Inside is a collection of Daniel’s PDFs that he’s been selling through his own web site and Devil’s Advocate Productions. When Daniel was a magician i was very interested in his work, his ideas and his approach. He has since moved away from magic, and one gets the feeling that this book is his way of achieving closure on the whole damn thing. It seems that he now views magic as something silly, and a rather angry blog concerning the art was posted on his web site recently. It was taken down soon after, with no explanation. I can only imagine he realised he was upsetting people. Magic has probably put food on the man’s table for the last few years, so perhaps he should still respect the art even if he chooses to no longer practice it.
With that said then, the book contains;
One, Two, Three, Identity, Thoughts Of A Madman, Blood, Burn, Wrath, Collateral, M, Primer, Pariah & The Advocate
Which is 13 e-books in all. To buy them seperately would cost you close to £150, so this is certainly the cheaper option.
The book starts with a disclaimer that anyone delving into it’s pages should be at least at an intermediate level or above with ‘deceptive practices ‘ and have a basic understanding of sleight of hand.
I can only second this, and say if you don’t know how to do the Gambler’s Cop or aren’t comfortable with it, a lot of the effects will be null and void as they rely heavily on this sleight.
So we start with One, and i should say a lot of these e-books have been edited down for the paper versions here. I won’t have the time or space to go into every effect so i’ll just give each section the once over. With One you get some good stuff. Something like Heritage, which is Daniel’s take on a Derren Brown effect whereby you get the spec to stop at a card that completes your poker hand. Derren used a psychological force, Daniel uses sleight of hand. I know which one i’d rather use. You also get The Raining Force, which is a great force i use all the time.
Two is cut right back from it’s original version, but the effects included here are probably the best from that PDF, Prophecy being a good strong mental effect, and Angle Zero is almost a utility move for a torn index.
Three is basically a bunch of controls and colour changes. Not much for the magician in the way of tricks but ideas a-plenty for creating your own effects with the controls he describes.
IDentity is the biggest confuser here for me. The original IDentity is a fantastic effect. I use it along with Dee Christopher’s Anate to make a head splitting piece of Mentalism. Sadly, D has chosen to leave the IDentity trick out and just put in the rest of the e-book. Perhaps it was so good he’s sorry he released it in the first place. Either way, it’s missed here. You get EI8HT2WO in this, which is a piece of self workery that makes you look like Rain Man. You also get The Devil’s touch which permits you to predict someone’s thought of word. It’s very tricky to get down, i am nowhere near confident enough with this one, but it’s a nice idea.
Thoughts of a Madman was written with Randall Freeman, but sadly Randall’s effects have been left out so there’s only 3 things which aren’t really worth bothering with.
Blood is a card marking system that gives you a way to mark your own Bicycle Riders, Tally Ho’s Circle and Fan Backs and Bicycle League cards. I havent tried this though i could see how it could work. He doesnt give you many effects to go with this one but if you can’t see how knowing the spec’s card is helpful to you perhaps you should wonder off somewhere else.
Burn is a series of effects using burnt playing cards that you create yourself. I’ve done this and the cards look very cool indeed. I showed Mrs Grimshaw a Burn effect and her mouth dropped open. It’s good to be able to make your own gimmicked cards, and Burn is a way to do so.
Wrath is a card revelation with a burned deck. Can NOT be doing with this as i don’t like carrying a bunch of decks around with me. I haven’t tried it so can’t comment.
Collateral. I reviewed Collateral elsewhere on this very site so do have a look if you’re interested.
M. M was considered by some to be Daniel scraping the barrel. I don’t think so personally, i think some of these effects are good. The only thing is, as with most Madison effects, they’re gimmick heavy. Elsewhere in the book, Daniel states that he takes little satisfaction over learning an intricate sleight over a gimmick, as the method should be invisible to the punter anyway. I see his point, but since most of these effects rely on a number of different gimmicks, you couldn’t really do too many of these effects in a row unless you have a LOT of deep pockets for a LOT of deck switches.
Primer is a new way to set up a deck. The set up allows you a number of things a marked deck does, only it’s not a marked deck. Sorry for being vague but i can say no more. I’m interested in putting the Primer deck to the test.
I feel i can talk about Pariah and The Advocate in the same breath. Pariah basically allows you a perfect glimpse of a freely selected card, while The Advocate is a card indexing system that you can carry around in your pocket. Myself and Mr Grue have talked about this one. It is kind of impractical to a point, but if you can get it to work you really have miracles here.
Overall the book is nicely presented. A comfortable size with many black and white photos to assist you. There are numerous spelling mistakes however, that i don’t think is on in this day and age.
Though Daniel likes to big up the book as 13 PDFs in one, it’s really not so as a lot of these PDFs have been cut heavily from the originals.
I will say though, that there’s a lot of great ideas here. Ideas that you can run with, as was the author’s intention.
This book will keep me interested over Xmas with 95 effects to go through, and if you decide to invest in it, it will hopefully lead you on to more of your own creations.
Difficulty: 9/10 – There’s some serious difficulty with some of these sleights, some of the misdirection will be challenging, and making the damn gimmicks will ensure you could ace an episode of Blue Peter.