Author Interview & Giveaway: Andrew Mayne

We're excited to welcome the author of Angel Killer, Andrew Mayne, to Reading Lark today. 

Andrea @ Reading Lark: What sets Jessica Blackwood apart from other protagonists in this genre?

Andrew: I think her background as a magician is rather unusual. Coming from a branch of show business that you don’t normally associate with law enforcement or forensic insider information, how she sees things is a departure. Ultimately with her, it’s not her knowledge, but how she thinks that sets her apart. Jessica looks for deception. Either unintentional, or how we deceive ourselves.

In Jessica Blackwood, we have someone who is an extreme critical thinker. She has to rely more on how she thinks than just information. For me at least, that’s fascinating. Lots of characters in this genre have information, the interesting ones have a different way of looking at the world.

Andrea @ Reading Lark: Where do you find inspiration for your writing?
Andrew: It usually starts with an interesting character. I love people who see the world differently or might not react in the way we’d expect. Then I like to imagine a situation that they’re not going to be quite prepared for and have them adapt or fail.

For plot situations, I like to think like a magician: What’s the most impossible, crazy thing that can happen? Then I have to figure out how to make it work in the real world.

Andrea @ Reading Lark: How much research was needed to write Angel Killer?
Andrew: My characters start with personality quirks and ways of thinking I’ve observed in people around me. I’m always taking notes and bookmarking things I find fascinating. Just doing that is usually enough to put it in the back of my mind for later on.

Angel Killer involved a lot of my personal experiences. My father was a Federal agent. I’m a magician. But I also spent several years working for a science advocacy organization that investigated paranormal claims (always finding mundane explanations).

Andrea @ Reading Lark: Why did you choose to give your mystery a fantasy element?
Andrew: Angel Killer takes place in our world and no laws of science are violated. So I wouldn’t say it’s fantasy in the traditional sense. It certainly has elements that some people think at the onset are supernatural, but the story is really about reason versus superstition.

How people see the world differently is amazing to me. I drive by a psychic storefront and think of all the research that shows it’s fake and the explanations for why we still believe. Other people pass by and think it’s something real. We live in very different worlds. To me, they live in a fantasy world closer to Game of Thrones.

Personally, I live in a world where those things just don’t have the evidence and all our investigation shows it’s fake; yet some people desperately cling to those magical ideas because they need to believe.

I’m pretty sure I’m the rational one because I can clearly explain what evidence would convince me it’s real. The believers, on the other hand, usually tell you that nothing could convince them otherwise. Which is another way to describe a closed mind.

Andrea @ Reading Lark: It's a tradition to close with this question - What is your favorite bird?
Andrew: Corvids for sure. They can use simple tools, talk and display intelligent behavior. While I think some of the claims of their intelligence are exaggerated and claims of play are seen through rather human-centric eyes, they are very special in their own way.

Our tendency to anthropomorphize creatures can certainly make them feel relatable, but it can overlook what makes them unique. Crows are crows. We may have some things in common, but where we don’t is often where we can learn the most from them.

About the Author

Andrew Mayne is the star of A&E's magic reality show Don't Trust Andrew Mayne, and has worked for David Copperfield, Penn & Teller, and David Blaine. He lives in Los Angeles.

About the Novel

In this self-published bestselling e-book by a real illusionist—the first thriller in a sensational series—now available in paperback, FBI agent Jessica Blackwood believes she has successfully left her complicated life as a gifted magician behind her . . . until a killer with seemingly supernatural powers puts her talents to the ultimate test.

A mysterious hacker, who identifies himself only as “Warlock,” brings down the FBI’s website and posts a code in its place. It hides the GPS coordinates of a Michigan cemetery, where a dead girl is discovered rising from the ground . . . as if she tried to crawl out of her own grave.

Born into a dynasty of illusionists, Jessica Blackwood is destined to become its next star—until she turns her back on her troubled family, and her legacy, to begin a new life in law enforcement. But FBI consultant Dr. Jeffrey Ailes’s discovery of an old copy of Magician Magazine will turn Jessica’s carefully constructed world upside down. Faced with a crime that appears beyond explanation, Ailes has nothing to lose—and everything to gain—by taking a chance on an agent raised in a world devoted to seemingly achieving the impossible.

The body in the cemetery is only the first in the Warlock’s series of dark miracles. Thrust into the media spotlight, with time ticking away until the next crime, can Jessica confront her past to embrace her gifts and stop a depraved killer?

If she can’t, she may become his next victim.

Early praise is in from Publishers Weekly and Booklist:

Mayne, the star of the A&E show Don’t Trust Andrew Mayne, combines magic and mayhem in this  delightful beginning to a new series starring Jessica Blackwood…. Readers will look forward to Jessica’s future adventures.
—Publishers Weekly

“Professional illusionist Mayne introduces a fresh angle to serial-killer hunting through FBI Special Agent Jessica Blackwood….Despite the focus on magic and showmanship, Mayne forgoes gimmicks, instead dissecting illusions with human behavior, math, and science without losing sight of the story’s big picture…[this release] will no doubt be popular among fans of procedural thrillers.”

We have one copy of Angel Killer to give to one of our lucky readers. This giveaway is open to US residents who are 18+ years of age. 

The giveaway runs from October 3-10. Winner will be notified via email on October 11.


  1. Reading the synopsis, the mystery and suspense in this one sounds like it's going to be really good! I like when magic is brought into crime and suspense. It makes those genres more enjoyable for me to read. Thanks for the giveaway!!! :)

  2. I find the integration of an intelligent illusion at the heart of this series surprising and intriguing, especially in light of all the great reviews suggesting the book is not only unusual but decidedly worthwhile. Thanks for featuring this book and for this gem of an opportunity to win a free copy! Cheers, Kara S

  3. Wow! The synopsis was so intense. I love mystery books and now I just want to know how was she able to do that!?


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