In general, it feels as if Galloway has tried to cram too much into this book, leaving too many characters underdeveloped and stunted. Galloway dabbles in the history of spiritualism, as in his depiction of Arthur Conan Doyle, who tries to convince Houdini that fairies are real and that his wife communes with spirits. And there's an interesting but ultimately superfluous section about the Romanov Empire-pages which would have been better spent making Houdini a more human character and delving into what is left of Martin's memories. But neither of these characters are as detailed as they could be. Houdini never really comes into focus. At times it feels like he is the subject of the book and, at others, as if he is here merely to elucidate Martin's story, which also fails to come together enough to command our attention. Of course, the possibility of the story not coming together is part of the thrill in an existential mystery like this, but such a story should at least be coherent in its incoherence. The rather random punch that connects Martin and Houdini, for instance, seems improbable-but there is a certain pleasure in wondering whether the failure is Martin's or his creator's.