hooked on cards review(If you want to read the first part of the review click here) This is (I believe) the latest ebook from Peter Duffie – 40 pages of card magic running to 11 effects.  Let’s take a brief look at them all.

Card to Envelope

There’s always a buzz about the latest card to impossible location, but here the routine is stripped down to the minimum requirements.  A signed and torn up chosen card reforms and reappears in an envelope which has been in full view all the time.  And did I mention there was only minimal sleight of hand.  This routine is almost as old as I am but it is a gem.

Lie to Me

Here’s another variation on the noble Lie Detector plot.  A lot of magic happens in a fairly small space of time as (with the aid of a magic medallion!) randomly cut to cards provide answers about the spectator’s chosen card, which then reappears in the performer’s pocket.  And as an extra kicker the randomly cut to cards change to make four of a kind with the chosen card.  A little more handling skill required for this one, but a pleasing routine.

Clouseau for Workers

In this neat re-working of an earlier effect, the spectator’s card appears at the position nominated by the spectator in a run of cards set aside at the beginning.  This is apparently an Alex Elmsley plot which I haven’t come across before.  It is certainly an elegant handling – there are no superfluous moves – though the plot doesn’t excite me if I’m honest.


This is a nice sandwich effect where the two black jacks locate the selected card and immediately the two red jacks find its three mates.  A small set-up takes it out of the completely impromptu realm but this is not difficult to do and has a strong double climax.

Countless (Ace) Turning

Another approach to the Vernon’s classic Twisting the Aces plot.  This is obviously designed for someone with a fair bit of card experience – moves like Turn-over pass, double cuts, palming and copping cards are required without any additional explanation given.

Matter of Facts

This is another ‘lie detector’ routine where a four-card packet reveals the identity of the spectator’s freely chosen card.  This relies on subtlety more than sleight of hand and so is well within the reach of all card men (should that be card people?!).  A really neat solution which looks extremely fair.  Well worth a play with this one.

Twister’s Bluff

A Royal Flush in Spades turns over one card at a time and the final card (the ace) disappears only to be found in your pocket.  The starting point here is the Alex Elmsley ‘Twister’s Flush’ effect – but the effect and method are somewhat different.  For some reason this grabs me less than some of the other effects in the book, and it requires a working knowledge of quite a few sleights and counts.  Perhaps a bluff too far…

Return of the 7

A spectator selects six cards from the deck and then another one.  They’re mixed together and when one card is turned face up, they all turn face up with the exception of the chosen card – which is also of the opposite colour to the other six.  Short and sweet.

Homing Cards

This is a simple variation on Carlyle’s Homing Card.  Briefly – two cards are chosen and lost in the deck.  The first appears in your pocket and is placed in an obvious visible place (e.g. sticking out of the deck) then it reappears in your pocket and the second card is found to have swapped places with the other card.  A direct, strong effect.  But you will need to be able to palm a card.  You didn’t think it was real magic did you?

Little Sympathy

A neat little packet trick with eight cards.  One is chosen and the others mixed face up and down.  In a flash they all turn the same way with the exception of the ‘mate’ of the chosen card.  To my mind it will need a decent presentation to move it out of the realms of ‘just a puzzle’ – but a nice little effect.

Blackstone in my pocket

This is a ‘bonus effect’ which owes something to an original observation by Chip Kleiman.  (Incidentally – what makes a ‘bonus effect’ a ‘bonus’ – how do you know how many effects should appear in a book or on a dvd?)  This is a really unusual effect which rather appeals to me.  It combines mind-reading with the vanish and reappearance of a chosen card in your pocket – and best of all, a quirky presentational angle.  A very pleasant bonus indeed!

Final Thoughts

There’s quite a variety of material here in such a short book.  Some definitely feel stronger than others – though I haven’t road tested them on audiences to assess how well they play to laypeople.

My main criticism would be the absence of explanation for the majority of the moves required.  There’s nothing too obscure, but for someone just starting out they would need some extra resources.  I lost track of how many routines seemed to require a half pass, for example.  I know you can’t explain everything in such a short book, but even some references to chase up would help the total newbie.

But if you have an intermediate level of competency with cards there is nothing here which should be too challenging.  And for the incredibly reasonable price of $15 (= roughly £9.38 at the time of reviewing) – which is barely enough to buy two decks of the latest bicycle cards that seem to keep cropping up – even if you only find one or two routines to use you should be happy.

Hooked on Cards is available from MagicShop.co.uk (with thanks to Peter Duffie who kindly provided the review copy).

Liked it? Share it...