Mollie E. Reeder’s The Electrical Menagerie starts out bright and shiny like a circus show, but swiftly morphs into a buddy cop–style mystery. Trick master Carthage strives to prove a childhood illness can’t ruin his future, while money-wise Huxley seeks to prove his rich parents are wrong about him, his career choice, and his ability to make a fortune outside of their hereditary one. Both are keeping secrets, but upcoming trials will prove that partnership works best when based on friendship and honesty. Set in an exotic world of flying horses and flying trains, this story’s light touch of romantic intrigue leaves room for richer developments in future. Here, magicians’ rivalries are backlit by murder, and the characters, scenery, and action are so well-drawn that the experience of reading this novel feels more like watching a movie.
Best for: Fans of The Greatest Showman and Sherlock Holmes.
Discern: Very mild violence, murder, kidnapping, and some drugged wine.