ABK by Michael Paul http://theinvisiblethread.com/secrets/product_info.php?products_id=57 The Official Spam: This e-book starts off with a nice cover page, followed by a list of everything in the e-book. The Introduction is short and sweet, and basically tells you everything you need to know about the content that follows. Michael states that these work well when performing for real people, in the real world. Followed by the Introduction, there is an essay about “ABK.” Michael states what “ABK” stands for, and how it relates to magic. It was a very nice read. Poltergeist Coins: This is quite an interesting effect. A spectator takes out some pocket change and it is dumped inside a glass. The put their hand over the glass, and apply pressure on top of it. Suddenly, the glass starts shaking. You tell them to hold the glass still. The glass starts moving again, and might even slide across the table. You have them remove their hand, and the coins that were inside the glass are now mutilated—some coins are bent, some burned, and it’s just a plain weird image to see! I love the method on this one! It uses no gimmicks and no gaffs. The glass shakes and moves across the table using nothing. The magician can be across the room, and nothing is attached to the glass. It’s just plain fun, and will really fool the socks of your audience! The coins being bent inside the glass is a great addition to the effect, and further proves what is happening. Michael has a GREAT convincer, and it really sells the effect. That convincer/subtly is worth the price of the e-book alone, and can be used in other effects as well. I highly enjoyed this, and can’t wait to start using it. Un-Dead Head: This is an interesting effect. A head of a doll is covered by a handkerchief. The head then moves around the room underneath the handkerchief. Finally, when the head rests back on the table top, you whisk the handkerchief away, and there is absolutely nothing to be found. This is another great effect and method, but probably not something I will use. It’s just not my style. It’s basically a very clever way of doing the Zombie Ball. You will need to take a trip, but the item being bought is easy to find and inexpensive. The really nice thing about this is that right after you take the handkerchief away; there is nothing to be seen. The doll head is not attached to anything, and there is nothing inside the handkerchief. It’s very clean, and way cool. Another nice point is that this doesn’t have to be done with a creepy looking doll head. The principle can be applied to many other effects. I might try this out using some type of ball. Silver Lining: A spectator freely selects a number. The foil from a gum wrapper is placed inside the spectator’s closed fist. She feels a weird energy form around her hand, and when she opens her hand the wrinkles in the foil have formed the number she freely chose. This is by far my favorite item in the e-book. It’s great. There is no force of the number, and no math has to be done to arrive at the selected number. It’s a great concept, and it’s credited to Matthew Mello. You do need to make a gimmick, and you will need to take a trip to a different store. The materials needed for this are not hard to find, and are pretty cheap. It will take some time and effort, but it will be worth it in the end. The gum wrapper used is ungimmicked. This is one of those gems that come around once in a while. I hate to say it again, but this effect is worth of the e-book alone. There is a reason Michael closes his close-up sets with this. It’s great, there’s nothing more to say. Nightlife Aces: Two red aces are placed inside the deck facing up. The two black aces are put face up on the top and bottom of the deck. Magically, the red aces are now on top and bottom, and the black aces are in the middle. Again, the aces switch places inside the pack. All four aces are put inside the pack, and you ask your spectator where the aces are. They say there inside the middle of the deck. You say wrong, and spread the deck and show no aces are there. Immediately, the aces appear in four different pockets. Here’s another nice take on the classic Cavorting Aces. This is one of the first tricks I learned when I was learning the move necessary for the trick. It’s very nice. I always felt as this little trick never had an ending, and finally Michael Paul added a great one. Unlike the original this does use some gimmicks. The gimmicks can be made yourself or picked up for cheap at your local magic store. The routine does use some sleight of hand, and probably isn’t suitable for the beginning magician. The moves are common, and require lots of practice to make sure they look right. The four ace vanish ending is super easy to do, and is virtually self-working. No one should have trouble doing this part. Your hands can then be shown empty, and produce the aces in four different pockets. It’s a great routine, and I’ve been having fun playing with it. This is my second favorite in the e-book. Next we move into ACAAN, or “Any Card at Any Number.” Michael has some unique approaches to the plot. This could’ve been sold as a separate e-book itself. “Attacking ACAAN” starts off with an elegant cover page, and moves directly into an introduction. The next section is an overview of the content that is coming up. Michael talks about the moves and sleights needed, and that each version has its own pros and cons. Psychometry Card: A spectator is asked to touch the back of any face down card. The card that is touched is slid onto the table top, allowing nobody to see what card is selected. The spectator then names any number, no force. The magician counts down to that number, and removes the face down card. When both cards are revealed, there are shown to be matches! For example, both cards are red fives! This is a very interesting method, and is not recommended for the beginner. I am working on something that is needed for this routine right now, and it will take weeks more for me to get it down correctly. If you already have this versatile thing in your arsenal, you’re pretty much ready to perform. There are a few other basic sleights required, but most card magicians should be able to do them smoothly. There is absolutely no force in the card selected, and no force in the number selected. I really like this approach, as it’s not just name a card and name a number. I really like the idea of two matching cards being found. Another big plus in this handling is that the spectator gets to choose both cards freely. A con in this handling is that the spectator doesn’t name a card, but touches one. I don’t really think it takes too much away from the effect, but some people will disagree. I really like this, and will start practicing it right after I get the main technique down. T minus 1: A deck of cards is held in the palms of a spectator. Another spectator names any card in the deck. A final spectator names any number from 1 to 52. The cards are removed from the box by the spectator and are counted down to the selected number. The card at the selected number is the card freely chosen by one of the other spectators. Although this handling is very direct, it’s my least favorite. Let’s just say you’re going to be needing a little help from a friend. Though this can be very strong, I usually perform when I have no one present, and there are random people. This won’t work for me, but if it works for you, you’ll have a great piece of magic on your hands.