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Review of Discoveries and Deceptions by John Guastaferro

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Review of Discoveries and Deceptions by John Guastaferro

Discoveries and Deceptions by John Guastaferro

Ever since I discovered the wonders found in his “One Degree” book (click here to read my review), I’ve been a fan of magician and creator John Guastaferro. While Guastaferro always offers a comprehensive knowledge of methods and moves in his work, his particular strength is striving to make connections with his audiences through his effects. His newest book, “Discoveries and Deceptions,” offers a close-up collection of nine card tricks that may be performed with any deck of cards and two non-card effects: one that employs a borrowed iPhone and the other an ordinary straw.


Among the card effects there are strong transpositions that are always proven winners. I like Blackjack Transpo where an ace and jack change places, but as the name implies, it’s all done under the pretense of cheating during a game of blackjack. The transposition cleverly occurs with a card that’s being held out in a sleeve. There’s also a variation on the well known “Dr. Daly’s Last Trick.” I like Guastaferro’s version because of the clever use of the aces that are not in play. He also suggests that you can use this before performing the standard “Daly Last Trick” to create a strong two-phased routine.

Several good effects have the magician looking for the selected card and inadvertently finding the four aces. In these effects, there’s usually a clever transposition between the aces and the selected card that act as a strong finale. In Book of Clues, the magician offers four cards that offer clues to the identity of the chosen card. In the end, the four cards are shown to be mates to the selected card. I like the dual reality in this effect that promotes interaction with several spectators.

In X-Factor, Guastaferro employs seeming x-ray vision to look through a deck and read a spectator’s writing. There’s lots of possibilities for comedy here. Stock Exchange offers a clever sequence. Here, spectators cut and mix cards – even mixing cards face up and face down. In the stunning end, they somehow find their cards, straighten out the deck, and separate the red cards from the black cards.

In Multi-Mental, Guastaferro offers his take on a multiple card control routine, which is always a crowd pleaser. In his solid routine, he offers a theme of mind-reading.


iContact offers an effect with a borrowed iPhone to predict or mind read a freely selected name from a phone’s contact list. The iPhone is held face down so the screen can’t be seen and the spectator randomly and freely scrolls through names. Despite this, and without looking, you can name (or predict) the stopped-on contact name. This one requires no apps or downloads - it’s strictly a move. I questioned whether the move would work but found that I could, with remarkable consistency, put it to use. There’s also a great idea on using your own iPhone to reveal a chosen card.

The second non-playing card effect is the telekinetic Zen Bend. With the apparent power of your mind you cause a straw to slowly bend as you hold it in your fingertips. This one looks great.

Great Instruction

With the card effects, you’ll need a foundation in card sleight of hand, although Guastaferro does offer descriptions of most of the sleights that you’ll need. Throughout, he offers clear instructions as well as helpful ideas for creating themes and connections through the effects.

”Discoveries and Deceptions” lived up to my high expectations of anything that comes from Guastaferro. While I can laud praises on his work, I think that he describes his approach best in the book. “My roadmap focuses on creating fun and memorable experiences that encompass three priorities: engaging presentations, graceful handling, and smart methods.” I found that John Guastaferro had accomplished all three objectives.

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