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A Deadly Game of Magic

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Seeking shelter from a fierce Texas storm, four teens are trapped inside a strange house as unwitting players in a magician's evil games. The phone goes dead. A plaster head suddenly appears. A disembodied hand taps the mantel. Then the magic turns even more sinister, leading inevitably toward murder. Seeking shelter from a fierce Texas storm, four teens are trapped inside a strange house as unwitting players in a magician's evil games. The phone goes dead. A plaster head suddenly appears. A disembodied hand taps the mantel. Then the magic turns even more sinister, leading inevitably toward murder.


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Seeking shelter from a fierce Texas storm, four teens are trapped inside a strange house as unwitting players in a magician's evil games. The phone goes dead. A plaster head suddenly appears. A disembodied hand taps the mantel. Then the magic turns even more sinister, leading inevitably toward murder. Seeking shelter from a fierce Texas storm, four teens are trapped inside a strange house as unwitting players in a magician's evil games. The phone goes dead. A plaster head suddenly appears. A disembodied hand taps the mantel. Then the magic turns even more sinister, leading inevitably toward murder.

30 review for A Deadly Game of Magic

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

    When I saw this book it kind of reminded me of R.L. Stine or Mary Downing Hahn so I thought I would like this. But, after reading the first awkwardly worded paragraph, what came next was 149 pages of pure boredom. Four teenagers are trapped in a stranger's house during a flood and what was suppose to be a suspenseful story quickly became a story about what did Sam see in the back room that scared him so much. Of course everyone is to scared to look in the room and talking about it was about all When I saw this book it kind of reminded me of R.L. Stine or Mary Downing Hahn so I thought I would like this. But, after reading the first awkwardly worded paragraph, what came next was 149 pages of pure boredom. Four teenagers are trapped in a stranger's house during a flood and what was suppose to be a suspenseful story quickly became a story about what did Sam see in the back room that scared him so much. Of course everyone is to scared to look in the room and talking about it was about all these characters did. Half way through the book I wanted to scream: "For the sake of all humanity, someone please go look in that room!!!"

  2. 5 out of 5

    Mir

    Bland but unobjectionable mild suspense story about four teens who stop to call AAA and end up trapped by a flood in a house with a psycho stage magician. Nothing graphic or too scary. Recommended for kids who want to convince their parents to let them have cell phones.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Meghan

    LOL yep just trying to meet my reading challenge. Sadly, not as scary or clever as I remembered this being...

  4. 5 out of 5

    Nikki

    I was actually surprised at how much I liked this book. When I picked it up, it looked like a book a kid in 5th grade would read, but I figured, the story line sounds interesting, so why not try it out, right? I got bored after the first 20 pages, but, as my OCD kicks in, I told myself I needed to finish the book because I had already started it. So i continued reading and the mystery started and the clues began to appear and I wanted to know what, or who, was in that house, tormenting Lisa, Bo, I was actually surprised at how much I liked this book. When I picked it up, it looked like a book a kid in 5th grade would read, but I figured, the story line sounds interesting, so why not try it out, right? I got bored after the first 20 pages, but, as my OCD kicks in, I told myself I needed to finish the book because I had already started it. So i continued reading and the mystery started and the clues began to appear and I wanted to know what, or who, was in that house, tormenting Lisa, Bo, Julian, and Teena. It would've drove me crazy if I hadn't found out. I did find it annoying how slow the clues came along and how weird it was that the teenagers didn't want to stay outside. That would have been my first reaction "I am NOT staying in some strangers house... and the people who invited me to stay inside, it wasn't even their house!" Really? That's just weird and it's not right. But I did like the fact that Chamberlain used magic to give his clues. That was brilliant. I also liked the fact that the author brushed on the teenager's lives and how they are connected with how their parents want a certain career for them even though that's not what they want. I thought that was a little interesting. Over all, it was a great book, a quik read, which I always like, and I definitely recommend. Warning though, there are grammar/spelling issues that come along with it, so... BEWARE. (That was the one thing that bothered me about this book, and that says something).

  5. 4 out of 5

    Erica Leigh

    Underwhelming. An unseen antagonist uses magic tricks—excuse me, ILLUSIONS—to quietly terrorize a group of teens dressed like mimes. Lots of potential scares/red herrings were left unaddressed and I still have soooo many questions.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Angela

    Bo, Teena, Julian, and Lisa are four teens who would never be together if it weren't for a project for school. Things only get worse for them when Bo's car breaks down and they are forced to pull into an old home to use a phone for help. They soon find that they are alone in the house waiting for the auto club, but a storm outside may delay their rescue. Soon odd things start happening in the house, things that are making the four teens realize they need to help each other and stick together to Bo, Teena, Julian, and Lisa are four teens who would never be together if it weren't for a project for school. Things only get worse for them when Bo's car breaks down and they are forced to pull into an old home to use a phone for help. They soon find that they are alone in the house waiting for the auto club, but a storm outside may delay their rescue. Soon odd things start happening in the house, things that are making the four teens realize they need to help each other and stick together to make it to the rescue from the auto club. Lisa discovers things in the house that shouldn't be scary, but are just down right terrifying when the setting is so dark and dreary. All the teens want is to go home, preferably soon and even more preferably alive. Someone seems to be in this spooky house, but they never really show themselves. Who is in the house and do they mean the teens harm? What about the little old lady that owns this house? Is she really stuck in town because of the weather or did she come home and come to some harm by the mysterious someone in her home? Is the someone in the home a hitchhiker or are they someone more mysterious than that. other worldly? This book had me from the first word on the first page all the way to the last word on the last page. I was absolutely sucked into this book and story. This author absolutely nailed the bullseye in the writing and flow of this book! I was so into this book by the wonderful descriptions given that I found myself jumpy as I read because of how focused I was on what was going on in the book. A noise would happen in my own home as I was reading and I jumped thinking I was in the story. The characters were so realistic and fun and so well developed that I felt they were real people that I knew of. They all were so different, yet all so much alike. I loved the bonds they started to form as the book progressed. This was a bit different than most mystery books I've read, but in a great way. It wasn't this .... so and so was murdered and now we must find who done it.... it was a what is happening here and what is really going on in this house and with these teens mystery. I loved every minute of it! Nice change of pace in my reading. The ending was a bit of a disappointment to me, as it left some things unanswered, but all in all my love of the rest of the book outweighed the way things ended. If you like mysteries with a twist, this is the book for you. This is a great book for young adults and adults and is a great easy breezy read. I highly recommend this book!!! 5/5 Stars!!!!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Leanna

    The only reason I read A Deadly Game of Magic by Joan Lowery Nixon is because it was free. Granted, most of the books I read are free—from the library. But I was actually able to take this book on an overseas flight. I read other Joan Lowery Nixon books as a teenager—and I enjoyed them. Either I had no taste in books at the time or Deadly Game is just a stinker. (Since Lowery Nixon is an Edgar Award winner, I hope it’s the latter.) In the book, four high school students are trapped in a rainstorm. The only reason I read A Deadly Game of Magic by Joan Lowery Nixon is because it was free. Granted, most of the books I read are free—from the library. But I was actually able to take this book on an overseas flight. I read other Joan Lowery Nixon books as a teenager—and I enjoyed them. Either I had no taste in books at the time or Deadly Game is just a stinker. (Since Lowery Nixon is an Edgar Award winner, I hope it’s the latter.) In the book, four high school students are trapped in a rainstorm. Although the plot—about a demented magician—is unbelievable, the real problem with the book is the dialogue. The teenagers simply do not sound like teenagers. Teena, in particular, spouts platitudes and clichés like a middle-aged woman: “You got guilt all over your face like jam” and “Looking at you is like staring at a window with the shade pulled down” are my favorites. I have never heard anyone talk this way—especially not a teenager. The book’s romantic” scenes are equally as uncomfortable. Lisa, the narrator, describes her crush, saying, “I watched him leave the room, his long, slender body moving easily, and I wanted to follow him, to touch him.” Is this really how teenage girls think? Deadly Game is a fast and harmless read. But with so many other books out there, it is also a waste of time.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sandra Stiles

    On their way back from a competition four teens find themselves stranded at a stranger's house due to car trouble. The man who let them in to call a mechanic tells them to lock up when they leave as he and his wife are headed out to a party. You immediately get the feeling that something is not quite right here. From this point on things really start getting suspenseful. You wonder, are they alone in the house? this was a great read. However, due to a lot of unanswered questions at the end of th On their way back from a competition four teens find themselves stranded at a stranger's house due to car trouble. The man who let them in to call a mechanic tells them to lock up when they leave as he and his wife are headed out to a party. You immediately get the feeling that something is not quite right here. From this point on things really start getting suspenseful. You wonder, are they alone in the house? this was a great read. However, due to a lot of unanswered questions at the end of the book, I only gave this book a rating of 4 out of 5.

  9. 5 out of 5

    CAroLiNe

    so this book is about 4 friends who is driving around n then there car gets messed up cause of the rain so they see this house near by n stop by to use the phone n then they found out that the people that were there didnt liv in that house soo then the lights go off and thats wen the magic begins.....

  10. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Montana

    This book is amazing. Yes,it's scary,but just amazing. It leaves you wanting more. This book is amazing. Yes,it's scary,but just amazing. It leaves you wanting more.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Blayden

    A Deadly Game of magic, by Joan Lowery Nixon reading Lexile, is 670L The main characters Bo, Julien, teena, and Lisa ( main characters )are going home from losing a competition in a big city to their little town ( so it’s far away and a long drive ) but when they were going home it started to rain terribly. And it got worse and so bad that it flooded up halfway to the side of the vehicle. They had to stop at a house on a hill to get away from the rain so it wouldn’t hydroplane their car. So they A Deadly Game of magic, by Joan Lowery Nixon reading Lexile, is 670L The main characters Bo, Julien, teena, and Lisa ( main characters )are going home from losing a competition in a big city to their little town ( so it’s far away and a long drive ) but when they were going home it started to rain terribly. And it got worse and so bad that it flooded up halfway to the side of the vehicle. They had to stop at a house on a hill to get away from the rain so it wouldn’t hydroplane their car. So they go up to the house and they can hear the television all the way outside they’re greeted by a man inviting them and leaving them in the house when they are not there. Things get worse every second they are there until the lights went out they discovered, even more, a dog came and helped with the dark. In the end, it was a very scary magician versus magician showdown and a sheriff took them home after he found out from the scared silly towtrucker The mood is very tense ominous and thrilling in the story. For example, it opens as a very dark (scary ) rainy(pg. 1) (gloomy, mad, and sad ) but if the author would to make it day time then it wouldn’t be scary it would be gloomy. And if it weren’t to be raining they wouldn’t have to stop at a house and there wouldn’t be a story to tell . if bo was smart ( pg. 89) then he wouldn’t have to be the main character I like this book it was very interesting and it can keep your mind on this story I recommend this book the reasoning is because it can really put a visualized movie in your mind. It really describing I got confused one time only because I missed a word. If you’re at this Lexile then it’s a great book to read. Some things to say great ending, my favorite part was when the dog was missing and he was in the car but they thought bo was in the trunk and he wasn’t !! My biggest connection with the book with real-life was that it is scary to go into a different hose for the first time but keep your guard up it could get bad….

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jess

    Tbh this book was worth reading just for the laughs I got out of it. I have tears running down my face after that scene where they’re all sitting clapping for an invisible maniac who’s just murdered his wife. Oh dear. Just... everything about this was hilarious. Lisa conveniently wanting to be a magician. The random dog that was never explained. The mime costumes. The way the kids kept shifting from room to room and arguing about which room to go to and never ever going to the exciting room to ju Tbh this book was worth reading just for the laughs I got out of it. I have tears running down my face after that scene where they’re all sitting clapping for an invisible maniac who’s just murdered his wife. Oh dear. Just... everything about this was hilarious. Lisa conveniently wanting to be a magician. The random dog that was never explained. The mime costumes. The way the kids kept shifting from room to room and arguing about which room to go to and never ever going to the exciting room to just find out what was happening once and for all. The woman who comes by, finds random strangers in her friend’s house and just leaves them to it. The magic-off! I just found it so ridiculously funny. And honestly, if I’d read this as a child I’d definitely have been creeped out! The last part was a little bit creepy! And there were moments of them being in an isolated house and the phones cutting out and creepy invisible magic tricks that made me think oooh this book might go somewhere! But then there’s so much discussion about the rooms and pointless arguments that are resolved in seconds and weird bits where Lisa knew everything about everyone because they were all too thick to psychoanalyse themselves. And Teena constantly saying nothing is a good idea, oh my god. But trust me, it’s worth it for the clapping scene. I’d encourage people to read it purely for that. It gave me a right giggle.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Dianne

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Joan Lowery Nixon BIO Joan Lowery Nixon is the only four-time winner of the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Allan Poe Award and a two-time winner of the California Young Reader Medal. Whether it's engrossing historical dramas, chilling mysteries, suspense-filled page-turners, or adventure stories, kids, teachers, and librarians love the books of Joan Lowery Nixon. Nixon is half Californian, half Texan. She has a degree in journalism and credentials in elementary education. Nixon has written over 13 Joan Lowery Nixon BIO Joan Lowery Nixon is the only four-time winner of the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Allan Poe Award and a two-time winner of the California Young Reader Medal. Whether it's engrossing historical dramas, chilling mysteries, suspense-filled page-turners, or adventure stories, kids, teachers, and librarians love the books of Joan Lowery Nixon. Nixon is half Californian, half Texan. She has a degree in journalism and credentials in elementary education. Nixon has written over 130 books for children from preschool age through young adult—including science books, co-authored with her husband, geologist Hershell Nixon. Her books have garnered numerous awards and accolades, including the Western Writers of America Golden Spur Award for Best Western Juvenile and the Texas Institute of Letters Award. Many of Nixon's books have won state children's choice awards. She is the only four-time winner of the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Juvenile Mystery. Nixon has four children and several grandchildren. Nixon describes the pleasure she gets from writing mystery and suspense: "When I was young I discovered an evening radio program called I LOVE A MYSTERY. It was intriguing, suspenseful, and at times absolutely terrifying, and the title was correct. I did love a mystery—on radio, in films, and especially in books. Maybe I'm really a detective at heart because much later in my life, when I began to write books for young people, I discovered writing mysteries was even more fun than reading them. "A mystery begins to develop in my mind when something sparks an idea and a question grows from it. What would it be like to move into a house in which a murder had taken place? How would I feel if my best friend were arrested for murder on circumstantial evidence? As a question develops into an answer, I give a great deal of thought to my main character. She is the most important part of the story, and I see it take shape through her eyes. Before I write a word of the story I know how I'll begin it and how I'll end it, making sure to put in honest clues and distracting red herrings—just to make the mystery all the more fun to solve. I love mysteries, and I want my readers to love them, too." In creating the acclaimed Orphan Train Adventures, Nixon explored a time and place in America's recent past that is not widely covered in history lessons. She explains, "It was a part of history I hadn't known: that beginning in 1854, over 100,000 homeless children were rescued from the streets of New York City and sent by train to new homes in the West. As I researched early journals, I found many letters—some hopeful, some sad—and reports which told of tears as brothers and sisters were separated or a child was not chosen. I wanted to bring history and fiction together in an exciting, adventurous time and place, to tell the stories of those who could have traveled west on the Orphan Train." Many of Nixon's readers have written to her asking how to get published. Her novel THE MAKING OF A WRITER, a part memoir, part how-to book, is her answer to them. From her first publication at age 10—a poem titled "Springtime"—to her graduation from Hollywood High during World War II, Nixon shares the incidents from her childhood that helped her to develop as a writer. PRESS RELEASE New York (July 8, 2003) — Joan Lowery Nixon, a critically acclaimed author of books for young people, died Saturday, June 28, 2003 in Houston, Texas at the age of 76. Mrs. Nixon held a Journalism degree from the University of Southern California and also had credentials in elementary education. She specialized in writing mysteries for young adults, and was awarded The Mystery Writers of America Edgar Allen Poe Award for 4 of her mysteries. Mrs. Nixon is the only person to ever win 4 Edgar Awards. A past president of The Mystery Writers of America, Mrs. Nixon developed "Kids Love a Mystery Week". She also initiated a writing badge for the Girls Scouts of America and was an active member of Western Writers of America. Her Orphan Train book series (Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers) earned two Golden Spur awards from that organization. The author of over 140 books, Mrs. Nixon was published in more than 20 languages, and 15 of her books have won state children’s choice awards. Mrs. Nixon described herself as half Californian, half Texan. She was born in Los Angeles, grew up in Hollywood, and spent the remainder of her life in Houston. Mrs. Nixon once described the pleasure she got from writing mystery and suspense: "When I was young I discovered an evening radio program called I Love a Mystery. It was intriguing, suspenseful, and at times absolutely terrifying, and the title was correct. I did love a mystery—on radio, in films, and especially in books. Maybe I’m really a detective at heart because much later in my life, when I began to write books for young people, I discovered writing mysteries was even more fun than reading them." Many of Mrs. Nixon’s readers wrote to her asking how to get published. Her book THE MAKING OF A WRITER (Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers, May 2002), a part memoir, part how-to book, was her answer to them. From her first publication at age 16—a poem entitled "Springtime"—to her graduation from Hollywood High during World War II, Nixon shared the events and experiences from her childhood that helped her to develop as a writer. Whether referring to her engrossing historical dramas, chilling mysteries, suspense-filled page-turners, or adventure stories, one fact will remain consistently true: kids, teachers, and librarians love Joan Lowery Nixon’s books. © Copyright 2003, Teenreads.com. All rights reserved.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Tamara

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I picked this book up way back in 2011 from the bookstore Borders when it was still around and way before I was using Goodreads.. I’ve read this book once before and loved it.. After reading it a second time, I still loved it and would probably read it again. I didn’t like how it ended though, like there was suppose to be a second book to this... I loved the whole magician part, and when Lisa stepped in towards the end of the book as a magician, showing off to The Chamberlain, fulfilling her chil I picked this book up way back in 2011 from the bookstore Borders when it was still around and way before I was using Goodreads.. I’ve read this book once before and loved it.. After reading it a second time, I still loved it and would probably read it again. I didn’t like how it ended though, like there was suppose to be a second book to this... I loved the whole magician part, and when Lisa stepped in towards the end of the book as a magician, showing off to The Chamberlain, fulfilling her childhood dream all the while talking with her friends on what they wanted to do with their life’s and what their parents wanted for them..

  15. 4 out of 5

    Nathan

    Read this as a kid, forget how old I was. Absolutely terrified me at the time, so much so I remember it now even ~30 years later while having forgotten both title and author. Just now spent a long time googling just to find it. Found the other reviews amusing. Shallow characters, cliche plot.... sure that’s probably all spot on, but as a fairly innocent young kid I didn’t notice any of it, all I remember is the atmosphere and the suspense and the sheer terror of that room at the end of the hallw Read this as a kid, forget how old I was. Absolutely terrified me at the time, so much so I remember it now even ~30 years later while having forgotten both title and author. Just now spent a long time googling just to find it. Found the other reviews amusing. Shallow characters, cliche plot.... sure that’s probably all spot on, but as a fairly innocent young kid I didn’t notice any of it, all I remember is the atmosphere and the suspense and the sheer terror of that room at the end of the hallway. Holy crap was I scared. Not sure if this constitutes a positive or negative review!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jewell Moreno

    Nice mystery. 4 teens on the way back from a drama/debate conference run into trouble during a storm. They wind up stranded in an old mansion, full of magicians props and tools. Worse they are not alone. I read this over the days of Hurrican Harvey, so the storm was relevant and added to the story, since it's set in Texas as well. Love old 80's teen novels. Nice mystery. 4 teens on the way back from a drama/debate conference run into trouble during a storm. They wind up stranded in an old mansion, full of magicians props and tools. Worse they are not alone. I read this over the days of Hurrican Harvey, so the storm was relevant and added to the story, since it's set in Texas as well. Love old 80's teen novels.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Kohlstrom

    This was all right. It's been on my TBR for ages and I finally decided to read it. Honestly, some things didn't make sense and didn't add up and I'm still left with questions that got no answers... But I suppose that's one of the points of this kind of book, isn't it? Either way, it's a quick read and it did have some good stuff in it. This was all right. It's been on my TBR for ages and I finally decided to read it. Honestly, some things didn't make sense and didn't add up and I'm still left with questions that got no answers... But I suppose that's one of the points of this kind of book, isn't it? Either way, it's a quick read and it did have some good stuff in it.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

    As a book that keeps you wanting more, this book does its job. The setup for the story is neat and its nice that the horror is spaced out so that the characters can interact. The characters also interact through the horror, creating an enjoyable dynamic.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Matschmomma

    It was ok. seemed dated.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Keesa

    Not bad, not great...this book was fairly standard, easy reading, nothing to write home about. Cheap pulp paperback fiction. Mediocre.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Meghan Kathleen

    I first read this book when I was in middle school, and I was obsessed with it. I can say adult me doesn’t feel nearly as strongly about it. I feel like it was a rerun of a Scooby Doo episode.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Milkman3367

    Not bad considering it's for younger readers. I felt like I was watching a Scooby Doo episode. Not bad considering it's for younger readers. I felt like I was watching a Scooby Doo episode.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Adrian

    Starts off strong. But the ending did disappoint me personally. Teens stuck in a house and they cant go home. But they're not alone in that house. Starts off strong. But the ending did disappoint me personally. Teens stuck in a house and they cant go home. But they're not alone in that house.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Rutledge Reviews

    Wow. This is a outstanding horror read.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Maeve Kilcarr

    I read this when I was like 10 and it scarred me. Like I VIVIDLY remember everything that happened in this book and want to reread it so bad

  26. 4 out of 5

    NICHOLAS

    Scary to think where all this could take us.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Urbach

    Serious topics mixed with humor.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Trickett

    Just the right amount of humor.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Mahar

    The extraordinary ending is a cliff-hanger.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Roggeman

    I loved the plot and the details needed to make it feel real.

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