I remember as a kid watching the Amazing Dunninger and being mesmerized, convinced he was on the level in his mind reading (he was in fact a magician). Of course, I was enthralled by Batman (which reverberates here in the lead Peter Warlock's tragic past), Superman and the like. I got wrapped up in UFOs, even going to the very first convention in NYC, as well as the Loch Ness monster and the like. As I got older, I became more skeptical, finally dismissing just about all of it. Still, it's always nice to go back to a time when I did buy into things like that, "the naiveté of youth" I guess. There seems to be a desire in many (most?) of us to want to believe in the implausible such as psychic powers and the like, so it stands to reason that novels like this will always be popular.
Author Swain is, I understand, one of the foremost amateur magicians in the country, whose books on sleight of hand effects he's created are often commanding high prices on eBay, and which magicians in Las Vegas have performed. I sought out some of his amazing Youtubes and found that he was now truly the "voice" of his protagonist and it somehow made it more entertaining.
Besides, I still wonder: do some magicians have a very secret society, and when they get together they are actually able to levitate things, perform real miracles? Of course not, but it's fun to think maybe some can.