Good morning and welcome to this week’s In the Books, featuring Illusion (Dark Musicals: The Second Act Book 1) by Laura Deluca.
About the Book: Rebecca Hope-Patko and her husband, Lord Justyn, are living their dream. After a successful stint on Broadway, the super couple are heading Down Under for a special showing of Phantom Returns, where their son Erik will join them for his professional debut.
As soon as their plane touches down, they discover that a serial killer is stalking Melbourne. At the theater, a strange series of accidents leaves Rebecca fearing for the safety of her family. Rebecca struggles to unravel the mystery while coping with insecurities about her career which cause tension between her and Justyn.
It’s clear a very real Phantom is lurking among them, but Rebecca is no kid anymore. She’s tired of the villain getting the upper hand. This time, Rebecca is setting the trap. This opera diva will put her life and her marriage on the line to shatter the illusions surrounding Queen’s Theater and stop the serial killer before they can strike again.
My Review: Over the years, I’ve become a fan of Laura Deluca, and this is her biggest book I’ve read yet, but the added size only added to the story.
The story flowed well and was hard to put down, but an added benefit was the style it was written in. I enjoy the occasional musical, and throughout the story, the cast would break into the choruses or solos they performed in the current play just like in any musical. Having the story closely follow the arc of the Phantom Returns was an extra bonus that really shows the author’s enjoyment of the play.
The characters were highly engaging from top to bottom, though I have to admit I really had to feel for Rebecca’s luck. It’s bad enough tragedy seems to follow her, but her decision making brings about most of her problems. Through her eyes, we’re shown what her decisions or circumstances do to others, which helped raising the rest of the cast into likability.
Using the play as the backdrop, at its heart, this is a great, old fashioned detective story that really was reminiscent of Sur Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone series and Jessica Fletcher on Murder, She Wrote.
I can’t wait to see what’s next in this series.