Although I love watching magic DVDs, many of you will know that my first love is magic books. And so an e-book is a good compromise. This is the first of Liam’s books I have looked, at, although if you visit his website you will see he has written and produced a number of other booklets.

What is Cardio? It is an e-book of 7 effects – all cards. Like me, Liam is a big John Bannon fan, and there is ‘something of the Bannon’ in the way he has clearly thought carefully about the structure and impact of each effect. But what of the effects?

Cardio Cover

The Other Thing
This is a 4 King location where the cards appear in ‘impossible’ locations. It is a nice routine – and I love the way much of the work is done before the effect has even started from the point of view of the spectator. It requires a few moves, but is within reach of most card magicians.

Pop Hoff
As the name hints, this is a very visual take on the Hofzinser Ace Problem. Essentially the four aces help to find the spectator’s card – eventually fusing into it. Again, I like the routine. It does require a flat palm which may put some off – but you are getting a lot of pretty visual magic without too much hard work here.

Backhand Slap
A spectator’s card is revealed in a dramatic way, with a 4-ace kicker at the same time. For me this is not one of the stronger routines in the booklet. But it might play well for a poker-loving audience, and would follow on (in terms of set up) from Pop Hoff quite easily.

The Swing of Things
A pendulum both ‘divines’ and reveals the chosen card. I really like this. It is technically very simple and the use of the pendulum gives a very different feel to this ‘card trick’. A great little idea which will play well with laypeople.

This is a twisting the aces routine with a strong extra double climax. What I like about this is the structuring of the effect and the way that both gives the whole ‘twisting’ routine a purpose and sucks the audience in. Again, very visual magic without too much hard work. A great routine.

Scam Royale
With a nod in the direction of John Bannon… This is a ‘collectors’ type plot with a twist. If I’m honest, I’ve never enjoyed the Collectors plot so this didn’t do much for me. The Royal Flush finish is surprising, but there is a bit of set-up for this one. Would be interesting to see what a layperson thought, but I’m never likely to show one!

Reality Burp
The plot here is all about hypnosis – two spectators see their card multiply and then swap places with the Kings in a surprising way. There are a fair few moves in this routine – though again, they would be in the reach of most (a bit more palming required here too). It is a strong effect with a nice premise and the ending is certainly a kicker.

A word on format/style.
The book is very simply and clearly produced (no flashy graphics – just well layed-out text) and well written. Each effect begins with a description which also serves to outline the suggested patter/routine. All the ‘sources’ and inspiration for each effect are clearly described, and he takes the time to explain the reasons for particular actions and steps. Where there are ‘moves’ they are clearly described – but in such a way as they are easy to skip if you already know them. For me it is a model of how such booklets should be written.

In conclusion…
There is some great magic within the pages of this booklet – and even if you don’t like them all, for £10 it is not much per trick. I think the hallmark of this work is simplicity/clarity of effect – and the routines are worth studying for what you can learn about structuring a trick if nothing else. So if you are a cardman, this comes recommended.

You can buy Cardio from the Merchant of Magic for £9.99.

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