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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another good offering
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...
Published on 2 Aug 2006 by Sarah Durston

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It went somewhere ... then fell down.
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...
Published on 23 May 2009 by Richard Kunzmann


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another good offering, 2 Aug 2006
By 
Sarah Durston (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Bullet Trick (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
4.0 out of 5 stars Another good offering, 5 Sep 2006
By 
Sarah Durston (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Bullet Trick (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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It went somewhere ... then fell down., 23 May 2009
By 
This review is from: The Bullet Trick (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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ultimately unsatisfying, 5 Mar 2007
This review is from: The Bullet Trick (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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A step down from the Cutting Room, 7 April 2007
This review is from: The Bullet Trick (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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Thrilling Gothic Mystery, 20 Mar 2010
By 
Mrs. C. Colbert (Blackburn, Lancashire, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Bullet Trick (Hardcover)
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 and stand ups. The guy nobody came to see."

When his agent sends him to a London club for a gig he somehow gets mixed up in a missing persons mystery, involving the police and blackmail, and where, shortly after, two men are found shot to death, he decides it would be a good idea to disappear and take another job in a cabaret club in Berlin....... but, unfortunately, his troubles have only just begun. As the chapters alternate between the different cities and the different times, I loved the way Louise Welsh built up the suspense, we knew something terrible had happened to William earlier but the clues are slowly dragged out and the story never slows or gets boring.

Even though William is not the most endearing of characters, he drinks too much, smokes too much, and at the beginning of the book he gambles too much, but his witty and dry humour had me laughing out loud a couple of times and I found myself liking him more and more as his life starts to unravel in the darkly gothic world of glamour and magic.

The descriptions of his illusionist acts were fascinating, all the various larger than life characters were well-defined and I was totally engrossed from start to finish.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Meine Damen und Herren. Mesdames et Messieurs....", 6 Aug 2007
By 
Claptout (Shetland, U.K.) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Bullet Trick (Paperback)
The Bullet Trick was BBC Radio Scotland's Book Club book of the month earlier in the year and having coincidently watched Caberet on DVD just a few days before I found myself a copy....What a great read!

Louise Welsh has crafted a seedy and gritty novel whose main characters I had an instant empathy with. It's a story that gains it's own pace before exploding into a surprise double ending.

The book evokes a certain Scottishness, with nod to Chandler's loner PI's and Caberet's theatrical review, that I really enjoyed.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Louise Welsh - The Bullet Trick, 1 July 2006
By 
RachelWalker "RachelW" (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Bullet Trick (Hardcover)
Welsh's second novel, remarkably structured and just as grimy and atmospheric as her first, comes four years after her debut. But if it that's how long it takes to write a novels of this quality, then I'm happy.

The protagonist this time is a down-and-out conjurer of true Poe nomenclature, William Wilson. Performing a show for the retirement of a police officer - Wilson knows he's only audience fodder before the stripper turns up and works a different kind of magic - gets him into more trouble than he could possibly have imagined when he agrees to do a favour for a friend and snatch back an incriminating document from one of the policemen.

At first William has no inkling of the ramifications of the favour, and when he's offered a string of cabaret gigs in Berlin, he accepts and jets off. In Berlin William is free to abandon his past, and even to some extent his present, and starts to fall for the charms of a young woman he meets, Sylvie, who he invites to participate in his shows. But the spectators from his last show have unfinished business with William Wilson.

Second novel disease has bypassed Louise Welsh completely. The Bullet Trick is, in fact, even better than The Cutting Room. It is perhaps less seedy, but it's more focused, and direct, which raises the bar of her talent considerably. Not only that, but the structure of this novel is brought off with great skill - sections alternate between London, Berlin, and Glasgow. Before, During, and After, almost. The thought of trying to pull off such a split, not only geographical but temporal, would, I suppose, have most writers biting their fingernails nervously, but Welsh succeeds excellently with it. Initially it takes a little time to settle into the book and realise which bit fits where, but it's actually relatively easy to accomplish, and when done, the resulting read is exceptionally rewarding.

The atmospheres of cabaret Berlin, of dirty London, of the dangerous return to Scotland, are entirely distinct, while a kind of universal dark brooding atmosphere casts itself over the whole thing. Welsh conjures up the gothic and the baroque in the equal measures, and Poe's influence is seen in more than just the lead character's name: there's a touch of The Fall of the House of User in the denouement, too. William Wilson is similar to Rilke of The Cutting Room, a very flawed but charming man. He's a very human character, and one who knows his flaws and the scrapes and twists they get him into throughout the book.

The Bullet Trick is a very strong second showing. It's atmospheric, surprising, and, even given the somewhat eccentric nature of the material (as with the antique world in The Cutting Room), oddly realistic. It's the contribution of the charming, the gothic, the realistic, and the utter command she has of her prose which makes Welsh an absolute must-read.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Louise Welsh's Third Book, 11 Sep 2006
This review is from: The Bullet Trick (Hardcover)
(With the risk of sounding pedantic, this is the third novel by Louise Welsh. Her second one after The Cutting Room is Tamburlaine Must Die.) The Bullet Trick is a real page-turner. Once more it is written from a man's persepective and set in a world of low-lives. I wonder if I hadn't known it was written by a woman if I'd presumed it had a male author. No matter. She writes grittily without being sordid or gratuitous. The ending is a slight letdown but it's a fantastic ride.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not much trick in this bullet, 19 Mar 2007
By 
A Common Reader "Committed to reading" (Sussex, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Bullet Trick (Paperback)
After reading The Cutting Room I came to this novel with high expectations which were unfortunately not fulfilled. Sure, the book is "good" as are many thrillers by experienced writers but lacks that something extra in the way of plotting and characterisation (and gothic darkness) which set the earlier novel apart from the rest. William Wilson, the main character is a stage magician, who having failed to emulated the television success of Paul Daniels etc, finds himself struggling to make a living on the variety circuit.

Wilson accepts a booking at a retirement party for a policeman in a seedy London club, and it is here that a series of events leads to him being hunted by a corrupt police detective who believes he holds crucial information on an earlier crime. Wilson leaves for Berlin where his agent has found him a long run in a Berlin cabaret club. Wilson finds no refuge there and also gets embroiled in further shady dealings, eventually returning to his native Glasgow, where of course, the past catches up with him.

So far so good, reasonable plotting, some intriguing locations and some interesting encounters, but to anyone who regularly reads mystery novels, its nothing special. The cabaret club in Berlin seems terribly predictable (surely we have been here many times before) and somehow anachronistic (do places like this really exist any more?). We are treated to various magicians secrets (how to saw a woman in half), but these are hardly new and are dealth with far better in Darren Brown's new book). The Bullet Trick contains too many unlikely coincidences, predictable denouements, and at the end, unlikely reconciliations to provide a convincing story. For a novel which attempts to be a little bit shocking, it fails to shock. We have been there just too many times before, but with writers who have done it better.
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The Bullet Trick
The Bullet Trick by Louise Welsh (Hardcover - 20 July 2006)
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