is when they hear it and most likely have one.

I SPY:5/5This one I actually wrote into my own show. It is by no stretch of imagination a fully original effect and the concept used here is old as the hills, but it is pretty good. It is pretty much a book test in it’s simplest form. A post-it note sticker is placed on the cover of a book and the audience member writes something down on it. That could be a page number, chapter title, work, number etc. Whatever. You are able to reveal it with pretty much no effort on your part at all. Again, how awesome is it that you could do this anywhere anytime if there is a book, paper, and a pen at your disposal, AND can play for small audiences in walkaround for 5 people or in an auditorium for 150 people.Again, the concept is old, but you can have a lot of fun with this one.

AND STUFF WITH, WELL, STUFF:2/5Well, at least I got SOMETHING out of this chapter lol. DEFINETLY not the best stuff nor the most practical. Some of these have some pretty big setups and don’t even play too well, but I DID get 2 really nice effects out of it so that deserves the 2 credits lol. Let me say that if you like to do anytime anywhere or seemingly impromtu effects with borrowed objects, don’t get this book because of this one.

ON WITH HIS HEAD!:5/5I liked this one. I’m pretty sure you will like it as well. You can only do this in close up situations due to the method and without a method change, but it looks really nice. It is something that a lot of us can relate too, our heads getting cut off in photos. Don’t you hate that? Well no worries to the cool guy in the group, not to be confused with the guy in the group nobody ^&*$% likes *cough* Karen, simply taps the stack of photographs on the table and the distorted photograph gets bumped down in the picture, restoring it to normal. C’mon, how cool does it get? It actually reminds me of one of Josjua Jay’s effects in his book, “MAGIC: The Complete Course” (See review) where the magician poses with his dog and the dog vanishes right from all the pictures. Well this one is similar, the method isn’t as straight forward as Josh’s, but no need to take away a point for that. Pretty much all you need is a camera and a stack of photographs, having one with the chopped off head and a rubberband to put over them all. It packs small, plays big (for a few people in the group).

SECRET SERVICE LOAD: 3/5This is a REALLY strong effect if you play it right (and it doesn’t get screwed up half way though), but the only problem is that it requires a LOT of pre-performance work and will be a pain to do. You need to follow people, see who orders from which register, get the timing right, memorize a serial number etc. And it can’t really be done in a professional setting unless you work in a restaurant or bar and can have the bartender or waitress help you out. It’s such an extensive setup just to read a serial number from a bill in somebodies wallet that you never touched. ALso, if you have a show, you could have somebody at the box office help you. But it is a cool effect.


OVERALL:4/5In conclusion, I really enjoyed this book. It was a very nice and refreshing read. If you like magic tricks or books, then this is a really nice read for you. The descriptions are clearly very well thought out as are the effects described here in this book. I will always be refering back to this book and hopefully learning something new each time I do. Oliver did the un-thinkable here and took old plots and revamped them to play for professional performers in the 21st Century. Enjoy!

-Mark Tirone

‘Moment’s Notice’ Reviewed by Jeff Prace

Posted by Editor on May 26th, 2009

The Official Spam:

Cameron Francis presents five devastating, completely impromptu card effects that you WILL add to your repertoire right away! This is commercial, easy card magic at its best. No set-ups and no extra props. All you need is a deck, two hands, an interested spectator and you are set to amaze!

Here’s what you’ll find beyond the cover:

Elevation: Four phases of sandwich/elevator/twisting/transpo madness that will make you look like a sleight of hand God. But it’s all oh, so easy to do!

Spin Cycle: Twisting the Aces meets Hofsinzer with a powerful in-the-spectator’s-hands ending!

Emergency!: A super convincing in the hands Triumph that’s easy to do!

Simply Amazing: A fantastic Ace Assembly for those who don’t like Ace Assemblies!

Flying Colors: A transposition of red cards and black cards with a knockout second phase in which everything happens in the spectator’s hands!

The Tricks:
Elevation: In this effect, two ‘special’ cards are pulled from the deck and placed to the side. A spectator chooses any two cards. The two cards are lost in the center of the deck. The two special cards are shown to be the two black Jacks. With just a shake, the face up Jacks trap a face down card. That card is one of their selections! You explain the Jacks do much, much more. The selection is constantly placed in between the Jacks, and magically rises to the top. Also, the selection magically flips face up and face down in between the Jacks multiple times. The selection is then placed on the table. With just a snap, it turns into the other selection. The deck is spread and the other selection is found face up in the middle.
I’ve always liked the plot in which one selection changes to another, and then the first one somehow appears far away from where it once was. It’s very magical in my mund, the two card transposition. I know a lot of transpositions, but this has turned out to be a very good one. Something I like about this is that the transposition seems to be an afterthought. The other magical events are the main trick. This way, I feel, the transposition is more magical. The method here is pretty easy to do. It will require basic knowledge of card sleights. This is a fantastic routine.
Spin Cycle: “The four Aces are removed from the pack and placed aside. A card is selected, say the Two of Hearts, and lost in the pack. The magician explains that the Aces will be able to identify the card through a strange procedure. One by one, the face down Ace turn face up. The last Ace to turn face up is the Ace of Hearts. This, the magician explains, means that the selected card was a Heart. The Ace of Hearts is placed aside. The spectator cuts the remaining face down Aces into the pack. The deck is cased and the spectator gives the box a spin. The cards are removed from the box and the deck is spread. The Aces are seen face up in the middle with one face down card between them: the Two of Hearts.”
I love the Hofzinser Ace Problem. Love it, love it, love it. I have created my own method, which I love to use. Although I am bias to that method, this one is also very good. I like the idea of using the box. It seems like you’re making the trick sleight-of-hand proof, as you can’t touch the cards. The magic happens on it’s own. This way, you don’t seem to just be someone who is handy with a pack of paste boards, but rather a real magician who can do real magic. That’s an important idea to remember in all of my magic. So, this fits the bill. It’s super cool and super magical. Once again, it’s also pretty easy to do. I recommend you try this out, as it’s a great solution to the Hofzinser Ace Problem.
Emergency!: “A card is selected and lost in the deck. To make his job of finding the card even more difficult, the magician turns half the deck face up and shuffles it into the face down half. Failing twice to find the card, the magician claims that all decks now come equipped with an Emergency button. The button is pressed, the deck is straightened and a previously indifferent card is now discovered to have transformed into the selection.”
Another favorite of mine, Triumph. I cannot think of a better card plot with such a great patter. I really like the additions to the patter Cameron added. It’s not the basic “a young kid shuffled my deck wrong” but it’s a comical solution. The idea of an ‘Emergency button’ reminds me a lot of the ‘Reset button’ in the standard Reset routine. I liked how he applied that to this effect. Onto the method. This is simply FREAKING AMAZINGLY AWESOME. I’ve performed a lot of Triumphs in my magic years, but this is one of the best I’ve seen. The secret move is brilliant. Although it’s stated to be “bold” no one will ever catch it. The display is very clean; they really see half face up and half face down. Simply brilliant. This will be the last Triumph routine I perform. I love this.
Simply Amazing: “The four Aces are removed from the pack and placed to the magician’s left. The spectator cuts the deck into four face down piles and then points to any one of them. The top four cards are removed from the freely chosen pile, shown to be indifferent and are placed face down on the spectator’s hand. The Aces are fairly inserted face down into each pile. The piles are stacked one on top of the other and the deck is then turned face up. The deck in placed on top of the four face down indifferent cards which the spectator has been holding onto. The magician snaps his fingers and spreads through the deck. The Aces are nowhere to be found. The four face down cards at the back of the deck are turned over. They are now the four Aces!”
It sound more confusing than it really is. I actually really like this as well. I think the ending is a great, visually moment. There are also some great subtleties in this effect which really sell it. I think it’s great because the spectator feels there is no possible way the magician could’ve switches the cards that they were holding, because there really isn’t. Well there is… Anyway, this is super clean. The handling is easy, but again, will require basic card handling knowledge. I assume most of you guys already know this stuff. Another winner.
Flying Colors: In this effect, the magician removes four black cards, and four red cards. The two packets are separated. With a snap, the two packet of cards magically and invisibly change places. The spectator removes one card from each packet. With a snap, those two selected cards change places as well.
This is just not for me. I’m sure it’s going to be for a lot of others, but not me. It’s is a nice trick, and I can’t really explain why it doesn’t suit me. Because of that, I will jump into the method and handling. Everything, again, is easy to do. The method is very clean and clever. Some of the magic happens in the spectator’s hands. Another nice part, the cards are not always handled by the magician, eliminating some possible solutions in the spectator’s mind. A nice trick overall.
The Teaching:
Everything is very well taught. There are step-by-step instructions. Also, there are 11 clear photographs that really help. Nothing to complain about.
There’s not really much to say. The e-book is nicely made, all components of it. All of these effects are impromptu, hence the title, so they are very practical. All of the effects are amazing. A solid 9.5/10.
Jeff Prace

‘Coinsomnia’ Reviewed by Mark Tirone

Posted by Editor on April 17th, 2009

Welcome, welcome, to my latest (or not latest, depending on when you’re reading this) review. I want to take a moment to talk a little bit about my new review outline. I thought the old one was pretty lame so I decided to take the high road and try out yet another format. You will find that this is laid out as if it were a school schedule/detention slip. Basically it is the “teacher’s recomendations”. Bill is a good friend of mine and I’m sure you will enjoy these highly professional routines as much as I did. Enjoy the review guys!
Before we actually begin this review, I want to tell you a bit about the layout of the book (this part will normally be in the very beginning of the reviews). You will see the entire book contents below:
>A picture of Bill (go ahead, angle the book any way you want, his eyes still follow you!)
>A very gratifying foreward from Marc DeSouza
>Introduction from Bill
-Coin roll subtlety
-Citino Rollout (a.k.a. The Reverse Rollout)
-Citino Palm Change
-Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees
-Almos’ Frame-ous
-Almos’ Frame-ous Ver. 77345
-I.T.H.C.A. (You have to SEE it to believe it!)
-That’s Impossible!
-Comin’ Outta The Box
-3 Coins Hangin’ (Featuring the 3 coins out of nowhere production)
-3 Coins Hangin’…Spotless
-Hangin’ Coins Worldwide
-EZ 5th Dimension
>Closing Remarks
Quality (* * * * *)
I can’t believe the quality in this book! To tell you the truth, these are without a doubt, hands down, THE best illustrations I have ever laid my eyes on in a magic book. In my opinion these were slightly easier to understand than the illustrations in Totally Out Of Control (Chris Kenner). So if you liked those illustrations, then you will like these. Freakin’ kudos to Justin P. Vitti! I think what made these so good though, was how simple they were. THere were no annoying palm lines or shadows or anything like that. FIngers, palms, finger nails, finger tips. SIMPLE! You can focus a lot more on the actual coin placements and where everything is meant to do. Often in this book there are portraits of body moements and placements as well as table displays and midirection moments (I.T.H.C.A.) Good work guys! Oh! And one more thing I want to mention that is a very minor point (but hey, just trying to contribute everything I can towards a great buy), I dropped my copy on it’s corner and the plastic htat is in the cover started to peel open a little bit. Oh, and one more thing lol. This book has one of the most beautiful and visually pleasing covers in magic as well lol. If I wasin a magic shop and saw this on the shelf (it would be in the front), I would be attracted to it immedietly. Good work guys!
Coin Roll Subtlety (* * * *)
This is basically a pretty cool method to coin roll a coin while nested inside your expanded shell. This was originally published by Mike Gallo in his routine B.O.B (and Bill credited him and all that good stuff) While this certainly is NOT the simplest coin item in the book, it is very usefull when you are doing your coin routines with shells. I am pretty sure Bill added this in here to give you a little bit more of a covincer when you begin to do the routines such as Almos’ Frame-ous Ver. 77345 or 3 Coins Hanging + spotless. It will take some practice though, don’t get me wrong!
Citino Rollout (* * * * *)
If you are into coin manipulation in your routines then you are going to love this. This has some kind of subtle drama structured into this little 4 coin flourish. THis is essentially a reverse 4 coin rollout which you might be farmiliar with if you have seen one of Rich Fergusson’s videos that featured this or Joe Jesse’s work with this. It has always been pretty much done the same though. So Bill being the super hero coin guy got to work and created this upsidedown and with a BRAND NEW final display! I got this down VERY quickly so I assume if you have basic knowlege or if you can do the original 4 coin rollout, this will be a cake walk.
Citino Palm Change (* * * *)
This is a bit of a knack, let me start off by telling you that right up front. It will not come simple to you. I got this in about 4 days where I can do it fluently without having to look at my hands or cramping up. However, if you enjoy one hand coin changes that look good (with only one simple discrepancy), then you will be able to do this pretty quick and will have a simple yet effective piece of magic on your hands by using just this on sleight. Basically it is the one hand palm change (palm to palm change as described in a few places) and is based on a few ideas from Bobo’s Modern Coin Magic which was later published in David Roth’s Expert Coin Magic and then adapted by (phew!) Bill Citino. I confidently remember learning the palm to palm change and this is easier.
Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees (* * * * *)
Is honestly worth the price of the book! This is such a simple to do routine and hard hitting as well as both modern and visual. There is only one pretty gutsy sleight in this routine that I have never really been all too comfortable with but I am willing to make exceptions (something I am usualy uncomfortable with). Basically it is a 3 coin production and vanish which is probably unlike anything you have ever seen before. There are other 3 coin vanishes that claim this yet I think this is the best one (yes, it even beats cointwo’s characteristics) If you liked Eric Jone’s “Out With Three” (see review) where the coins appear and vanish at the same time then you are going to LOVE this one. You really DO have to see it to believe it (and believe me, seeing REALLY IS believing in this one!) It looks just like it sounds. No discrepancies. This can be done pretty much impromtu but if you want, Bill writes in a few techniques with a gimmick (not a shell or anything like that) that is pretty cool. On top of all that, this routine uses one of my favorite principles in magic that allows you to have the kind of cleanliness of a shell and makes the clean up MUCH easier! Hope you don’t mind flipping 14 pages for one of the illustrations (I suggest not even wasting your time on it however becuase it is a very simple coin sleight that you probably know and will recognize right away, it is just showing you what it looks like exposed)
Almos’ Frame-ous (* * * *)
I enjoyed this routine very much (wow what a change in pace!) but there was one thing that caused me to take away a star. You need to set up similar to in Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees, but you need to go into your pockets and retrieve a rather strange object ( David Roth begs to differ) which, to me, might make the audience seem suspicous since you went into your pockets (depending on when in your routine you want to do this), then you come out in a sort of strange position and then do something strange, all because they didn’t know what you went to your pockets for. I guess I am sort of picking this apart a little too much or something, but I didn’t go nuts over it, even if it is one of the coolest multiple coin productions I have ever seen.
Almos’ Frame-ous Ver. 77345 (* * * *)
I’m not really sure where to classify this one. It allows you to do pretty much the same thing as the regular Almos’s Frame-ous production, yet this one is a little cleaner because it uses a shell yet to me, is not that much cleaner but I am thinking about the majority of coin magic and do a lot of people, using a shell is cleaner, so I don’t know. I suppose using the shell might make it a little more open and will close that margin of error you might find with coins “talking”. I can tell you this though: If you like Mike Gallo’s “pocket counterfeiter”, then you will like this one.
I.T.H.C.A. (* * * * *)
Has anything gotten below a 4 yet? Anyway, if Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees wasn’t in this book, then THIS would be worth the price of admission (you enter a pretty messed up world once you open this book!) This is an AWESOME in the hands coins across. PRobably the best since Eric Jone’s “Impossible Coins Across” from his lecture notes. There has been a few heated discussions in a few places arguing back and forth about the fist coin going across but I really don’t have a problem with it. Basically the coins go across from your had to the spectator’s hand, the first one apparently just appearing on their palm, the second coin goes when you pull on their thumb and goes pretty much visibly and then leaves you in an awesome position, and the third one goes invisibly. One thing I wasn’t that fond of though, was that it wasn’t the most creative last phases of them all. This routine especially has something particularly pleasing to me. A Kainoa Harbottle/Curtis Kam sleight, but don’t cry momma, it won’t hurt one bit (Why does it seem like I have heard something like that before?)
That’s Impossible! (* * *)
I really hate to give items 3 stars, but I feel that it had to be done. The only reason I took away 2 stars, was because it uses a purse, a half dollar, an english penny, a copper silver coin, a coin clip, a coin rattel, and 2 chinese coins. All to accomplish the simple feat of transposing two objects while being clutched in the spectator’s own fist. I understand this is an impossible effect in the audiences’ minds but to need all of these props to just have an apparent 2 coins and have them switch places (read that back), it is a little unecesary and I was a little bit disapointed with it Bill, sorry, I know you could jsut do better. The effect is a beauty in itself but again, I would’ve accepted this if it used maybe just a duplicate of one coin, some palming, and no gimmick because, afterall, the copper silver coin can be up to $30 for some people, then you need to add on the additional tid bits and little items. Tisk tisk…
Comin’ Outta The Box (* * * * *)
You know, a lot of people don’t take too kindly to change. I was actually relieved in some way to see this routine in here. I can’t recall whether or not I mentioned that pretty much everything in this book can be done all without a table and at chest/eye level, depending on how you perform, and it suitable fro walkaround performers, such as Bill. But this one uses the table to your advantage. Pretty much it is a production of 4 coins, flurry of one, production of a brass box ON THE TABLE, and then a coins across of a sort. I loved this routine because it has that kind of impossible feel to it that lets you relax because the work has been done for you. Not too much to say other than an Okito Box and a just 4 coins. This one’s a worker!
3 Coins Hangin’ (* * * * *)
Based on an effect by Joe Rindfleish from his lecture notes, this is a pretty cool, visual, effective 3 coin production and vanish that have the same kind of technique as “money doesn’t grow on trees”, but this one UNFORTUNATELY utilizes a gaff, oh well. This was a very minor routine to me in some ways, yet not enough to take a star away, Bill deserves it. You of course don’t have everything that “MDGOT” has, yet you still have a solid, professional routine right here. You will also see a variant pop up next.
3 Coins Hangin’…spotless (* * *)
Let me start by saying rihgt up front, that this is one of the most havily gimmicked effects in this book. You require numberous coins, a gimmick, a coin clip etc. While this effect looks really nice, it mihgt not be the most practical being that the coins are produced, vanished, reproduced etc. If you really like effects that are clean and simple (not to mention straight to the point, no redundancy there), then you might just liekt his effect. I personally son’t use many gimmicks in my magic so that’s just not right for me. Also, if you like Eric Jones’ magic (specifically speaking his Oxy Clean Coin Routine), then you will like this one because it leaves you in a similar position as that one. Also, you might be farmiliar with one of Jim Pace’s routines, this one is similar to that one as well.
Hangin’ Coins Worldwide (* * * *)
I really liked this routine. While it utiizes many gimmicks (just as many as 3 Coins Hangin’…spotless), this one to me, looks much better because you can be more flexible with this than a lot of other routines. I typically don’t prefer gimmicks, as you know now, but what is interesting is, because you have different gimmicks being used, you can go into a copper silver, copper/silver/brass, and hanging coins all in one routine, making this perfect for table hopping or walkaround. Just bringing this one up to the table can get you a nice little 5-10 minute set if you know your magic, or, make something up on your own!
EZ 5th Dimension (* * * *)
Is it me or did this start to slack towards the end lol. I have noticed a great deal of gimmicks start to pop up towards the end of this book. I don’t know if Bill organized it that way so people can easily find what they are looking for if they wanted to refer back to this book again in hte future, again, I don’t really know. But what I enjoyed about this routine is that it is much more than a coin trick. It is an experience. A ver gimmicked exprience. It is more than a coin trick, and even if it is gimmicked, the experience makes up for that and it didn’t loose many stars for that. The audience sees productions, vanishes, and changes. A coin is produced and vanished, 2 more are produced, one by one they change, and then vanish in the blink of an eye just as you snap the purse frame shut. It is a prety nice piece of theater, even if it is for walkaround lol.
Well, it’s about time to rap this up. I usually like to end on a few comments and words of wisdom. This book definetly deserved a nice (* * * *). Bill worked very hard on it and he is a ver good friend of mine. He is always open for suggestions and ideas as wel as criticism (so bombard him! lol) I remember when this book was officially published and how much I wanted it. All that time of waiting paid off for sure! Bll Citino is a coin-fu master, woops! Got to go!

The Pocketbook Reviewed by Mark Tirone

Posted by DerekMerdinyan on January 11th, 2009

“The Pocketbook” is a book written by the one and only, Curtis Kam the magnificent amazing incredibly talented awesome coin magician. Yea, all those things. In an attempt to write the future leading book on coin magic, Curtis has not only succeeded in a landslide compared to other books on coin conjuring, but he has also set the expectation level much higher for anybody performing with coins as well as increased entertainment value for all of those people’s audiences by reading this book.

The quality of this book is just unbelievably. If you wanted a good book to keep you busy for a few hours, this is the one to get. Although it is only 83 pages long, this is the pocket sized reference book for anybody even remotely interested in money. Thats right. Money. If you have ever done a coin trick and do not own this book, you are missing out on one fine piece of work here. It is perfectly bound in a nice “Hip pocket mullica wallet” sized book than is destined to travel anywhere with everybody. Consider it (I’m sorry baby, I didn’t mean to refer to you as “it”) a security blanket for magicians. Just imagine that sense of security when in a bar or restaurant situation where you have a few coins on you and you forgot your favorite technique to opening a flipper, or the proper handwashing techniques and ideas. Pshaw, just flip open the book and your set!

Even if you are just starting off in coin magic (or magic, for that matter) this book will help you on a large scale. It is not only the future bible of coin magic, but also an incredible reference book/guide as well as notebook and handbook for coin magicians. If you are just starting, I highly recommend buying this and J.B Bobo’s “Modern Coin Magic” at the same time. If you sat down and read this book at the same time (Good luck at THAT!), you can get much more bang for your buck.

Whether you are a beginner in coin magic, a well seasoned coin mechanic, or even just to support the author, this book will come as a simple pleasure. I am astonished that Curtis would just give this up that easily on a silver platter to the magic community. C’mon man, make us beg for it! I feel much more secure now after reading this book with my magic. I have only been with coins for a good 6 months or so and I feel like I have learned 6 months of good material in 3 days of reading. I look forward to many years of constant referring until the last stitch of binding holding this book together finally breaks and it falls apart and then, oh boy! I get to buy another one to use for many more years.

I can say with every ounce of dignity and manhood in my body, I think I felt a tear drip down my face when I read the last words of this book. On the other side, many of the coin magi who don’t buy this book will feel the slow, painful burn of a heckler in a crowd of 40 on the street during their “perfect” hanging coins routine. No routine is perfect until this book is read and understood for there is no greater pleasure in life than to have all this great material presented in such a direct, simple to read book for only $24.95 at Most of the best information is the most expensive but it pays in the end. Just look at Nathan Kranzo’s “The Gig”. This book is here for us at our disposal for reference and advice. Just imagine sitting on Curtis’ lap and listening to him telling you everything there is to know about coin magic. Yea, thats what is in this book. That whole experience.

So there is absolutely nothing left to say other than a big warm thank you to Curtis. The perfect book. The perfect experience. Thank you.

-Mark Tirone

MAGIC: The Complete Course Reviewed by Mark Tirone

Posted by DerekMerdinyan on December 11th, 2008

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Finally, The LONG AWAITED review for Joshua Jay’s new book, “MAGIC: The complete course”. Before I begin, I discourage anybody who does not like to learn good magic, To please click away. Most people who see this
would insist this book is strictly for beginners. To tell you the truth, I cannot decide whether that is a lie, or just REALLY good beginners magic.

STRUCTURE 5/5 This book was very well put together. The binding was very nice as well as the size and weight of the book. This must way at least 5 pounds. Behind the front cover you will find a DVD which is in a sleeve BOUND TO THE BOOK. He starts wit h a full table of contents then moves on to how to use the book and DVD, Magician slang, introduction, essays, a lesson in deception then the chapters etc.

IMPROMPTU MAGIC 5/5 This is the real beginners section of the book, But it includes some nice tricks for people of all skill levels and interests from magic with coins, cards, ordinary objects, and an analysis of sleight of hand. He teaches some grips, palms, forces, and hand exercises. One of my favorite effects on this entire project, Is one that teaches you how to make a blister completely vanish without a trace impromptu.

DINNER DECEPTIONS 5/5 This is the perfect chapter for anybody who just learned some cool tricks, and is now looking toward performing magic. But still keeping some of the beginner tricks out of it. You arn’t learning how to deal 10 piles of cards and adding and subtracting, But really cool effects like card in bread etc. In this chapter, He goes into lapping beyond belief. You have never seen lapping explained like this. He teaches how to lap salt shakers, bananas, spoons, forks, knives, water bottles, glasses full of liquid etc. Have you ever wanted to change water into wine, Read this section.

THE GREATEST CARD TRICKS OF ALL TIME 5/5 This is a cool chapter because in the very beginning he teaches some standard card sleights but they make you look like a total professional. He has pictures of his hands and each part of his hand is labelled so the viewer knows what he is talking about. In this section he teaches sleights, out of this world, an awesome four ace production, card revelations, poker related tricks, things with the invisible deck,PLUS how to make your own invisible deck with something you probably have just lying around the house and much MUCH more!

KID CONJURING 5/5 This is the section to show your neices, nephews, kids, pets, or even if you are a professional, you can include all of these great tricks into your regular arsenal of effects. He teaches the coin from ear, gumball from ear, gumballs from mouth, a REALLY cool rope through assistants body illusion, the history of sawing in half, a cool finger through shirt illusion, and my FAVORITE effect in the ENTIRE project, The vanishing pet, which uses a super old concept but the effect is so cool and it can be done for anyone in any country, who speaks any language. such a cool, magical effect. I would be willing to spend any price is he released this as a single trick (if it doesent already sell out!)

WORKING MIRACLES 5/5 I know a LOT of professional magicians who also work at an office or have other jobs. This is the chapter for you. It is devoted to magic that can be done at the office and will still fry any audience. Btw, I’m only half way through the book. He does an awesome pen through bill effect that looks just like dough, But is in some way cleaner because you can do it with a borrowed, crisp or wrinkled bill. He has Danny Garcia contribute to this book by adding “Telekineticlip”, Which allows you to psychically straiten out a borrowed paperclip, Then BEND that paperclip without mercy. Mathemagic is also a good effect. This is going to turn a lot of you on right here. The 14 dolllar trick on penguin, Is in here. The magic square. He gives you mnenmonics, and ideas and a full perforomance script here. There are book tests spoon bends, even stick predictions which is cool because everybody in America is linked to the stocks somehow. A really nice effect in this chapter is one where you mix cream and sugar into a coffee, and then extract that cream and sugar so the coffee is now black, the cream is in the creamer, and the lid is sealed back on. Also, A sucker is born every minute is tought in this chapter. One of my other favorite effects is karate clip. You stab your finger through a paperclip mid-air, and then it is all busted up on your fingertip.

MONEY MAGIC 5/5 As you can tell, There really arnt any disadvantages in this book. Joshua goes through some key essential sleights and warm-ups and then a really nice misers dream routine. I really liked the essay he wrote in here on the bullet catch. Don’t even get me started on penny pressed. Just recently, The stretching coin effect has become popular. Jay Leslie is my first known reference, But joshua just killed every other variation of it. He borrows a penny, Then on the spectators palm, flattens the coin, Crushed, expanded, with all the details still on the coin. They can even keep it. Also, a full analysis on the folding quarter and its applications. A really nice one is also where he turns 4 blank slips of paper into four tens and twenties. Also the coin roll and almost all other applications are tought on here,

PARLOR PRESTIDIGITATION 5/5 moving on from the other venues of magic, This is possibly one of the hardest to master, Which is why it is in the back of the book (but still not finished ) COnquering the fear of an audience. Joshua gives the hard won knowledge to making your performances great and making them perfect so that your performances are awesome. The ovation position is a professional working piece, so you can produce a full glass of liquid from your jacket without fear of spilling. The hand scam is an effect we have probably all seen that is really cool, But isn’t really magic., But can still freak out your friends. Josh teaches the torn and restored newspaper in like 6 pages. There is also a brief bio on Gene Anderson who is one of the most renowned Torn and restored newspaper performers today. Yet another book test. Earth shoes is an awesome production where a rock falls out of your shoe. Not just a rock, But a HUGE rock, Now his full professional performance of the linking rings, This is 8 pages long.

TELEPHONE TRICKERY 5/5 This chapter is nothing but over the phone magic. Full proof magic effects you can do any time with your friend thousands of miles away. Does this really need a long explanation to tell you how awesome this chapter is?

GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER 5/5 This is THE hardest chapters in the entire book to master. This is for the people who want to start performing magic seriously and even for the more seasoned professional. We can all learn some good from this. Through each chapter, Joshua picked out some of his favorite tricks and put them together into an act that works for him lasting 20 minutes each. There is stuff with close up, money, cards, parlour, kids, and stage. Each of these sections has a checklist and tips for performance. I don’t think joshua will really mind if you use these, But why should you? You already learned some killer material and enough to go pro. Now he closes the book

OVERALL 5/5 Joshua is one of the best writers and authors of our time. He makes sure everything can be understood with good performance and explanation techniques. The book was well constructed with over 500 illustrations, photographs, and over 300 pages of intricate performance scripts, essays, tricks, and explanations. A MUST buy for anyone interested in magic. You WILL walk away with something that you can use. I know I did.


Now it is time to review the included DVD that Joshua made exclusively for this book. It was a very wise choice because some of these effects need to be seen for the reader to fully appreciate them and the impact that they have on the audience.

THE LAYOUT 5/5 Joshua did a fantastic job laying out this DVD. I don’t think anybody should buy another DVD or even MAKE another DVD until you get this one. This is the best DVD I have ever seen. Everhting from the motion graphics to the transitions to teaching to performing etc. He breaks down each section of the DVD just like his did in the book. Office, cards, money, parlor etc. He performs them in each of the venues like on the street, in an office, durring a live show, at an elementary school. very niiiiiice!

PERFORMANCES 5/5 Should I even bother giving each section a rating? They are all perfect 5. The performances like I said, Are where they are meant to be. In the office, street, show etc. He really connects with the audience and makes them understand magic and what it is really about.

THE TRICKS 5/5 I already mentioned above why I think he made the companion DVD. If you don’t believe some of these tricks will work (and believe me, I was one of them!) he shows you the audience’s reactions and how they respond to each type of performance. Joshua gives the best version of out of this world as well so that is a plus.

THE TEACHING 2/5 JK 5/5 Joshua goes into a bright white room with his table and explains everything step by step with motion graphics and special effects for some of the tricks to get the full impact of it all. He also gives you some tips and ideas for most of these as well. If you have seen the Daniel Garcia project, all of these tricks have some sort of special teaching style. WHat I mean by this is, SOmetimes durring the explanation, Close up explanations appear on the same screan so there are multiple angle shots including from your view, over the shoulder, on the ceiling, close up, far away etc.

OVERALL 5/5 What more is there to say? Josh is an awesome perfomer, a great magician, and he has a keen passion for the art of magic and one of the best practitioners of our time. Nobody beats Joshua Jay. It is just that simple.

Pick this up today at your local bookstore!

Beyond Deception Reviewed by Derek Merdinyan

Posted by DerekMerdinyan on July 17th, 2008

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I’ve read and reviewed quite a few books on magical creativity over the past few months; but of all the ones I’ve read, Tobias Beckwith’s Beyond Deception has easily become my favorite. I think what did it for me is that this particular book provides practical exercises for developing character and creating unique and original presentations for your magic. Creativity is such a nebulous thing and those who feel they *lack* it (while the book suggests otherwise) are going to get a lot more out of their brainstorming secessions if they have a more concrete path set before them to help guide and nurture their thinking process.

Because of the level of practicality this book offers, I’m going to highly recommend it to creativity-challenged magicians. The lessons and chapters provide exercises that you are capable of completing but may challenge you mentally by asking you to step out of your comfort level and expand your range of thinking and ultimately, make your magic better.

Beginning to end, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and have actively used the exercises within to help me solve both magic and non-magic related creative challenges. Beyond Deception should be a permanent fixture on every magician’s drawing board.

If you are a magic dealer and are interested in carrying this product, you can contact Murphy’s Magic Supplies at 916 853 9292 or visit them on the web at

Osterlind Trilogy Reviewed by Derek Merdinyan

Posted by DerekMerdinyan on April 13th, 2008

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This is a must read. I thoroughly enjoyed the Osterlind Trilogy. There is a lot of wisdom in here that all magicians need. The advice is simple and practical to apply.
Overall, a fairly light read for a book on this subject matter.

None :)

Bottom Line:
Start shopping for a copy for your library.

If you are a magic dealer and are interested in carrying this product, you can contact Murphy’s Magic Supplies at 916 853 9292 or visit them on the web at

Transformations Reviewed by Derek Merdinyan

Posted by DerekMerdinyan on April 8th, 2008

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Teaches a few effects with the emphasis of economy of actions and protecting your methods through natural actions.

The idea is to take your simple tricks and make them magical. That means buying a packet trick and having the creativity to make the story or the effect truly worth performing.

The main focus here is on card magic; and while it is very well covered, I wish the author would have provided more examples of non-card magic.

Bottom Line:
This is one of those books that needs to be in every worker’s and creator’s library.

If you are a magic dealer and are interested in carrying this product, you can contact Murphy’s Magic Supplies at 916 853 9292 or visit them on the web at