The Mysterious Press
The Mysterious Press
The Mysterious Press


by Michael Kardos

From a writer who “dazzles with prose strength and style” (Michael Koryta), Bluff takes us deep inside the fraught and fascinating world of a modern magician who becomes obsessed with magic’s dark twin—the underworld of the card cheat.

  • Imprint The Mysterious Press
  • Page Count 288
  • Publication Date April 16, 2019
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-2965-9
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $18.00
  • Imprint The Mysterious Press
  • Page Count 288
  • Publication Date April 03, 2018
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-2804-1
  • Dimensions 6" x 9"
  • US List Price $26.00
  • Imprint The Mysterious Press
  • Publication Date April 03, 2018
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-6567-1
  • US List Price $26.00

About the Book

The magician’s job is to create a mystery—an unbridgeable gap between cause and effect. Michael Kardos brilliantly constructs his new novel Bluff as a magician would, delivering a perfectly calibrated performance of intrigue and, ultimately, astonishment.

At twenty-seven, magician Natalie Webb is already a has-been. A card-trick prodigy, she started touring at seventeen, took first place at the World of Magic competition at eighteen, and never reached such heights again. Shunned by the magic world after a disastrous liaison with an older magician, she now lives alone with her pigeons and a pile of overdue bills in a New Jersey apartment. In a desperate ploy to make extra cash, she follows up on an old offer to write a feature magazine article—on the art of cheating at cards. But when she meets the perfect subject for her article, what begins as a journalistic gamble brings into question everything Natalie thinks she knows about her talent, and herself. Natalie is dazzled by the poker cheat’s sleight of hand and soon finds herself facing a proposition that could radically alter her fortune—to help pull off a $1.5 million magic trick that, if done successfully, no one will ever even suspect happened. With Kardos raising the stakes chapter after chapter, Bluff is a breathtaking work of suspense from a writer at the top of his game.

Advance Praise for Bluff:

“Natalie is a sharp-witted survivor with a relatable self-sabotaging streak whose move into the dark world of card cheats climaxes with a spin worthy of the most adept con artists.”—Booklist

“Engaging and interesting, with enough lore about magicians and gambling to give the story veracity without weighing it down.”—Steve Steinbock, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine

“So exciting and thrilling—I loved this from the first line! Female card-sharp with a mysterious past gets drawn into life-changing heist. Smart and fun.”—Mary Cotton, Newtonville Books, Newton, MA

“As lithe and cunning as its characters, Michael Kardos’s Bluff is a masterly exercise in narrative sleight of hand. This is suspense in its purest form—character-driven, immersive and hopelessly addictive. Prepare to be taken.”—Megan Abbott, Edgar Award-winning author of You Will Know Me

“Michael Kardos is a master at ratcheting up the suspense, and Bluff combines poker, a brilliant con game, and two terrific women who run the show. If you haven’t read Kardos yet, Bluff is the perfect place to start!”—Lisa Scottoline, bestselling author of Exposed

“Terrific writing, great characters, an insider’s knowledge, and a killer plot with a leg-breaker of a twist. What are you waiting for? Buy this book.”—Peter Blauner, author of Proving Ground and Slow Motion Riot

Praise for Michael Kardos:

“Original. . . a carefully calibrated study of how even the most highly evolved members of our species can become feral under pressure.”New York Times Book Review, on The Three-Day Affair

“Brilliant. Before He Finds Her is one of the most innovative and compelling thrillers to come along in recent years. Read the first page and kiss the next 24 hours goodbye. Bravo!”—Jeffery Deaver, on Before He Finds Her

“Kardos delivers another outstanding crime thriller . . . Sophisticated characterizations enhance the intricately constructed story line.”Publishers Weekly (starred review), on Before He Finds Her

“A gripping literary thriller.”Columbus Dispatch, on Before He Finds Her

The Three-Day Affair never stops roaring, the pages blurring by, dangerously accelerating.”Esquire, on The Three-Day Affair

“Utterly compelling, innovative and packed with beautifully drawn characters, Michael Kardos’ second thriller propels him into the front rank of contemporary American thriller writers.”Independent (Ireland), on Before He Finds Her

“A wonderful piece of literary suspense craftsmanship. Line by line, Michael Kardos dazzles with prose strength and style . . . A fascinating character study and engaging thriller.”—Michael Koryta, on The Three-Day Affair