cover image Night Magic

Night Magic

Thomas Tryon. Simon & Schuster, $23 (288pp) ISBN 978-0-684-80393-7

Published posthumously, Tryon's contemporary version of The Sorcerer's Apprentice is a lifeless, tedious affair that never transcends the restrictions of its stock plot. NYC street magician Michael Hawke is performing his tricks in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art when a mysterious older man suddenly takes control of the show in a frightening manner. Instantly aware that the stranger is a master of the dark arts, Michael tracks him down, eager to perfect the mystical powers of which he's been given a taste. Once he finds Max Wurlitzer, Michael's life takes a sinister turn, until ultimately he must choose between following his mentor and returning to his girlfriend. Seeking to invoke a sense of evil and foreboding, Tryon succeeds only in making the forces of darkness seem ordinary. His prose is wordy and ponderous, with his cliched narrative leading to a leaden, anticlimactic ending. For compelling depictions of darkness and mystery, Tryon's fans will need to revisit his satisfyingly spooky Harvest Home and The Other. Movie rights to Paramount; audio to S&S Audio. (May)