From A Shuffled Deck In Use by Paul Cummins

Reviewed by Jamy Ian Swiss (originally published in Genii January, 1998)

Paul Cummins is a Florida-based cardician who gave me a set of his lecture notes last summer at a lecture I presented. I don't usually review lecture notes, but given the nature of the card manuscripts currently at hand, I have decided that this booklet is certainly worthy of mention. It is actually a combination of two sets of lecture notes now jointly bound. There are 32 items, six of which utilize coins, the remainder being card material of an entirely impromptu nature, to wit, each more or less beginning with or including the instruction, "...from a shuffled deck in use..." Herein we find the usual assortment of plot standbys, including Triumph, Wild Card, Universal Card, Collectors, Oil and Water, and the like. However, Mr. Cummins's work has received favorable notices from the likes of Jim Swain, Darwin Ortiz, and Mike Gallo, and for very good reason: He has a decidedly tasteful sense of the whys and wherefores of his work. There is a definite personal style to the technical choices and routining here, as well as to presentational manner; an understated, elegant, well-informed and yet practical approach that yields a distinctive and worthwhile outcome. You will find touches here that are worth adding to your existing routines, such as the author's way of making the now standard Daryl Martinez multi-packet Triumph display appear more random, or a clever opening sequence for a multiple-selection routine. I thoroughly enjoyed these notes, but their benefits may not be obvious at a cursory glance, and will require a contemplative approach to the material that matches the author's thoughtful eye for detail. Were this material rewritten with a bit more thoroughness and reproduced with a supply of good illustrations in a quality production, this would be a book that I would want on my shelf If you're willing to tackle the low production values and complete absence of illustrations, you'll find reward in the effort and value for the financial expenditure.

8 - 1/2" X 11" comb hound; 78 pages; not illustrated; 1996; Available from: H&R Magic Books