Written by: William Rabkin
Paperback: 288 pages
July 2009, $6.99
Based on the hit usa network series
Shawn Spencer has convinced everyone he's psychic.
Now, he's either going to clean up- or be found out.
Murder and Magic are all in the mind...
When a case takes Shawn and Gus into an exclusive club for professional magicians, they're treated to a private show by the hottest act on the Vegas Strip, "Martian Magician" P'tol P'kah. But when the wizard seemingly dissolves in a tank of water, he never rematerializes. And in his place there's a corpse in a three piece suit and a bowler hat.
Eager to keep his golden boy untarnished, the magician's manager hires Shawn and Gus to uncover the identity of the dead man and find out what happened to P'tol P'kah. But to do so, the pair will have to pose as a new mentalist act, and go undercover in a world populated by magicians, mystics, Martians-and one murderer...
Psych is one of my favorite shows on television right now. And well it has been since it first started airing. Maybe it’s the pop culture references. Maybe it’s the pineapples. But probably its Shawn and Gus. If you haven’t seen the show, why not? And yes the Mentalist totally stole the idea, but I watch that one too. How can I not it has Simon Baker in it, who helps me during my zombie apocalypse dreams. That being said I think that book tie-ins are very hard to write. If you don’t capture the characters tone just right the fans, like me, will notice right away and shake our fingers wildly while making clucking noises with our tongues. This is the second book in the Psych book verse and also the second for Rabkin. I think it helps that Rabkin has written for the show itself.
It begins with our usual 1980’s flashback with little Shawn and little Gus, a wedding cake and Three Card Monte which Shawn learned from Count Orloff at the Fortress of Magic. Henry isn’t pleased. Years later Shawn and Gus are back at the Fortress of Magic, a club where magicians hang out, (similar to the Magic Castle out in LA) for a bachelor party. As always things tend to go just a bit wonky when the Psych team is around. This time the famous P'tol P'kah, the Martian Magician, shows up to prove to the entire crowd that he isn't a fraud using his Dissolving Man trick. Except when P’tol P’kah dissolves he leaves behind one very real and one very dead man. Eww. Problem is, no one knows who the dead man is. Even bigger problem P’Tol P’kah has vanished. Shawn and Gus then head to Vegas to find out where P’tol has vanished to, what the trick actually consists of, and by the way who is that dead man?
If you remember I read the first tie-in as well and while the first wasn’t horrid, it also wasn’t quite right. This one was much better and in fact would have made a fun episode. The mystery itself takes a bit of a ‘huh’ towards the third act, but the characterizations, dialogue and such are spot on. Like the first novel, there is something missing for me. It isn’t with Shawn or Gus, but the mysteries themselves. Maybe I just miss the fun little light up effects when Shawn notices a clue. I just felt like there was just something missing that made me not fall in love with it. Not that it wasn’t enjoyable because it was and I laughed out loud far too many times. But the back third of the book just didn’t hold me the way the rest of the book did.
Things I loved: Shawn and Gus are spot on from Shawn mispronouncing P’tol’s name constantly with nicknames like P’nut B’rittle and P’ontius P’ilate or the way that Gus corrects Shawn when he just tends to make stuff up. Lassie and Juliet were right on as well. In fact the dialogue is pretty great and the interaction between our two heroes is just the way it is in the show. I love their banter and their bickering. It makes me all warm and fuzzy.
This novel was far more believable as far as the overall story went and not as jumbled as ‘A Mind Is A Terrible Thing to Read’.
Things I didn't love so much: I don’t have a lot to nitpick only that as I said there was something missing from the overall mystery plot itself. I think because a couple of the plot points came out of nowhere. As a show there are always little hints and it isn’t coming out of left for no explainable reason. But it is minor because the overall mystery was actually fairly entertaining.
Buy or Borrow: Buy if you are a fan of the show, and borrow if you have not seen it…use your money to go netflix or buy the series instead.
Part of:a TV series, but very stand alone in its story.
Also Recommended: If you are a fan of USA’s tv shows, there are also Monk and Burn Notice tie-ins. The third Psych book titled ‘Call of the Mild’ is out now.
Overall it was an entertaining book, like a really good piece of fan fiction that you wish would actually become an episode.
3 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks
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