cover image Mister Magic

Mister Magic

Kiersten White. Del Rey, $28 (304p) ISBN 978-0-593-35926-6

Grappling with religious trauma and childhood abuse, this suspenseful tale from White (Hide) calls to mind old-school internet creepypastas. Val leads a quiet life on a ranch with her ailing father. She has no contact with the outside world or memory of her childhood. After her father dies, strange men approach her claiming that, as kids, they were all costars on cult-classic children’s show Mister Magic. Now a podcaster wants to interview them about the show, which ended after a mysterious tragedy, and all the previous cast members are invited. Even as Val slowly comes to terms with the strangeness of her lost childhood, her unexplained memory loss, the secrets kept by her possibly untrustworthy costars, and the marvels made by the theoretically CGI star of the show, Mister Magic himself, all hint at some greater, possibly supernatural conspiracy. Transcripts from fan forums interspersed throughout only enhance the ambiguity surrounding what exactly ended the show—and whether the show ever existed. These questions keep the pages flying on the way to a climax that satisfies even while not delivering typical horror action and gore. Both eerie and surprisingly heartwarming, White’s examination of the perils of nostalgia is sure to win fans. Agent: Michelle Wolfson, Wolfson Literary. (Aug.)