My Thoughts On. . .
Illusion (Dark Musicals Book 5)
It’s been a while since I read any of Laura DeLuca’s work, the last time being the final book of the original “Dark Musicals” series.
The first Dark Musicals are a clever play on genres. Think of a murder-mystery-whodunnit based around the theme of well known theatrical productions; in particular, “Phantom of the Opera”, “Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street”, “Jekyll and Hyde”, and “A Christmas Carol”.
What makes them more appealing is that each story follows the lives of two high school sweethearts, Rebecca and Justyn as they meet, fall in love, and grow into accomplished performers in their own right. Of course, being a murder-mystery series, their life’s course is rather eventful – and entertaining – to say the least, and helps you involve yourself with the characters from the outset.
(I would recommend you try those earlier stories before delving into “Illusions”, as it will allow you to appreciate what this couple have been through together, and how they’ve ended up where they are.)
Now to the current book.
Rebecca and Justyn are married. Not only are they Broadway stars in their own right, but their eight-year old son, Erik, is a musical savant with prodigious talent. When they are invited to perform their new show, “Phantom Returns”, in Australia, Erik joins them, using the occasion to make his professional debut.
Alas, the rose-tinted tides of fate begin to stir, throwing up warning signs that shouldn’t be ignored. For one, Erik suffers a nightmare – something far more powerful and profound than a simple bad dream. In it, he is snatched away from his mother and father. A premonition perhaps?
Lo and behold, the family arrives in Australia to find a young boy has gone missing. What’s more, the bodies of women who have been strangled to death are turning up in one place after another. Putting these events down to unhappy coincidence, the Hope-Patko family forge ahead, determined that the show must go on.
And it does, in the face of increasing danger that I won’t reveal in detail here. After all, you need to read the story yourselves. Suffice to say, you’ll be glad you did, for DeLuca skillfully entwines the lives of Broadway’s favorite couple into the exploits of the characters they play: betrayal and misunderstanding; sabotage and threats; revelations and tragedy. It’s all there, and more, in an adventure that also weaves YOU into the plot and holds you there until the final curtain falls.
An entertaining and enjoyable romp across the boards. Don’t miss it.
I first saw Unbreakable, directed by M. Night Shyamalan, over ten years ago and thought I’d treat myself again. The story is rather compelling, and revolves around the lives of two men: David Dunn (Bruce Willis), a down-on-his-luck married man from Philadelphia who, returning from a job interview in New York, becomes the sole survivor of a devastating train crash; and Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson), a rather obsessive, comic book oriented individual suffering from a condition that makes his bones as fragile as glass, who contacts David and offers him a rather wacky explanation as to why it is he survived.
The thing is, as far out as Elijah’s theories are, they might just be right!
What we get is a superbly presented buildup, where a modest, self-depreciating guy comes to a gradual realization that – yes – he is different from other people. So different, that what he can do, what he can achieve, are feats well beyond what might be thought of as “normal”.
And the great thing about this M. Night Shyamalan film is, we’re not inundated by your usual crop of flashy, overly confident super heroes wearing figure-hugging suits. Oh no, our guy hides his identity by slipping on a plain green poncho.
However, I jump the gun a little, for the story arc is superbly crafted, tugging you along on the slow slide toward an inevitable revelation. Then, just when you think you can relax, you get an extra twist regarding a sickening link between the disaster that started it all and Elijah himself.
An excellent film that – despite its subject matter – is hauntingly believable. Treat yourself and see it as soon as you can (and definitely before “Split” and “Glass”)