Tools of the Trade by Chuck Smith

Reviewed by Jamy Ian Swiss (originally published in Genii September, 2001)

Chuck Smith is a diabolically clever magician from the Southwest U.S. whom few magicians have heard of and even fewer have seen or met. I confess I've yet to meet him in per-son, but like a growing number of others who are also paying attention, I count myself as an enthusiastic fan. This is evidenced by my effusive reviews of two of his lecture manuscripts, What if and Why Not?, reviewed in the September '95 and August '96 Genii, respectively, and the author has a few other pamphlets for sale that while not widely advertised are equally desirable; I recommend you get the whole set. Mr. Smith's latest effort is this manuscript dealing entirely with card work.

While the price may seem a bit high for a neatly but admittedly self-produced desktop publishing effort, there is some rather exotic content here and duffers need not apply. But if you're inclined toward working on eccentric table passes, unusual false deals, offbeat approaches to the Double Lift, unprecedented close-up applications of reverse and double card fans (say what?), a mnemonic system for remembering selected cards and associating them with spectators (can you say "possible multiple selection applications?"), some deep advice on practice by a man who has clearly done his share, and a couple of very mystifying card tricks that require significant performance experience more than any heavy sleight-of-hand ... well, if you're inclined toward such things, and if you've read anything else of Mr. Smith's, then you'll happily plunk down your half a yard and cozy up to some very interesting material indeed.

Considering the intricate and sophisticated nature of some of the material, I'd have to say that some of the descriptions are a bit short on detail and challenging to ready extraction in places, but heck, if you're sufficiently serious, maybe the author will answer a question via email. And if you don't quite get what's so hip about this material, well then it's just possible that Chuck Smith may be a bit too hip for the room.

Tools of the Trade •Chuck Smith • $50.00 • 8" x 11" velo bound • 71 pages • illustrated with 32 photographs