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Strange Magic

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3.63  ·  Rating Details ·  243 Ratings  ·  41 Reviews
A MAN HIDING FROM A TERRIBLE PAST…

Wilson Kemp is a man living a lie in Billington, Pennsylvania. He's been in hiding for a long time, running from a dreadful secret that has forced him to change his name, move to this small secluded town, and abandon what had once been a stellar career. Once, he'd been a talented escape artist on the brink of fame and fortune, but now he's
...more
ebook, 322 pages
Published January 2013 by EnemyOne (first published 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Vicki
Nov 16, 2013 Vicki rated it it was amazing
First off, I'll apologise as I am rubbish at writing reviews but i feel compelled to write one about this book as its one of the best horror books I've read in a long time!
I won't say much about the plot but it gathers momentum and i was dying to find out who the Stranger was and what nasty little secrets he was keeping..
Gord Rollo is a brilliant author, his style of writing is very direct and he gets to the nitty gritty rightaway whilst at the same time painting a picture with his words and des
...more
Steve Vernon
Jan 09, 2010 Steve Vernon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
A simple but fun read that gave me the feeling that I had woken up in the middle of a pleasingly cheesy Grade B Roger Corman directed horror movie. A nifty twist at the end kept me guessing. Definitely a beach read...too bad it's the middle of January.

Steve
Pagetranquility
Sep 06, 2015 Pagetranquility rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first half of this book does an excellent job of developing it's main character, yet leaving most about him a mystery. The lead up to the second half builds an almost frustrating anticipation as to what the secret is that the whole book is centered around. When the explanations start coming they are so captivating the story takes on an all new exciting energy which whisks you away along twists and turns in the plot that you will not be able to predict. There are psychologically disturbing ...more
Monster
Surprising, disturbing, and sometimes heart wrenching, Strange Magic is an ambitious tale that follows Wilson Kemp through the despair of his many failures and the bitter depths of alcoholism. Kemp is wonderfully wrought, a completely broken character who is at once easily pitied. Kemp’s life has spiraled out of control. He is suffering through a broken marriage, substance abuse, and the weight of a tragic past. Rollo masterfully traverses this fractured landscape, dragging the reader easily ...more
Matt R.
May 08, 2010 Matt R. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, 2010
Strange Magic is a good dose of horror and a creepy tale of revenge. A small family is terrorized by the past of Wilson Kemp, a former magician fighting evil and personal struggles. I always enjoyed watching magicians like Doug Henning, David Copperfield and more recently Criss Angel and this book reminded me of magic nostalgia. There are some good twists in the story and it is hard to put down. I am looking forward to Rollo's new book this fall.
James
Jun 14, 2013 James rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gord Rollo's twisted vision of magic tricks will keep you on the edge of your seat. He turns something innocent into a non stop story of horror and dread.

This was a great read! Gord proves once again why he is one of the best in his business.

A+++
Terry Weyna
Jun 10, 2013 Terry Weyna rated it it was ok
Reading Strange Magic made me think deeply about a number of issues I doubt Gord Rollo intended me to be thinking about. I wasn’t pondering whether good and evil are entirely human or whether there is a supernatural agency at work in some forms of evil (and good); I wasn’t thinking about addiction, its causes and cures; I wasn’t thinking about the redemptive power of love. Instead, I was thinking about whether a book can be considered good when it has a decent story but is poorly written, with ...more
Rhonda
Feb 02, 2010 Rhonda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, 2009
Gord Rollo's latest release, Strange Magic, tells the story of former magician Wilson Kemp. Wilson has been trying for years to escape his past, going as far as changing his name, moving, and giving up his career as a magician. His wife and daughter know nothing of his past life, but unfortunately, his past has finally caught up with him and he may not be able to keep it hidden any longer. Someone in town known as "the Stranger" is killing both humans and animals, leaving messages at the scene ...more
Abactor
Aug 03, 2013 Abactor rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
"grindy" Jake
Jul 08, 2010 "grindy" Jake rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had been looking for a grand horror novel; something that will chill me to the bone, something that will get me legitamately creeped out. Something that will pull me in and drag me through the very depths of hell sealed between its pages. "Strange Magic" quenched my thirst.

Wilson Kemp, a desperate recovering alcoholic, is struggling to pull his life together after years of living at the bottom of a bottle. Gord gives his character much life and detail, constructing a very believable protagonis
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Lilian
Jan 30, 2014 Lilian rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
The idea behind it was good, it could have been very entertaining. However the sheer volume of basic grammatical and stylistic mistakes made it a tough read. The writing was just plain bad and obviously no editor had ever come close to this book. It's unfortunate because it might have been a decent story. However, things like possessives instead of plurals (seriously, what is with people adding apostrophes every time a word ends in "s"?), the inappropriate capitalization (in the Maple tree), ...more
Tressa
Mar 01, 2010 Tressa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, 2010
I'm a solid fan of Gord Rollo's, and while this book is an enjoyable horror read, it's not as good as the more complex Crimson or the fabulous character-driven Jigsaw Man.

I agree with another reviewer who said he couldn't get into the characters. They weren't as fleshed out as I like my characters to be, but for some reason a lot of horror stories are more into getting on with the gory stuff than slowly building the characters.

All in all, I did enjoy this story and read it in two days and was e
...more
Bandit
Jun 16, 2011 Bandit rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like magic and magicians. I liked Gord Rollo's Jigsaw Man and Crimson. Of course, I liked this book. The writing is very solid, not so much of a "Wow, look at that exquisitely crafted sentence"" factor, but good fast paced story with sympathetic characters, suspense, horror, occasional gore and a few genuinely disturbing moments. Very good read, I highly recommend it.
Rebecca McNutt
This chilling story features psychological mayhem, written with realistic characters, unforgettable imagery and set in beautiful rural Pennsylvania. It's a creepy and very well-written novel.
Tammy
Jul 23, 2010 Tammy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, ill
Really 3.5 stars. I enjoy Rollo's writing - smooth, seamless, and a fast-paced read.
Sean McBride
Oct 27, 2016 Sean McBride rated it it was ok
Yet another October Halloween book and another disappointment. I have come to understand that this is the problem with the Leisure Horror books, that because they are paperback dime store novels (meaning that the authors churn them out because of the publisher's crazy deadlines), they never really cross over into scary. The authors tend to rely on gore instead of creating a truly horrific environment. So I still am on a search to get to a great, truly, scary book in October. The bonuses of this ...more
Michael Brookes
Nov 17, 2013 Michael Brookes rated it liked it
his is a fun read, it starts with a mysterious stranger, a man of darkness hunting his foe who has hidden himself away for many years. The man he hunts is haunted by the same memories that drive the hunter, but instead of sinister dreams of revenge he has decended into drinking and misery.

The book starts brilliantly, the glimspes of the dark man's psyche are very well done and portray a very sinister individual with an almost casual propensity for violence. The sections following his path are a
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Crystal Rafuse
Aug 27, 2013 Crystal Rafuse rated it really liked it
I went into this book having downloaded it as a freebie some time ago, and therefore, knowing next-to-nothing about it (aka, having very little expectations). That being said, I was very pleasantly surprised by how truly horrifying this little gem turned out to be!

I admit, when I started, I was like "really? A book about magicians? Lame."

But I was wrong. Oh, so wrong!

Not only does this book have an element of magic to it (his name is CRISS Angel, by the way, not Chris! As a once-huge fan, just t
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Steve Isaak
Feb 04, 2013 Steve Isaak rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Strange Magic is a mostly solid, fast-paced and entertaining horror novel from a talented author whose ability to streamline moments splatteriffic ooziness and bloodless creepiness into a fun, focused read.

My one nit with the book is that Magic’s ending is too sequel friendly. In contrast with the intelligence, grace and overall effectiveness of what precedes it, Magic’s clichéd finish might as well been that of a Goosebumps book.

Magic is worth checking out from the library – perhaps worth owni
...more
Vicki
Dec 24, 2012 Vicki rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First off, I'll apologise as I am rubbish at writing reviews but i feel compelled to write one about this book as its one of the best horror books I've read in a long time!
I won't say much about the plot but it gathers momentum and i was dying to find out who the Stranger was and what nasty little secrets he was keeping..
Gord Rollo is a brilliant author, his style of writing is very direct and he gets to the nitty gritty rightaway whilst at the same time painting a picture with his words and des
...more
Sarah
Dec 28, 2014 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Peter
Aug 06, 2016 Peter rated it it was amazing
A stranger has been looking for Wilson Kemp for a long time. The stranger wants revenge on Kemp for something that he did in the past. Kemp a former escape artist, was on the verge of making the big time. That is when everything crumbled around him and he has been running ever since. He was haunted so much by his past, that he had to change his name. Kemp's wife and daughter had know idea of the secret that he kept locked up inside. Kemp turned to alcohol to easy the pain but it only made ...more
Kindle Lover
Sep 16, 2014 Kindle Lover rated it it was ok
Disappointing. I like Rollo, but Strange Magic never hit for me. Some of the imagery was pretty good (the backyard spying, the descent down the stair). But the characters were a bit much at times. Unfortunately the author made it a point to refer to the protagonist's daughter as "precious" or some other overused synonym so many times that it actually turned me against the daughter. Every description of the girl was so syrupy sweet that it became hard to read.

There are formatting issues and typos
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Pamela
Jul 24, 2011 Pamela rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Being a fan of Gord Rollo's two other books, "Jigsaw Man" and "Crimson", I was really looking forward to reading his new book. I was somewhat disappointed. Not with the story but because I didn't find it scary at all. No goose bumps or chills. I thought it was more of a mystery book than horror. I did enjoy the story of Wilson Kemp, the alcoholic who can never do right and has been hiding a secret for over 20 years. I actually had a good laugh while reading chapter 2 "The Clown" where he was ...more
Dave
Jul 25, 2014 Dave rated it it was amazing
Boy did I find this book to be so refreshingly diverting on several levels. A once rising through the ranks magician is currently living in a rut due to a tragic event. What that event is isn't disclosed until much later, which left me begging for it to be revealed. And I wasn't bored with the ride along the way. Twists and turns intelligently conceived lead to a terrific climax as an evil force seeks unwarranted revenge on the troubled yet protagonist main character. No gliding towards an ...more
Dawna
May 18, 2014 Dawna rated it really liked it
I love reading books by Gord Rollo! The stories and tales he tells are so different from the masses that you cant help but be caught up in them! Strange Magic is no different! It packs a punch with a little bit of everything, and leaves you breathless. This is the second book Ive read by Rollo, and cant wait to start on the third that I already have downloaded. If you are looking for a good book, different from everything else out there, and with a whole lot of creepy involved in the story, look ...more
DJMikeG
Good, fun, quick book. Rollo had my expectations very high after his excellent debut "The Jigsaw Man". This one fell short of those expectations, but its still a good read. Whoever edited this book didn't do a very good job, there were many grammatical and spelling errors. Don't hold that against Rollo, however, its a copy editors fault.
James Campbell
Sep 23, 2013 James Campbell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The was a very fast paced, exciting story and kept me interested the whole way through. The main character, as flawed as he is, was well thought up. This was my first, of more to come, reads of Gord Rollo. This has a little bit of everything, blood, gore, torn apart family, fight for survival, and a touch of the supernatural!
A.R.
Nov 26, 2012 A.R. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Once again, Gord Rollo has amped-up the creeps. This one's a slow starter, but if you stick with it, it picks up after page 125 or so, telling the story of a seemingly-hopeless alcoholic whose infamous past of magic has come back to haunt him . . . but perhaps save him, too.
Eric Camarillo
Sep 07, 2014 Eric Camarillo rated it did not like it
Shelves: vampires-horror
Characterization was kind of flat throughout and the dialogue is simply unbelievable. It's an interesting idea, though. Not that scary, really, and I found myself skimming the majority of the pages just so I could finish it and move onto something else.
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Gord Rollo was born in St. Andrews, Scotland, but now lives in Ontario, Canada. His short stories and novella-length work have appeared in many professional publications throughout the genre and his novels include: The Jigsaw Man, Crimson, Strange Magic, and Valley Of The Scarecrow. His work has been translated into several languages and his titles are currently being adapted for audiobooks.

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