Review by Booklist Review
Sasha is sick of hearing about her famous sister's disappearance. But Violet, a trailblazing magician, always stole the spotlight when she was around, so why should it be any different now? Drawing huge crowds during her Las Vegas residency and beyond, Violet had a flair for the dramatic. When she disappeared without a trace in the middle of an act, Sasha figured she'd be back before long. But after ten years, a Serial-esque podcast starts digging deeper into Violet's history, and Sasha might not be able to stay silent about her missing sister for much longer. Montimore's (Oona Out of Order, 2020) second novel illuminates the darker side of fame as it highlights the burdens borne by family members and casts a wry eye on the true-crime phenomenon. Fans of Nicole Baart and Kelly Harms will enjoy Sasha's and Violet's sisterly contrasts: the shared frustrations between a pragmatic people-pleaser and an audacious extrovert. Like an enthralling magic trick itself, Acts of Violet asks readers to suspend their disbelief and rewards them for the effort.
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
A woman struggles to get out from under her famous older sister's shadow in Montimore's mesmerizing latest (after Oona Out of Order). Hairdresser Sasha Dwyer dreads the fast-approaching 10th anniversary of the day her older sister, Violet Volk, a popular but polarizing magician and 1990s pop culture icon, disappeared during a stage performance and never reemerged. Violet's rabid fans--the "Wolf Pack"--continue to vilify Sasha for supposedly not looking hard enough to find Violet and failing to mourn her "the right way" after she was declared legally dead. As rumors about alleged Violet sightings swirl on social media, Sasha worries that they'll give false hope to Quinn, Sasha's college-age daughter, who adored Violet but remains ignorant of her aunt's selfish and spiteful streak. However, Sasha's efforts to leave her sister in the past unravel as synchronicities and more sightings point to Violet's return. Supplementing the straightforward prose with a slew of narrative devices that include tabloid articles, email exchanges, and podcast transcripts, Montimore achieves a thoughtful, panoramic portrait of larger-than-life Violet while underscoring Sasha's pain as she tries to grieve under an unforgiving public eye. This spellbinding effort delivers its fair share of magic. Agent: Philippa Sitters, David Godwin Assoc. (July)
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Review by Library Journal Review
Ten outstanding narrators elevate the latest novel from Montimore (Oona Out of Order) into an immersive audio experience. While each performer has a distinctive, expressive voice, Brittany Pressley is mesmerizing as salon owner Sasha Dwyer, sister of 1990s pop culture superstar and magician Violet Volk, who mysteriously disappeared mid-act. At the heart of Montimore's cleverly designed narrative is Sasha's first-person account of her anxiety over the events planned for the 10-year-anniversary of Violet's disappearance, her rapidly diminishing patience with her college-age daughter whose starry-eyed devotion to her aunt is driving Sasha up the wall, and her own unresolved issues with her famous--and famously selfish--sister. Sasha's story alternates with episodes of a podcast series about Violet's life as well as various documents including newspaper articles and correspondence between the characters. Each narrator's performance is expertly paced, heightening the tension as Sasha and Violet's history is only gradually revealed. VERDICT A multicast presentation of a novel with this many disparate narrative elements could easily become chaotic, so it is testament to the narrators' talents and Montimore's brilliant plot structure, compelling characters, and sharp, often hilarious prose that listeners are instead treated to an absolutely delightful audiobook, essential for all contemporary fiction collections.--Beth Farrell
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Review by Kirkus Book Review
A winding tale of two sisters pulled together and pushed apart by fame, magic, and the cult of celebrity. After a yearslong hiatus from performing following a disastrous Las Vegas show, Violet Volk--magician, self-help author, motivational speaker, and celebrity--stages a comeback in her hometown of Willow Glen, New Jersey. But during the big disappearing-act finale, the Flaming Angel, she fails to reappear as expected. Slowly, the audience and security come to realize that Violet is well and truly gone. Ten years later, her fans--the Wolf Pack--have remained obsessed with her disappearance, and the annual candlelight vigil at the location of her last show will be a huge event to mark the anniversary. Her sister, Sasha Dwyer, is still angry at Violet in the way that only sisters can be: for slights perceived and real, for actions that hurt her and those she loves. Sasha's husband, Gabriel, has spent decades trying to protect her from the worst of Violet's egoism. Their daughter, Quinn, is nearing college graduation and trying to figure out her future, her past, and what it means to be Violet Volk's niece. A podcast about Violet's life and disappearance is being taped, and host Cameron Frank is pulling out all the stops to try to get Sasha to appear. Author Montimore has written a layered story told in fragments of documents, emails, podcast transcripts, and narrated segments that jump through time, place, and voice. It's a whirlwind of information and characters, much like a magic show with smoke, mirrors, and misdirection consuming the viewer's attention before the final big reveal: Is Violet alive or dead? And if she is alive, where has she been for 10 years? A story of the lifetime bonds of sisterhood that also touches on the paranormal subtext inherent in magic acts. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.