by Austin Williams
Austin Williams’ first book in the Rusty Diamond Trilogy is aptly named. At every turn of the plot there is a sleigh-of-hand misdirecting the reader from Rusty’s next move.
As a thriller and crime book centered around an ex-magician I thought Misdirection was too far outside of my genre comfort zone. However, as with magic, this book took me completely by surprise!
“A street magician needs more than sleight-of-hand to survive getting embroiled in a murder case in this blistering novel of suspense, perfect for fans of Harlan Coben and George Pelecanos.
After years of chasing fame and hedonistic excess in the bright lights of Las Vegas, Rusty “The Raven” Diamond has returned home to Ocean City to piece his life back together. When he finds himself an innocent suspect in his landlord’s brutal murder, Rusty abandons all hope of maintaining a tranquil existence. Acting on impulse, he digs into the investigation just enough to anger both the police and a local drug cartel.
As the unsolved case grows more complex, claiming new victims and inciting widespread panic, Rusty feels galvanized by the adrenaline he’s been missing for too long. But his newfound excitement threatens to become an addiction, leading him headfirst into an underworld he’s been desperately trying to escape.
Austin Williams creates an unforgettable protagonist in Rusty, a flawed but relatable master of illusion in very real danger. As the suspense builds to an explosively orchestrated climax, Williams paints a riveting portrait of both a city—and a man—on the edge.”
Austin Williams is no stranger to suspenseful writing. In 2011 Williams published two suspense novels and this experience comes through in Misdirection. From perspective shifts to chapter cliffhangers, Williams clearly writes with the aim at having his readers on the edge of their seats.
The anticipation caused by Williams’ writing contributes to the hurried sensation of the unfurling plot. As the story becomes more complicated with multiple narratives, fleeing criminals and sly manipulation, Misdirection turns into an action packed movie playing out in your imagination. The sense of urgency and anxiety increases with every turn of the page as you rush to find out what happens to Rusty, Ocean City and the criminals.
Misdirection is not a book for the faint hearted. Williams’ vivid descriptions capture the grit, gore and garish character of Ocean City’s underworld. From the opening murder scene to the trippy drug experience, readers get a graphic experience. That said, Misdirection is worth the few cringe worthy scenes.
Although Williams’ description throughout Misdirection adds to the film like quality of the story playing out in the reader’s imagination, it can sometimes be overwhelming. Williams ensures that his readers do not lack in detail. At times it seems as if the reader is not supposed to fill in any of the sensory and setting. The descriptions become so specific that we are told exactly what kind of scotch Rusty drinks and how full the bottle is when he reaches for it. This level of detail removes some of the fun of reading.
Nonetheless, the over descriptive narrative does not harm the mystery. Readers will still be left wondering who that is following Rusty, how he will get his way and whether there is love in the air.
Overall Misdirection was an enjoyable read. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this thriller. Even though I began reading it with a critical eye, half way through I gave in to Rusty’s devilish ways and the chaos of Ocean City. If you are looking for an entertaining book to distract you after a stressful day Misdirection is the book for you!
As the first book in a trilogy, Misdirection sets the stage for a new story while leaving key plots lines unanswered. The best part of this book and Williams’ writing is the enigma of Rusty Diamond. Misdirection offers only a glimpse into his sordid past, giving the reader the same amount of information as Rusty’s new friends in Ocean City. In the next two books it will be interesting to see if Rusty has truly reformed and if he can manage a life without the thrill of magic.