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The Bullet Trick

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3.39 of 5 stars 3.39  ·  rating details  ·  466 ratings  ·  64 reviews
Crime Writers Association award winner Louise Welsh follows up her hit artworld noir The Cutting Room with a slick literary suspense thriller set among the decadent domains of contemporary Berlin, Glasgow, and London. Meet William Wilson, a foundering so-called mentalist, conjurer, and above all — despite frequently being the opening act for strippers — a master performer. ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published July 10th 2007 by Canongate U.S. (first published 2006)
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(showing 1-30 of 730)
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Richard Kunzmann
The Bullet Trick is Louise Welsh’s second novel, which deftly follows up on her first The Cutting Room. Like her first book, this is a story that shoots for the gothic and carnivalesque, but it doesn’t quite hit the mark.

William Wilson is a magician on the last leg of a faltering career when an old friend asks him to do a second-rate show in a London strip club. What happens during the show drags Wilson into the violent aftermath of a dusty missing person’s case.

The story is set in three cities
...more
Carole
I picked up this book from my library, the picture first caught my eye and then the title, and when I read the blurb and noticed that some of it was set in Berlin ...... I was travelling to Berlin soon ....... I just had to borrow it. And I'm really pleased that I did as I absolutely loved it.

The story starts in present day Glasgow and travels back and forth in time to Berlin and London narrated by William Wilson, Mentalist and Illusionist, who was

the warm-up act for a whole trough of comedians
...more
kingshearte
When down-at-heel conjurer William Wilson gets booked for a string of cabaret gigs in Berlin, he is hoping his luck is on the turn. There were certain spectators from his last show he'd rather forget.

Amongst the showgirls and tricksters of Berlin's scandalous underground William can abandon his heart, his head and, more importantly, his past. But secrets have a habit of catching up with him, and the line between the act and reality starts to blur.

Bringing the seedy glamour of the burlesque sce
...more
_inbetween_
Good book. I have to accept that despite turning my back on "literature" after my teens, I do need "real" books. I'm not actually at home with mainstream books and probably never will be. I was looking for what I want and need in genre fiction, but a good book always has elements of mystery in it, a real book deals with sex in some way at some point. Welsh does so very obliquely in this novel (I'm not sure how one reviewer characterised the protagonist, and I'm hesitant to judge on his reaction ...more
Val
Louise Welsh was born in London, England on 1 Februaury 1965. She is now based in Glasgow, Scotland where she studied history at Glasgow University. She then established a second-hand bookshop, where she traded in books for many years.

Her first novel was The Cutting Room which won several awards, including the 2002 John Creasey Award, by the Crime Writers’ Association. Also, it was jointly awarded the 2002 First Book of the Year Award by the Saltire Society Scottish. Ms Welsh was granted a Rober
...more
Kirsty Darbyshire

I'd put this somewhere on the up side of average. A bit slow in the beginning and not an author I'm going to race around looking for, though perhaps one I will read again. So it quite surprised me when I found her mentioned online as one of the big new names taking crime writing into the literary bit of mainstream fiction. I liked the plot and some of the characters (bit players better drawn than the major parts) but didn't think the writing was anything to get excited about.

J
Disappointing because I loved The Cutting Room so much. The main character just didn’t have what the other guy had.
Thom (T.E.)
The setup is great--not innovative, but wonderfully executed: a small-time magician from Scotland gets some gigs he can scratch by on, if he'll go to Berlin. There he finds the Wehrmacht atmosphere that seems to be a permanent part of the city. His assistant might be more of a Mata Hari than a Sally Bowles. Eventually, the past comes calling in a way that's common to noirs and gothics. It takes s stretch in fever-dream before the author serves up a satisfactory return to relatively concrete real ...more
Maddy
PROTAGONIST: William Wilson, illusionist/conjurer
SETTING: London, Berlin, Glasgow
SERIES: Standalone
RATING: 3.0

The one thing that you can count on when you pick up a noir mystery book is that most of what happens in the book will be washed in darkness and fringed in black. Certainly, THE BULLET TRICK fits in that category. Although you might think that a book featuring a magician and conjurer would be somewhat light (you know, the rabbits in the hats and all that), BULLET most definitely doesn't
...more
Karen
Stage magician William Wilson lives a pretty hand to mouth type of existence as an opening act. In these way past vaudeville days, a stage magician is not really all that in demand. He also doesn't get many gigs at retirement parties for policemen, but Detective Inspector James Montgomery has the nickname of “The Magician” and somebody thought Wilson's appearance would be funny. The stage show certainly goes okay, but afterwards the reason why he's the particular magician asked to do the gig is ...more
Wwmrsweasleydo
This is very atmospheric and very cleverly written. The central character is not entirely sympathetic, but he is interesting, engaging and witty.

The story is told in three timelines in three different places, all of which converge by the end. Although not a straightforward chronology, it never got confusing. Picking up the emotions of the setting was immediate and I never forgot where I was in any of the plots.

Two conclusions needed to be reached and the reader was constantly aware that they w
...more
Ashland Mystery Oregon
Conjurer, magician - William Wilson specializes in the slight of hand. He's pretty much down and out in London and then he gets a gig in Berlin fronting for strippers. Welsh is wonderful, showing the seedy side of Berlin and the despicable side of her characters. Redemption? Innate goodness? Innocence? William Wilson has some naivete somewhere, but he's the only one, and of course as is noir, he's the loser.

--Ashland Mystery

Jo
I read this book in 2013 and it's still on my mind. Really loved the character of the mysterious magician William Wilson, and the infuriating femme fatale, Sylvie. The narrative switched time between London, Glasgow, and Germany, and kept me hooked. Fantastic character detail.
Another novel which I hope gets made in to a film.
da-wildchildz
I turned the corner and started to walk towards it, the memory of Sylvie’s smile shining sweet and sad in my head.

Last line from The Bullet Trick by Louise Welsh. I was slightly apprehensive about reading this after Naming the Bones but I think every author deserves a second chance. Anyway, I’m shallow and was drawn to the title and cover.

The Bullet Trick started promisingly with some interesting if depressing characters but like Naming the Bones, the story dragged and my attention wandered. We
...more
Johanne
I enjoyed this book. The central character isn't an attractive character but he is interesting. I was rather disappointed with the ending but I could see why it ended that way. May well try another of Louise Welsh's novels as I liked her writing style - The Cutting Room seems to be well received so is a possibility.
Edwin Battistella
In Bullett Trick, Louise Welsh introduces us to William Wilson, a desolate magician and habitué of sleezy cabarets and cheap bars. And he’s got some questionable friends. But Wilson is a kind of an innocent as well–a Scottish Holden Caulfield, I thought, who once got caught in a friend’s crime. That misstep dogs him in a new life in Berlin, until he is finally offered a way out. Welsh make sleeze fascinating and Wilson’s reactions reaffirm his—and our—humanity.
Tanya Korval
There's a lot I liked about The Bullet Trick. The world Welsh creates is detailed and fascinating and the down-on-his-luck magician is a compelling character. Later in the book, especially back in Glasgow, there was something that just didn't quite work for me: maybe it was just too grim. It felt like it could have done with just a few more moments of hope to offset the 'everything's depraved and corrupt and hopeless' feel - without that, it got just slightly wearing. Doesn't stop it being an ea ...more
Cheryl
Louise Welsh has a knack for writing kind of scummy characters that you can't help but caring about. William Wilson is a down on his luck conjurer, that more than one time, performs a bit of sleight of hand for a quick pay off. But as with everything else if it seems to good to be true...it is.

Helen
This is a crime thriller/mystery with a difference. Louise Welsh's writing has been described as genre meeting literacy and I would agree with that. The hero of the novel is dishevelled, drunk, in debt, alone and flits between Glasgow and London. His occupation is illusionist/magician and he lands a job in a seedy club in Berlin where he meets the strange Sylvie and Uncle Dix. The book is dark with snatches of humour but little sunshine. Probably on par with her The Cutting Room and recommended.
Paige
Sep 23, 2007 Paige rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone stuck on a plane for more than 10 hours
Purchased with the last of my Euros from a bookshop in the Munich airport during a layover from Italy back to San Francisco, I wasn't expecting too much. Luckily, The Bullet Trick was just interesting enough to keep me reading for the better part of the 11 hour flight. Was it worth paying almost double what I would've paid in the states? No. Was it worth not having to watch the in-flight movie ("Wild Hogs" if memory serves.) Definitely.
Hannah Wingfield
I wanted to like this book – and I loved Louise Welsh’s debut novel, The Cutting Room – but I was left with a feeling of nothing but disappointment once I got to the end. Perhaps because The Cutting Room instilled within me high expectations, or perhaps just because it just wasn’t very good.

... [Read the rest of my review here: https://whathannahread.wordpress.com/...]
Jevron McCrory
This was an interesting book. It felt a little directionless. It took me awhile to find out what was the main push of the story. I can't really understand how the main character, an otherwise shady selfish character, became so focused on doing the right thing here. It aims high, but falls short of it's promise in my opinion. However, I did love Ms Welsh's prose so I will be reading her other books.
Estibaliz79
3 1/2
Historia interesante con su toque de magia (ilusionismo), gran ritmo y buenos personajes. La estructura narrativa, alternando escenarios y tiempos (pasado y presente) no resulta para nada confusa, lo cual habla bien de las dotes como escritora de Welsh. Una trama de género negro bastante cinematográfica, y que casi evoca a un detective clásico a lo Marlowe, sin ser esa la esencia de su protagonista.
Ian Simpson
The Glasgow patter is authentic and amusing, and the seedy dives of London and Berlin are well evoked. The author succeeds in getting inside the head of a male conjuror with a thirst. I felt the plot was a bit weak and the author should know when the death penalty was abolished for murder. Despite these weaknesses (as I saw them) I really enjoyed this and would happily try another of her books.
oOSarahOo
I had never heard of Louise Welsh or The Cutting Room before reading this book and I can't say I was terribly impressed. Actually, I struggled throughout the book and almost gave up on it. The main problem for me was that I didn't like any of the characters and that I found the atmosphere of the book simply too depressing. The book isn't badly written but I can't say I enjoyed it.
Nancy
This has all the element of great noir fiction: a broke down-on-his-luck protagonist, a woman he knows that he really shouldn't get involved with, a dark and seedy setting, violence, and secrets. A has-been magician makes one mistake after another, until he is finally drawn into the underworld when a glimmer of redemption shows itself. Remember, illusion is all about misdirection.
Gareth
Louise Welsh writes beautifully, and she's very adept at realistically capturing the seedy underworld and painting characters that you can understand if never completely empathise with. This said, there is a slight pattern emerging - there are plot parallels with The Cutting Room, for instance. Nonetheless, if you like noir crime fiction, then it's some of the best around.
Sandra
Thoroughly enjoyed, more than expected from the blurb - Louise Welsh is a beautiful writer, imaginative, creates wonderfully bizarre characters who do thrillingly exciting things. I now need to re-read it to see if I can work out how she does it, to see if I can learn some writing lessons (but suspect I'll just finish being sucked into the story again)
Tiina
From the very start, it was clear that things had gone wrong for the main character. There was a sad and bleak feel about him. The book was interesting enough but not uplifting, which I prefer. That's why it only got two stars from me.

But hey, things picked up somewhat towards the end, so there's no need to quit reading in the middle.
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After studying history at Glasgow University, Louise Welsh established a second-hand bookshop, where she worked for many years. Her first novel, The Cutting Room, won several awards, including the 2002 Crime Writers’ Association John Creasey Memorial Dagger, and was jointly awarded the 2002 Saltire Society Scottish First Book of the Year Award. Louise was granted a Robert Louis Stevenson Memorial ...more
More about Louise Welsh...
The Cutting Room The Girl on the Stairs Tamburlaine Must Die A Lovely Way to Burn Naming The Bones

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