Magician Valentine Hill always introduces her act by announcing “Reality is an illusion. Illusion is reality, and nothing is what it seems.” When Valentine is reunited with her grifter mother, “nothing is what it seems” becomes true in real life.
A wealthy socialite turns out to be a ruthless criminal, a cat mechanic a psycho killer, and a cab driver a seductive gangster. When an FBI agent who’d befriended her is killed, Valentine takes on the hated role of a con artist to get evidence to put the criminals away. Will her skills as a magician prove enough to help her maintain the illusion?
I love me a good thief/con artist story, and this one made for a perfectly enjoyable read. We follow Valentine Hill as she tries to find her con artist mother in order to discover where she was born and who her father is. Unfortunately, things don’t quite go as planned, and Valentine is left to face a not-too-brilliant-but-very-murderous mechanic, the FBI, a very rich criminal and her mother’s latest scam.
I liked Valentine well enough, even though I had some trouble connecting with her at the beginning. I particularly enjoyed seeing her slowly slip into her old role of con artist to help the FBI find evidence against the person who killed her friend. Of course, I was sure something was going to go wrong with her plan at some point, but the author gave me a good time guessing, and I was actually quite surprised with a couple of twists towards the end.
I was slightly disappointed by the secondary characters. I just felt like there was a lot of focus on Valentine herself, which was great, but the rest of the cast was a little left behind and not particularly developed. There was a hint of romance, which was actually fairly sweet, but still didn’t take over the whole story, leaving the spotlight to Valentine’s greatest illusion yet. The great variety of people portrayed and the fast pace of the story really kept me going. I was very curious to see how the story would end, and if Valentine would pull it off.
Overall, a very enjoyable read, at times even incredibly funny, perfect if you like stories filled with danger and deceit.