Draven Reviews: Deep Shadows by Dee Christopher

approved Title: Deep Shadows
Author: Dee Christopher
Publicist: Printed in USA in association with Ellusionist.com
Cover and Portrait Photography: Bonnie Baker
Link: http://www.murphysmagic.com/Product.aspx?id=53210
Retail Price: $75.00
Reading Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Notes:  Many of the effects in this book will require you to construct your own gimmicks

 

Features:
•    Soft Cover
•    275 Pages

I’ve got a soft spot in my heart for Dee’s work.  He’s incredibly creative, and his material is usually pretty reliable not to mention original.  When word started to spread that Dee had published a book on his mentalism material over the past decade or so I knew I had to own a copy.  And while I hated the arts and crafts that come with having to assemble a lot of the gimmicks needed to work his material, mostly because I’m one of the clumsiest people when it comes to arts and crafts projects, blessedly enough for me everything is very easy to make.  This book is a solid win for anyone looking to do some practical mentalism.

Dee didn’t disappoint either.  This tome has over 250 pages of creative material that spans the entire spectrum of mentalism.  Book test?  Got it.  Haunted Key?  In their hands!  Metal Bending? Yup.  ‘Out of  This World’ style affect?  What tome wouldn’t be complete without it?  Two person talking code, and switching and peek note pad?  Double check!  And so, so much more.  Deep Shadows is a page turner, a reference guide, a resource, and an instructional book on devilishly deceitful deceptions for the magician of any skill level.  Not many magicians out there today would latterly open up the vault on their minds and let you sift through a decade or more of their most guarded work like Dee has.  You’re going to find something that you’re going to love, and you’ll owe Dee your thanks for it.

All of the gimmicks that are described in the book will require assembly.  Honestly though so long as you have some double stick tape, glue, hobby knife, scissors, and a little skill you’ll be fine.  I’m a complete klutz when it comes to craft projects.  I’m really the last person you want to trust a sharp bladed instrument to, and I had no problems what so ever assembling a few of Dee’s little devices.  His instructions are pretty easy to follow.  As far as tricks are concerned here are a few of my favorites.

Loki: Three poker chips are mixed up, the performer blindfolded (or turns head away) and the chips are selected and placed into different pockets.  The performer is then able to tell which chip is in which pocket!  I loved this effect when it came out once before… which I think was a bonus effect on Dee’s Metal DVD.  So seeing it in print once again made me smile.  I’ve done this trick on the streets for a while now and it always kills.

Insanewave: The performer takes out a deck of ESP cards in new deck order.  Explains it’s a deck of 25 cards consisting of 5 sets of 5 different symbols.  After demonstrating each symbol he offers the spectator to shuffle face up,.  The spectator calls out any symbol they want, and the backs of the cards are revealed to show that 5 cards have contrasting backs.  It’s the five cards matching the freely named symbol!  Bloody easy to do and this thing just devastates.  Everyone is used to card tricks.  So introduce something they haven’t seen a thousand times like ESP symbols and suddenly everyone gets a new experience.
Rush:  A close-up, safer version of the classic Russian Roulette plot using lighters instead of dangerous sharp cutty, pokey, stabby things.  I myself am a huge fan of the Russian Roulette plot.  I frequently perform my version of the Russian Roulette with a 6 inch steel nail after I’ve just got done pounding it into my nose for the Human Blockhead stunt.  The problem is my version requires a table, space, a stage, and if should something go wrong a trip to the ER.  In comes Dee to the rescue with a brilliant little bit that is much safer than mine, visual because it’s FIRE, and is ideal for working in noisy nightclubs where I’m often seen doing stuff.  Basically you get four lighters and three of them, selected by the spectator, doesn’t work.  The one you are left holding does.  Add in a little twist ala Bank Night, with a bill in an envelope and the lighters borrowed are used to try to burn the envelope type idea and you’ve got quite a versatile little bit that you can easily carry around with you in your pockets.

Metal Bending: I’m not going to go into detail on this because I did a review on Dee’s Metal already.  I’m a fan of his metal bending and I’m glad it was included in this book.

Dichotomy OOTW:  The performer uses half the deck to stream line the presentation, and the spectator deals cards into two piles of about equal amounts but in no specific order.  After the dealing is done the performer shows that the cards have been perfectly separated into two colors!  I love OOTW, and I perform a version of it regularly in my close up show.  Dee’s take on the classic plot is again simple, direct, and gets results.  This is something that I’ve come to expect from Dee.

Cronos Prediction System: I loved this bit.  It’s a multiphase show long prediction that neatly wraps up several events that happen within your shows duration into one single prediction that’s been there the entire time.  It’s evil.

I could sit here and keep going on and on about all the different tricks in this book that I loved but this review would grow to be epic in proportion.  It’s just easier to say that cover to cover this book is filled with all kinds of little useful tricks and tips that you will love to use.  Dee’s originality and creativeness is something that is very apparent in his approach to many classic plots he revisits.  The best thing of all is that all of this material is a working man’s material.  Dee’s used every bit of this in a show somewhere somehow.  It’s all audience tested and none of it is theoretical BS that should work but leaves you to find and iron out all the bumps.   Good work Dee.  My hat’s off to you.

When I give my product scores below I am measuring them on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 Being absolute the worst score possible, and 10 being the absolute best, making a score of five average. The four points that I grade upon is Product Quality, Teaching Quality, Readability and Overall Quality.

Product Quality: 6
Excellent material!  Everything in this book is a practical approach to creating powerful mentalism and magical bits with a minimalistic approach.  The only problem I had was the price.  I feel that $75 bucks is really a bit much. I gave a serious point deduction for that.  I would have comfortably spent up to 50$ and not batted an eye, but as it is I think it’s too steep.

Teaching Quality: 8
Solid instructions that was easy to follow.  The only fault I can find is that I wish there would have been better or more illustrations.

Readability: 9
Dee’s writing style made this a very easy read.  He’s not over your head, not cocky which makes him a very endearing author.

Over All Quality: 7
I loved it!  This tome is jammed packed with all kinds of useful tricks and essays on performing real world magic in real world settings.  Other than the high price tag, You can’t go wrong with this book.

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About William Draven

William Draven is a professional magician and sideshow performer living in Los Angeles, California. Follow him on Twitter at WilliamDraven or on facebook at www.facebook.com/thewilliamdraven
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