Second to None: A Manuscript on the Art of Second Dealing by Simon Lovell
Reviewed by Jamy Ian Swiss (originally published in Genii March, 2002)
Simon Lovell is a master of the Second Deal, and if you didn't already know that, then it probably means he has fooled the hell out of you somewhere along the line. Some years ago he cobbled together a substantive but casually produced manuscript on second dealing (reviewed in this column), and he has now cleaned it up a bit, added a slew of simple but effective self-drawn illustrations, and released the manuscript more generally.
There's really not that much about the Second Deal in print when it comes right down to it; Bill Simon's timeless instruction on the Strike Second in Effective Card Magic comes to mind, and there's Marlo's Seconds, Centers and Bottoms, along with a handful of other useful if limited works. If anything, there is even less material on the Push-off Second Deal than on the Strike Second; while the former is more difficult to master it is generally regarded as superior, and of course is required for punch work.
The Push-off and several variations are Mr. Lovell's preferred weapons of choice, and he wields them in devastating fashion; they are described here in detail, along with an initial description of the Strike method. One-handed deals and Double-Deals arc also addressed, and a couple of good relevant tricks are described. But what is really invaluable is that this is not a book of mere descriptions; not unlike Bill Simon's approach, this is a true teaching text intended to take you by the hand and guide you through the learning process, through practice and on to mastery. Of course when it comes down to it you still have to do the actual work yourself, so few will make it across to the promised land, but this is a life preserver that might keep you from dying along the way.