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        Al's four mystery novels, Of Ghosts and Magic, House of Tarot Cards, A Pocket Full of Voices, and The Last Goodbye, feature protagonist John Michaels, a retired Master Magician living in Virginia Beach.

        Al has created a down-to-earth character who voluntarily becomes a private investigator to help unravel a seemingly impossible mystery. 

        Michaels' unique understanding of how the mind can be easily fooled, coupled with his "outside the box" thought process, methodically proves that an unconventional clue - no matter how strange - is always worth pursuing.

   

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Of Ghosts and Magic

     "In 1973, Alex Holloman got a job as a courier and met a wonderful lady.  Suddenly, his world fell apart; his parents were killed and then he inexplicably disappeared.

     "When America's Foremost Magician, John Michaels, agreed to perform for his high-school's 30th Anniversary Reunion in June 2000, he didn't know it would also involve searching for his friend, Alex Holloman.

     "Unlike creating a magic illusion, which is based on principles of mathematics and science, attempting to find a missing person would challenge John Michaels' expertise to 'create a miracle' in less than three weeks."

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House of Tarot Cards

     "It began as a plan to shakedown the local psychic community every month.  The anonymous letters were the first step.  If that didn't work, the phone calls started.  'It's in your best interest to pay...or else,' the muffled-voiced caller said.

     "Those who didn't comply soon found their shop windows broken, and their car tires slashed.

     "Eventually, everyone gave in--except Mrs. Sylvia.  She was determined not to pay protection money to a low-life who thought psychics were an easy mark for fast cash.

     "Her stubbornness resulted in first-degree murder: Hers."

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A Pocket Full Of Voices

     "When John Michaels received a phone call from a Mount Hope City, NJ lawyer, it meant one thing: Someone was in trouble.  The only person John knew who lived and worked in this East Coast city, where legalized gambling is sanctioned, was long-time friend and fellow entertainer, Gary Egan.

     "While money legally changed hands in the casinos, high-value merchandise illegally changed hands in hotel rooms.  And according to the sheriff, Gary was an alleged accomplice.

     "Subpoenaed as a character witness, John decides to conduct a clandestine investigation to prove Gary's innocence.  But when Gary's lawyer is murdered, the danger intensified twofold."

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The Last Goodbye

     "Tony Carpenter boasted that his newest illusion was more dangerous than anything ever before attempted.  'Even Houdini would be impressed,' he proclaimed.

     "When he told his friend and mentor John Michaels--America's Foremost Magician--of his intention to perform the illusion, John summed up his answer in one word: 'Don't.'

     "Tony Carpenter died of asphyxiation trying to escape from an air and water-tight, steel and glass box.

     "When the police asked John Michaels if he would replicate the illusion, they said, 'Your expertise will be instrumental in determining what went wrong.'

     "He cautiously agreed.

     "Tragedy struck a second time."

af72ma@alfredalbers.com

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