Set to Stun-ning

Jack Parker is not a name known to many, we lucky few over at TSD have had the chance to see his creative output in the tricks and video’s he has posted there. Also you might recall a number of things he has had published in MAGIC magazine. Now its time for this UK card man to release his first e-book. This was released earlier this week, the reason it has taken me this long to post about it is that I wanted to really play around with the material and get a feel for the routines, rather than just dashing something off. So here are a few thoughts that might constitute a kind-of-review.

The e-book is split into three sections, with a stunning graphic layout courtesy of Andi Gladwin. The first section entitled ‘Compulsive Swallowing’ starts with Cross Eyed Suprise. This is a neat little packet effect where two aces transpose from in between the four queens. Inspired by David Solomon, and David Regal, you know this is going to be good! In the last phase we are introduced to a lovely variation on the Kosky Switch that brings about the Hotel Mystery type of climax.

Jack then brings us his variation of a Tamariz routine, namely Four of a Kind or All of a Kind as its published in Mnemonica. Rather than using a fully stacked deck as in the Tamariz version, this can be done from a shuffled unprepared deck. However this does slightly change the premise to the trick, rather than you turning over three cards that you say will match the card the spectator hasn’t yet seen, the spectator looks at a card, you then turn over three indicator cards that you hope will point to the identity of their card, they don’t but you do get out of trouble as in the original routine, with a bit of a Walton premise thrown in for good measure. I think I actually prefer this way of doing the trick, rather than being wrong three times, having to openly act this, and possibly giving away where the trick is going, you are wrong once, and then you correct it for the finish.

First of the First is a very clean vanish and re-appearance of a selection from between two other cards, reminiscent of Elmsley’s Point of Departure, a very clean looking setup phase introduces us to an interesting Vernon move that I had only briefly seen before, here Jack uses it to good effect as this one move accomplishes the necessary to bring about the trick.

We then move onto part two, in fairness to Jack I won’t mention the title of this section as it would tip some of the workings of the three effects, I think it is ok to mention that this is my favourite section of the e-book and you will own the necessary to do the tricks, or what is required is very commonly available, and here it is utilised to great effect to bring about so much magic!

Persistent Offenders is based on Paul Harris’s Tap Dancing Aces routine, it see’s the four kings jumping from their packet to the deck and back again, and even in the spectator’s hands. More Effort Less Magic is a comedy routine which utilises misdirection to bring about some visual changes. In short a selection vanishes from between the Kings in an amusing fashion, and re-appears in a visually startling way. Lastly in this section The Heist is a great packet cards-across effect, based around the theme of a jewel robbery. Inspired by two Paul Harris routines again the construction of the routine gives you a very clean and clear picture of what is happening, as part of the story a card is very fairly placed with four-of-a-kind in the middle of the deck by the spectator, it can immediatley be shown to have vanished and re-appeared in the packet you are holding, its that clean!

The last part Pin Tweaks starts off with U.D.S.I which is an un-gimmicked handling for a Luke Dancy effect, a very straight-forward setup is required utilising a move seen earlier, you can then pull off the very visual climax of the Ace of Spades transposing with the tabled kings, this in terms of handling may be the hardest effect in the book if you cannot do a certain move, but Jack offers alternate endings. Fletch is a variation on a Jerry Sadowitz trick entitled Fetch. Jack has modified this so that instead of one indifferent card seemingly taken on a life of its own and moving around a fan of cards (based on an old gag we all probably do!) and then finding the selection as in the Sadowitz routine, here an indifferent card animates and then magically changes into the selection. 100% Confidence is the trick that concludes this last section, you can see a video clip of this at the Underground Collective site. Based on David Solomon’s Three Indicators trick, Jack has taken this and John Bannon’s Discrepancy City prediction to the limits, with a great climax and some lovely displays, I encourage you to watch the video and see the little nuances of Jack’s handling of this trick that make it look so free and fair.

As a last bonus item Jack offers the Can Can Coin, a lovely impromptu coin through coke-can effect, which is one of those things I will store in my head and await the opportunity to try. I laughed out loud at the ideas used in this routine, for the sheer cleverness of the convincers, and the cheeky clean-up, a well thought out routine that Tim Trono said was worth the price of admission!

This is a great e-book, excellent production standards, well explained routines, but most of all you get the feeling that Jack really knows how to construct his effects, selecting the right moves and sleights to give you the cleanest and fairest possibly setups, with the most powerful climax possible. Hopefully this little review of the effects contained within will give you some idea of what you will be getting for your money, none of the effects contain knuckle-busting sleights, just clever thinking to obtain maximum output. You can purchase Set to Stun at Jack’s Deck priced $20.