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The Bullet Trick Paperback – 1 Feb 2007

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books; New Ed edition (1 Feb. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841958905
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841958903
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.4 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 60,364 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Before becoming a full-time writer Louise Welsh ran a second hand bookshop. She has been the recipient of several awards including the John Creasey Memorial Dagger, the Saltire first book award and in 2007 was included in Waterstones list of twenty-five authors for the future. She has also written for radio and stage and in 2009 produced a libretto for Scottish Opera's 5:15 series. She lives in Glasgow. You can learn more about Louise at www.louisewelsh.com

Product Description

Amazon Review

Sometimes an author can make a considerable mark with their first book (as Louise Welsh did with The Cutting Room and almost immediately lose momentum with their next outing. The Bullet Trick is proof that Welsh is no one-trick pony, and this highly entertaining (if, at times, baffling) novel will be gratefully received by those who like their fiction eccentric and unabashed--Welsh doesn’t shy away from presenting us with the more extreme forms of human behaviour, sexual or otherwise.

The protagonist here is a Glaswegian conjurer who has seen better days. Those who know their literature of the Gothic (and Louise Welsh is certainly of that number!) will no doubt spot that the author has christened her anti-hero William Wilson--the same name, in fact, as the luckless hero of the Edgar Allen Poe tale of sinister duality. Welsh’s Wilson is desperate to escape from his crushing existence in Glasgow, and jumps at the chance to perform his conjuring tricks in the cabarets of Berlin. Leaving behind people who he most definitely wants out his life in this free and easy foreign city seems like the best move of his career. But Welsh implies that (like the Poe character with whom he shares his name), Wilson’s real problems lie within himself, with the external danger he encounters a manifestation of the sickness in his own soul.

If the above makes The Bullet Trick sound like a depressing read, nothing could be further from the truth. This is exuberant stuff, floridly plotted and crammed full of the kind of over-the-top characters that we encounter far too little these days in most parochial fiction. It's also worth noting the Welsh's second novel could not be more different from its predecessor, and if she is going to come up with something quite distinct with every new book, that alone is going to mark her out from most of her contemporaries.

--Barry Forshaw --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

'Louise Welsh draws us into the half-light existence of cabaret performers in The Bullet Trick.' -- Vogue

'The Bullet Trick is both funny and tragic, with an extraordinarily gripping plot and a wonderful cast of shady characters.' -- Daily Mirror

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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Durston TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 2 Aug. 2006
Format: Hardcover
Welsh's third novel is a really good offering.

William Wilson is a struggling magician who gets caught up in a missing person's and double murder case which he feels compelled to investigate.

The novel is set in three locations; London,Berlin and Glasgow. The structure is interesting as the novel slips backwards and forwards in time, however it remains easy to keep up with and more intriguing as a result.

The themes are similar to those we saw in her first novel 'The Cutting Room'; perversion, murder, intrigue and the darker side of life. Yet having sections of the book set in Berlin on the Burlesque circuit give it a Cabaret-esque feel. It's gritty without ever being gratuitous.

Really worth a read if you enjoyed The Cutting Room, but I did deduct one star for the ending which I felt was a bit of a let down.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Durston TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 5 Sept. 2006
Format: Paperback
Welsh's third novel is a really good offering.

William Wilson is a struggling magician who gets caught up in a missing person's and double murder case which he feels compelled to investigate.

The novel is set in three locations; London,Berlin and Glasgow. The structure is interesting as the novel slips backwards and forwards in time, however it remains easy to keep up with and more intriguing as a result.

The themes are similar to those we saw in her first novel 'The Cutting Room'; perversion, murder, intrigue and the darker side of life. Yet having sections of the book set in Berlin on the Burlesque circuit give it a Cabaret-esque feel. It's gritty without ever being gratuitous.

Really worth a read if you enjoyed The Cutting Room, but I did deduct one star for the ending which I felt was a bit of a let down.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Richard Kunzmann on 23 May 2009
Format: Paperback
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 - Glasgow, London and Berlin - and Welsh effortlessly shifts between locations without losing the reader. Her depiction of these places and Wilson's burlesque underground world is commendable, while the quirky showmen and grifters he meets along the way are appealing, if not memorable.

Louise Welsh's writing is concise, and her style is playful in a way that makes the language itself alluring. In places the novel drags a bit, but the only real disappointment is William Wilson's eventual show-down with the killer hunting him. One is left with a sense that the back story was more powerful than William Wilson's awakening as an unlikely hero. Taken as a whole, it's a fine read to pass the time, but chances are you won't remember the details a week from now.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By York8500 on 7 April 2007
Format: Paperback
I like Louise Walsh, the Cutting room was excellent and Tamburlaine Must Die intriguing. This novel is in the same style as the Cutting Room, and if you liked that, then this is worth a read.

I found the novel an easy read, and perhaps less dark and tense than previous novels, also it is a tad transparent; the ending I think was reasonably obvious, so there is loss of stars for that. But the story on the whole is good, if not a tad rushed at the end; the tension and suspense that was palpable earlier in the novel is dissipated a tad too quickly for my liking. Rankin is probably better at the tension and drawing this out as long as possible.

The main characters are good though and most are believable; although the police officers appear flat, perhaps this a problem that Walsh needs to look at; in the Cutting Room the secondary players in the story had no development.

On the whole I am glad I read this; but no prizes this time.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Traveler and Reader on 5 Mar. 2007
Format: Paperback
Make no mistake, Louise Welsh is a very good and intelligent author. She creates sympathetic characters and brings an underlying eroticism to her story-telling. These factors combine to make the book a page turner. The problem is that I couldn't suspend disbelief. The plotting isn't tight enough and the resolution of the various plots is particularly weak.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Keen Reader TOP 50 REVIEWER on 20 Jan. 2015
Format: Paperback
This was the third published novel by this author, but only the second by her that I have read so far. I thoroughly enjoyed this read, but I can understand why readers may not. The story moves between Glasgow/London in the present, and back to the protagonist’s past from about a year previous in Glasgow and Berlin; the chapters move us ever forward from his past to the present at the end of the novel where both threads meet up and converge. The story is told by William Wilson, a conjuror who has given up on ever expecting to become rich and famous from his calling, and who finds himself all too easily resorting to drink and bad habits, using what money he gains from gigs in seedy nightclubs or entertainment joints. At a low point in his life he is booked for a gig at a nightclub which is to be held for a retiring policeman; and it’s there that his life goes from bad to worse. The story in this book is William’s tale from that night.

I found William a character who could all too easily exist in this world of ours; depressed and lonely, living from hand to mouth, cynical and bitter, and jaded by his experience of life. The pit he finds himself being drawn to is, if anything, even worse than the life he has been living up to now, and he makes a last desperate attempt for some kind of redemption before it’s all too late. The settings of the book are depressed, dirty, seedy and show all the underbellies of modern towns that we would prefer to think didn’t exist. But the story itself is a real one; of one man and his clinging to some form of humanity in an inhuman environment. A gritty and disturbing story, I found myself totally engrossed in William’s life, and the story as told by himself, using his own dialect and experiences. Very well written, and well paced, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and hoped that I never found myself in any of the circumstances that William did.
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