DisAppearing Act

Lloyd Barclay

Book Cover

GENRE

ACTION ADVENTURE CRIME DRAMA SUSPENSE / THRILLER

    Core Theme

    USING SPECIAL SKILLS TO GET AHEAD IN LIFE.

    TIME PERIOD

    2000s

    COMPARABLE TITLES

    THE PRESTIGE, NOW YOU SEE ME

    CHARACTER LIST

    • SAM: 40. LEAD. MASCULINE, MANIPULATIVE, HEROIC, SARCASTIC, NARCISSISTIC, DIABOLICAL, CAPABLE. HE'S CLEVER IN HIS PROFESSION.

    • WANDA, 30. SHE'S SAM'S ASSISTANT AND A HYPNOTIST. CAPABLE, SUPERIOR SKILL, OUTSPOKEN, LOYAL.

    • OSCAR, 22. SAM'S REPLACEMENT AS A MAGICIAN. OUTSPOKEN, DISLOYAL, CONFIDENT, GREEDY.

    • VINCE, 40. SAM'S FORMER CRIME PARTNER. BLUNT, AGGRESSIVE, DANGEROUS.

    • MARIA, 30S. PART OF VINCE'S GANG. BEAUTIFUL MANIPULATIVE, DANGEROUS.

    • TONY, 40. PART OF VINCE'S GANG. CAPABLE, DIABOLICAL, AGGRESSIVE, DANGEROUS.

    Logline

    A brilliant magician with a dark background stages a disappearing act to escape from his past. Success hinges on what proves to be illusion and what proves to be reality.

    Target Audiences

    Age: 35-54

    Target Gender: Universal

    Setting

    Chicago, Las Vegas, The Bahamas

    Based on a True Story

    No

    Publishing Details

    Status: Yes: self-published

    Year Published: 2017

    Starting Description

    In the opening scene, Sam and his accomplices are fleeing from a bank heist. Sam escapes, while his accomplices are arrested. In Las Vegas, ten years later, Sam has embarked upon a new life. Sam and his new girlfriend, Wanda, have established themselves as a popular magic act in Las Vegas.

    Ending Description

    Sam and Wanda escape, with the money, from Sam's former criminal accomplices and start a new life with new identities in The Bahamas. They get married and are reunited in their goal of raising their newborn baby, Jenny.

    Group Specific

    Information not completed

    Hard Copy Available

    No

    ISBN

    Information not completed

    Mature Audience Themes

    Language/Profanity

    Plot - Other Elements

    Twist, Happy Ending, Meaningful Message

    Plot - Premise

    Internal Journey/Rebirth

    Main Character Details

    Name: Sam Henderson

    Age: 40

    Gender: Male

    Role: Protagonist

    Key Traits: Heroic, Insecure, Perseverance, Blunt, Decisive, Masculine, Sarcastic, Underdog, Manipulative, Complex, Flexible, Outspoken, Romantic, Seductive, Visionary, Selfless, Extraordinary Powers and Abilities, Charming, Confident, Educated, Engaging, Narcissistic, Adventurous

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Wanda Davis

    Age: 30

    Gender: Female

    Role: Protagonist

    Key Traits: Faithful, Perseverance, Visionary, Adventurous, Educated, Flexible, Strong Moral Code, Outspoken, Seductive, Beautiful, Engaging, Extraordinary Powers and Abilities, Naive, Aspiring, Charming, Skillful, Decisive, Complex, Confident, Romantic, Heartthrob, Honorable, Selfless, Sophisticated, Empathetic, Heroic, Sexy

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Oscar

    Age: 22

    Gender: Male

    Role: Antagonist

    Key Traits: Outspoken, Perseverance, Greedy, Educated, Manipulative, Sarcastic, Seductive, Aggressive, Blunt, Heartthrob, Narcissistic, Engaging, Adventurous, Complex, Decisive, Extraordinary Powers and Abilities, Secretive, Masculine, Villainous, Badass, Charming, Confident, Criminal, Aspiring, Flexible, Insecure, Power-hungry

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Vince

    Age: 45

    Gender: Male

    Role: Antagonist

    Key Traits: Badass, Clumsy, Criminal, Leader, Uneducated, Unapologetic, Aggressive, Decisive, Villainous, Power-hungry, Blunt, Flexible, Outspoken, Adventurous

    Development Pitch

    Brief

    A brilliant magician with a dark background stages a disappearing act to escape from his past. Success hinges on what proves to be illusion and what proves to be reality.

    What We Liked

    - Whether you find magicians awe-inspiring or not, magic done well can be exciting and fun. One has to wonder if these tricks can be applied to getting ahead in everyday life. If you can use it to make a lot of money, legally or illegally, it's a skill to be envied. These characters do just that, and are faced with the dangers that come along with it when they steal from their own partners in crime in a heist that goes wrong when the magician and lead character double crosses the rest of the criminals. He has to go into hiding, and one knows it's just a matter of time before they find him and want their share of the money back and probably revenge as well. With a skilled hypnotist as his assistant, hiding shouldn't be too hard for a magician, but this one does it out in the open in his own Vegas show and his former crime partners are closing in.
    - There is a built-in draw due to the promise of magic and the allure of crime stories. The romance between the magician and his assistant has its ups and downs and one never knows whom to trust when their enemies catch up to them. Set pieces from the magic show are great cinema, and the suspense of the protagonists getting caught keeps the pace up. The wild card of the guy they recruit to fulfill their plan also is a great "need to know" element to the story.
    - Key points: Magic; Crime; Characters in danger; Mystery; Las Vegas.

    Synopsis

    VINCE, TONY and MARIA are robbing a bank. Everyone is on the floor except two security guards who fire at them. They look for someone named ELWOOD, and are captured by police. Elwood watches with a smile from a room across the street. He does a magic trick in front of the mirror where he holds up a picture of himself and the three bank robbers and makes it disappear in a puff of smoke. He shaves, then goes to a waiting cab outside of the hotel. Ten years later, Maria picks up Vince and Tony outside of the prison they were just released from. They vow to get revenge on Elwood and hope he still has the money. They guess that he’d be doing magic somewhere, probably Vegas. “Sam the Sensational” performs his sold out magic act in front of a crowd. He sees the faces of Vince, Tony and Maria in the crowd and fumbles the trick he’s performing. He recovers, and makes a coin appear in a fish tank. Vince, Tony, and Maria aren’t quite sure if it’s Ellwood or not. WANDA, Sam/Ellwood’s magic assistant, picks people out of the crowd to be hypnotised. She hypnotises two people into dancing then tells them to kiss. They follow her instructions. Two audience members, JIM and BRIAN comment on the act. Later, Sam tells Wanda he wants to move on and do something else with his life. She’s taken aback, for her, this is coming out of nowhere.

    Back in their modest home, Sam pulls off the latex mask he was wearing and Wanda continues to berate him about this sudden change he wants. He tells her he has money. She tells him that they can’t quit at the height of their fame and he needs her. He says he’ll tell her more when he’s had time to think and she calms down. He leaves, and Wanda cries. Sam goes to see his agent, ALAN, and barges into his office and says Alan needs to find another magician who looks just like Sam. Alan says that’s going to be very difficult, and they settle on a magician with a similar height and build and Sam can teach him magic. Sam wants a successor. Wanda and Sam have lunch and he tells her about the protege Alan is looking for. Alan calls and says he found the perfect candidate and Sam leaves to go meet him. Vince enters the restaurant and sits down in his Sam’s place, flashes a police badge, and starts to ask Wanda about Sam. Wanda hypnotises him into ordering food and staying there for an hour after she leaves.

    OSCAR, Sam’s new protege, is schooled by Sam in the way he does magic. Oscar is a quick student. Sam tells him he will be performing the ultimate disappearing act. Oscar jokes - is he running away from shady past? Wanda cuts Oscar’s hair to better resemble Sam. Oscar and Sam argue about how to make the switch and the deal they’re going to make when Oscar takes over. Oscar wants Wanda in his act, and Sam says no way. Oscar goes so far as to threaten Sam - he’ll spill the beans about what they’re trying to do. Sam is incredulous, and reminds Oscar that this is the chance of a lifetime. Oscar finally agrees and Sam tells him he’ll have to perfect each trick and make it look like he’s Sam while he’s performing. Sam sends Oscar to a party disguised as him, and he performs a few tricks and nobody's the wiser. He even sleeps with CANDI, one of Sam’s groupies. Then, Sam sets up Osar (pretending to be Sam) to sleep with Wanda. Wanda pretends she can’t tell the difference and Oscar is fooled. Sam is pleased that his trick on Oscar has worked. Wanda was in on it - she knew it was really Oscar.

    Wanda and Oscar talk about murdering Sam. She’s reluctant, but starts to come around. They hatch a plan. Wanda tells Sam she’s pregnant, and he’s angry about it. She storms out. Oscar makes a “pros and cons” list for the ruse he’ll be a part of: “Have the money and a family,” “Maybe get killed.” He rips up the paper. At the magic show, Sam gets into a steel cage with deadly spikes poised above him. A curtain is drawn around the cage and he has two minutes to get out before the spikes come crashing down after Wanda locks him in place. The spikes come down, the curtain opens, and Oscar, disguised as Sam, is alive and well. The crowd has no idea it’s not really Sam anymore.

    Later, Oscar goes to the bank and opens Sam’s safe deposit box. He stuffs what is over a million in cash in a briefcase but gets held at gunpoint by Tony outside the bank. He gets the gun away from Tony and shoots him in the leg then runs to his car and speeds off. Vince, Tony, and Maria follow him, and Oscar crashes into a tree. They hit Oscar with a taser and take him into their van. They think he’s Sam. He pleads with them, telling them he’s Oscar, not Sam. They don’t believe him and torture him. They test the money and most of it is counterfeit. They’re angry. Meanwhile, Wanda and Sam pick up the real money. Wanda is disguised as African American and insists on going into the bank with Sam. Wanda is surprised by how much money is there and they stuff it in a briefcase.

    In the van, Oscar tells them that Sam is dead and under the stage and the real money is probably there too. Vince and Tony go to check it out, while Maria gratifies Oscar sexually. Vince goes into the theater and finds the trap door that leads under the stage. He comes face to face with Sam’s bloody corpse - is it real or an illusion? It turns out to be an illusion. He gets out of there, not finding any money and goes back to the van and lets the others know that they’ve been had. Meanwhile, Sam and Wanda are flying a small plane to the Bahamas. He is now calling himself Dave and she is calling herself Jill. He explains his past relationship with Vince et. al. A year later, they have baby JENNY and Sam is excited to get back into magic.

    About The Author

    Lloyd Barclay is a Canadian born in 1960 who grew up on a farm and worked as an English teacher, financial advisor, and journalist.