Smile Of The Rictus


By Julius Talen



For hundreds of years, there has been one person who is rarely named in the world of magicians – the Rictus. Who is he? What does he want? Is he immortal? In modern day London, Chief Inspector Adelaide Shaw takes on a case of a killer who uses magic and illusion to strike at his victims. In response, she accepts the guidance of Oliver Whitaker, a magician on the outs. When two master magicians come face to face, is anybody safe?

I was intrigued by this plot. A little magic (okay, a lot of illusion), a bit of mystery throughout history. An interesting premise.


Adelaide Shaw: Chief Inspector, rides a motorbike, 31, 110 lbs, 5’9”, has six brothers.

Oliver Tobias Morsen Whitaker: 29, magician, mom dead, attended Oxford, 6’2”, 200 lbs.

Mais Lawson: inspector

Rudolph Van Mappen: elderly, magician, nicknamed Mistle

There are a few others but Oliver and Adelaide get most of the story. Other than some basics, there is not much description about the two main protagonists. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the characters. I think the cast was well rounded with some side players who made the reading enjoyable.


Missing commas on tag lines. Missing periods on dialogue where the next sentence is a non-tag line. Otherwise, I felt the characters voices sounded young (well, 29 and 31 are fairly young) but the characters themselves act older.


One minor bit of profanity.

Misspelled words, capitalization errors, incorrect words, missing words. These were the major problems throughout.

Another big thing was the author bringing in history of Adelaide late in the book. This extra aspect of her character should have been shown earlier in the book and revisited at least once or twice. To bring it up at the end doesn’t do it justice and weakened the story and the character. It’s parallel to having the ghost save the day at the end when no ghost was mentioned before. This aspect was not fully developed nor was it dealt with in the aftermath.

Ditto too with maybe foreshadowing who the baddie was. Maybe some hints or clues earlier in the book. Red herrings?

Some good action scenes but I would have liked more description of the magic and more emotion from the characters when it happened. Much of it was: this happened and it was countered, then this happened and so on.

My Rank:

Camouflage Belt



Posted on May 9, 2016, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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