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Black Review

Official Review

February 6th, 2008 3:32pm
Reviewed by Christian

I believe this book was created with good intentions; however, there are so many problems with the contents of the book, that it is mind boggling.

First, the author, Dan Army, needs to find a good proof reader. There are so many grammatical errors that reading this tome was akin to reading the newspaper in a car driving down a gravel road. Another factor that puzzled me was the intent of the book. Was this a book about Mentalism or card tricks? It is never quite clear. There are card tricks in the book that the author claims are Mentalism, however, clearly they are simply card tricks.

In one section of the book, Dan Army suggests that we learn muscle reading. He gives a cursory definition and example of muscle reading and then suggests that we try it. To be specific he gives us three paragraphs on muscle reading. My goodness! There are whole books devoted to this art. I do not think that three paragraphs is going to cover it. He also offers no references on muscle reading!?! I am not sure why.

He then gives us a few paragraphs on how to perform fake muscle reading. This creates a bit of confusion on what the author is trying to convey to the reader. Should I learn real muscle reading or fake muscle reading? However, since so little is devoted to both concepts, it really doesn’t matter.

The author spends a few pages on psychological forcing. Think Banachek and “Psychological Subtleties”. Most of the information here is quite suspect. As an example, Dan suggests that if we want to psychologically force the King of Hearts, he has a small script for us to use. The script is very simplistic and has the words ‘king’ and ‘hearts’, used five times within the script. He assures us that this will work. I am not convinced.

Pages 21 to 71 are card tricks. Before I talk about cards, I want to point out an example of the inconsistencies in the book. On page 21 the author states the following: “Up until recently, I have not had the respect I have now for a deck of cards.” Then later on the page he states: “Don’t get me wrong I have always loved cards as I do today.” Huh? What are you telling me? I am not sure.

I do not want to spend a lot of time on this book; I will sum it up with a few last comments.

Some of the ideas for the card tricks are good, however, they have already been explored and solved by other authors decades ago. The author needs to study magic history to familiarize himself with tricks that have already been invented. Additionally, many of the explanations are lacking. One explanation mentions that you need to perform a Halo Cut. He does not explain what a Halo Cut is, nor how to perform it. He does not even tell us who invented it.

The last trick in the book does have some promise. However, the comment that made me take a step back was when the author stated “the trick could be done with both cards being signed but . . . the method is too extensive to explain in writing. So, this method will suffice.” What?!? I mean, nuclear fusion can be explained in writing, but how to perform this trick with signed cards cannot?

I cannot recommend this book.
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Product info for Black

Author: Dan Army
Average Rating:  (1)
Retail Price: $22.00
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Manufacturer's Description:


Prepare yourself for Black. Black is an insane compilation of all of Dan's work many years in the making. All of the following effects are practical, direct, and super creative. These effects have been designed and tested for the real world, anytime, anywhere. Dan has been working for nearly a year now on this project, a full, in depth 84 page book. These routines will include:

INKED : A card is chosen from a blue backed deck and signed. It is lost back into the deck. The performer places the deck down, and claims he possesses a magical red backed card. He cleanly pulls out his wallet, and takes out a red backed card. Slowly, he reveals that the signature has transposed onto the red backed card that has been in his wallet the entire time.

NO CHARGE : A super visual ace production. With no cover whatsoever, four aces visually appear out of nowhere. A great opener for any routine!

BURN : A card is signed, and the spectator tears it into several pieces. The performer introduces a lighter, and sets the pieces alight on top of the deck. After the flame dies out, he rubs the ashes against the back of the top card of the deck. He then instructs the spectator to turn over the top card…their signed card! Everything happens in the spectator's hands, and the book includes several devious handlings behind this wonderful effect.

MEMORY : This technique will allow you to memorize the order of a deck shuffled by the spectator! You can name almost any card at any location with ease. With the right presentation, this will kill audiences.

INFRARED : Imagine this. A SEALED invisible deck effect…the spectator THINKS of any card. They name it, and the remove the plastic. They break the seal, and spread through in their own hands. One card is flipped over in the middle. It is their chosen card. This routine is devastating, and can be accomplished in one simple setup.

AMIDST : This is Dan's classic three phase sandwich effect. Four aces are visually produced by the "No Charge" production. The aces are removed, and held in one packet. The magician places one red ace back into the deck. As soon as the other red ace is sandwiched between the two black aces, it swaps places with the red ace placed into the middle of the deck. The magician claims he will take it one step further. The spectator shuffles the four aces back in randomly. He claims the black ink is more dense, so it will sandwich the red aces, no matter the location in the deck. To his surprise, two jokers are sandwiching the two red aces. The black aces are nowhere to be found…only to end up in the spectator's pocket!

INFERNAL CHEAT : An amazing revelation involving a borrowed watch, and a deck of cards. The magician has a spectator choose any card. He claims he will reveal it in a very odd way. The value of their card, corresponds with the time on their watch. So if they picked a four, their watch would jump forward to four o' clock. Anytime, anywhere, and absolutely devastating.

ENEMY : This an amazing card stab routine. The spectator points to any card, but the face is never looked at. To keep track of the card, the spectator signs the back of it. It is lost back into the deck, and the cards are spread all around an open table face up. The performer introduces a knife, raises it high, and drives it straight into the table. Low and behold, he has stabbed one single card. The audience knows what's coming for them. He slowly lifts the knife to reveal their exact signature punctured by the knife.

TRANSPORT : Another cards across routine? No. This one blows them all out of the water. Everything happens in the spectator's hands, and there is no difficult sleights involved. The performer begins with a red deck, but it is somewhat old and clumped up. He continues to have the spectator sign the card, and lose it back in. He claims he will attempt to finish the effect with a new deck. He pulls out a blue deck out of the box, and in the middle, one red backed card is found. Their signed card.

SCITHE : Same card in the end. This is Dan's take on the classic here then there. This is truly an astonishing transposition, as no duplicates are involved. He replaced the duplicate with a new force, making the effect that much stronger. This effect will blow audiences away even in the worst situations. You can do it with a borrowed deck!

IMPRESSION : Two insane variations of this effect are taught. A card is signed, and buried in the middle. The magician claims he can make it jump to the top, but the top card is only found to be blank. He walks over to any copy machine, or computer scanner, and makes a fresh copy of the blank card. As it slowly prints out, their chosen card is printed on the paper. A second variation is taught, where the magician snaps a photo of the blank card with a cell phone camera. Right after the picture is taken, you can see the faint outline of their chosen card in the saved photo. An absolutely devastating effect, and an even better method.

LIGHTNING MONTE : This effect is based around the classic two card Monte, but Dan took it several steps further. The magician cleanly places one ace in their fingers. At LIGHTNING speed, they instantly switch. The cards could be face up if you wanted them to be! Finally, it ends with the classic transposition of the jokers. This routine will heighten your reactions on any of your Monte routines! No gaffs, duplicates, or gimmicks. This can be done with a borrowed deck. Super practical.

TORCHED : This routine is perfect for you devious restaurant magicians out there! The magician takes a straw wrapper, and writes every card in one suit on the wrapper. He then has the spectator choose any card. He introduces a book of matches, and he sets the wrapper alight. It quickly burns up, but the flame instantly extinguishes itself right before one card written on the wrapper. So if they chose a four, it would stop at the four. A truly amazing reveal! Dan also provides awesome advice on how to routine this with a previous effect in the book, Burn.

FLAW : Dan saved the best for last. This card to box effect will kill audiences. It is super easy, direct, and practical. He introduces a red deck and blue deck both in their boxes. He removes both decks from their boxes. One spectator chooses one blue card from the blue deck, and the same for the red deck. The cards are lost back into their corresponding decks. After the magician will claim he will make them transpose into the opposite deck. He is quite surprised to find that he screwed up. Both chosen cards have completely vanished. After looking slightly confused, he points to the card boxes. He touches nothing. Again, it all happens in the spectator's hands. The remove each chosen card from one box, but here is the kicker. The chosen blue card is found inside the red box, and the chosen red card is found inside the blue box. No palms, loads, or gimmicks. This routine CAN and WILL become part of your repertoire.

Besides these devastating effects, this amazing book includes many informative articles to help you along the way. Dan also has full spreads about Psychological forcing, Hellstromism, food for thought, scams, and deception. He also covers his ideas on magic, including inspiration, effort, and passion. This information will make you become a much stronger performer, and make you find your true identity as an artist. Purchase this book now, and you will not be disappointed. Guaranteed. You will receive 84 pages of useful information.

Pages 81 - Soft Bound

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