Nick Trost's Subtle Card Creations, Volume 2 by Nick Trost
Reviewed by Jamy Ian Swiss (originally published in Genii July, 2009)
The late Nick Trost, who passed away last October at the age of 73, left behind a remarkable legacy of card magic. Beginning with a One-Man Parade in the pages of the February 1955 issue of The Linking Ring, Trost continued producing and publishing card magic throughout more than a half a century to come, including his column in The New Tops which ran for 33 years.
In 1997, The Card Magic of Nick Trost was published, a substantial volume that demonstrated beyond question that Trost's creativity and expertise stretched far beyond the borders of the "packet trick" mania which he was long associated with. In the August 1997 issue of Genii I opined that "I was delighted by some of the material in this collection, and quite entertained at times by the ingenious results that Mr. Trost is often able to wring out of a minimum of technical demands or a modicum of gaffs." As a succinct review, that sentence applies just as surely to the collection at hand, which is actually a follow-up to the first volume of Subtle Card Creations that was published by H&R Magic Books in 2008.
That previous volume included chapters addressing coincidences, transpositions, court cards, special decks, gambling tricks, packet tricks, poker tricks, ESP cards, and more. The contents of this second volume picks up where the first left off, which is to say that it begins at page 299 with chapter 12 on "More Coincidences," and concluding with chapter 22 of "ESP Cards Part 2." Along the way more than 100 tricks are described, some adding to themes begun in the first volume more gambling tricks, more predictions, more transpositions, more packet tricks as well as fresh territory in chapters about hotel mysteries, the four Aces, poker deals, and even "pinochle puzzlers," a chapter of tricks with a pinochle deck.
Most purchasers of this volume will likely already be familiar with the consistent features of Trost's work, including methods that are well within the range of the average hobbyist, combined with an eye for clarity of effect and, in particular, routining, that often provides seasoned pros with something to consider. Thus a four-phase routine based on Eddie Joseph's "Staggered" exploits the principle to the maximum, and adapts it to a one-deck version along the way, providing a Tamarizian sequence of effects in the lead-off coincidence chapter. The next chapter, about the venerable Hotel Mystery plot, offers a number of useful approaches to this appealing and understated story trick. Trost's first entry in a chapter of divinations provides an improved solution to John Scarne's "$1000 Card Trick" which Scarne first described in 1976, and provides one of countless examples of Trost's careful crediting and thorough grasp of the literature. In the same chapter, Trost provides a three-phase routine of logically structured divinations, in which the performer successfully divines first the number of cards in a packet cut off by a spectator, then the colors of the cards in the packet, and finally the suits in another group of cards.
These are just a few examples from this fun collection, and another solid contribution to Nick Trost's lasting achievements. Put this latest compendium on the bedside along with a pack of cards, and you'll always have a few new card tricks to experiment with before calling it a day.