Friday, June 17, 2016

Two for the Show by Jonathan Stone - Book Review & Excerpt

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Review by Suze
Chas has a unique detective job. He has one client, a mentalist with a show in Las Vegas. Chas finds out what he can about the audience so his employer, Wallace the Amazing, can impress them with his skills. Chas has been doing the same thing for twenty years when one night he tracks down a suspicious couple. The man and woman are trying to expose Wallace. That is where Chas's boring existence turns into a rollercoaster of unimaginable affairs.
Chas is leading a half-life. His days are all the same and he doesn't let people get close because he wants to protect his employer. They have a strange relationship. Chas isn't even completely sure what Wallace looks like. Due to his job he's getting involved in all kinds of shady plots. It isn't always clear if he's the victim or the instigator. He's being involved in kidnapping, identity theft, lies, ransom and even the removal of body parts. This is not what he signed up for when he took the detective job at all. Who is Wallace and what are his secrets?
Two for the Show is a bizarre story about a nearly invisible man who isn't as inconspicuous as he thinks he is. Chas is great with information, but he's also quite naïve. He is brilliant with computers and even though he's good at uncovering new details it takes him a long time to see the big picture. That leads to absurd situations. Chas lets himself be dragged into a whirlwind of incomprehensible motives and he tries to find a way out, but every time he does that he gets in deeper instead. I never knew what would happen next and thoroughly enjoyed the element of surprise. I let go of my expectations, so I could fully enjoy the story and all of the interesting insanity.
Jonathan Stone has a great writing style. Two for the Show is chaotic, but it's obvious that he always remains completely in control. I loved that contrast, it makes the story fun and intelligent at the same time. The final chapters made me rethink everything I previously read, which put a big smile on my face. An unexpected gift like that at the ending makes me very happy. Two for the Show is a fabulous spectacle. It's a showpiece on paper written by an author who has a fantastic vivid imagination. 

It’s the strangest job you’ve ever heard of.
Stranger still, it’s mine.
I’ve been doing it over twenty years. Which makes it a career, I guess.
Technically, I’m a detective. A private investigator.
But not the kind you’re thinking of. One client. Ongoing investigation. The case never closes. The job never ends.
I’m in the entertainment business. But not in the way you’re used to thinking.
I work for a mentalist.


We are partners in the truest sense—each unable to proceed or succeed without the other. And despite his fame and my anonymity, we hold enormous power over each other. He is nothing without me. I am nothing without him. We are each other’s secret. Each other’s best friend, each other’s lurking nightmare. A secret shared with no one else. We are brothers who never share a story or a beer, but who are nevertheless everything to one another.

Secrecy, silence, discretion—they’re obviously a way of life for me. For twenty years now, I’ve known nothing else. I’m a professional ghost. And because I have not decided, as I write this, exactly what I will be doing with this document, what its ultimate use will be—and in light of a professional habit of protective silence and secrecy and shadow that I am already, somewhat uncomfortably jeopardizing here—I’ll refer to my employer, for the moment anyway, for the purposes of this record, as … oh, I don’t know, let’s call him Wallace the Amazing.
About Jonathan Stone

Jonathan Stone does most of his writing on the commuter train between the Connecticut suburbs and Manhattan, where he is a creative director at a midtown advertising agency. His fifth novel, Moving Day, published in May 2014, was a Kindle First selection. His novel The Teller was published in May 2015. And his forthcoming novel Two for the Show will be published in June 2016.

He has short stories in the two most recent Mystery Writers of America anthologies. "East Meets West," appears in the collection "Ice Cold - Tales of Intrigue from the Cold War," (2104) edited by Jeffery Deaver. "Hedge", appears in the MWA anthology, "The Mystery Box", edited by Brad Meltzer (2013). His short story "Mailman", will be published in Best American Mystery Stories 2016, edited by Elizabeth George.

A graduate of Yale, Jon is married, with a son and daughter. For more, be sure to check out his website 

1 comment:

  1. I think this story would give me the creeps! Partially because of the subject, but also because of the point of view. It probably wouldn't seem so weird if it was third person.