The Illusion

Description of The IllusionThe Illusion Front Cover

Luke Sellmer is on the way up.  An investment banker in a long bull market, Luke’s money-making prowess gains him admittance to the elite society to which his fiancé’s family belongs.  He is about to achieve the life he’s pursued ever since being released from the State Young Men’s Reformatory. But is it all an illusion?

His upcoming marriage to fashionable and well-connected Lauren; his new assignment as financial confidante to a rising political star — these may all be illusions blinding him to the danger signs surrounding a secret side of his life that will end up exposing him to a murder charge and social scandal.

 Reviews of The Illusion

There was a story to the trial, he might have said. About uncertainty: about not knowing what little missteps would later have such monumental consequences. A man awaits the jury’s verdict. The case seems implausible, the evidence is circumstantial, but juries are unpredictable. Luke is in jeopardy.

The action alternates between the present of the courthouse and a revealing series of flashbacks to both recent and distant history. The upwardly mobile Luke has come a long way from the house by his father’s junkyard and his brother’s brushes with the law. He has a job with a good public face, but with a seedy side of granted and owed favors. The likeable Luke is engaged to a woman with good social connections. His relationship with his fiance is amiable but lacks passion. His adulterous relationship with a neighbor is passionate but lacks affection. His lover’s husband appears on the brink of suicide, and Luke finds himself simultaneously counseling and deceiving him.

While the jury deliberates, the plot unfolds and more of Luke’s history is revealed. He is not as likeable as he’d have people think. It turns out that he is used to secrets and has a few more of his own. The crime is gradually revealed through uncovered evidence, which may indeed be circumstantial but nonetheless fits a pattern.

This book is set in the wings of a courtroom drama and on the outskirts of a novel society. It is an intense, well structured character study delivered in clear language. The themes of memories, betrayals, secrets, and lies are explored with clarity, and Mr. Garry expertly peels back Luke’s layers of pretence and secrecy to reveal, au fond, a soul in need of redemption.
Review of Books

As a reviewer and certifiable book nut, I read at least twenty-five novels a year and The Illusion is—hands down—the most engaging book I’ve read in a long time… I admit that I wish the book were longer because I enjoyed it so much, but it works just fine the way it is; there are absolutely no wasted words and it’s jam-packed with tension revolving around characters so well portrayed, they leap right off the page.

Instead of numbered chapters, the author cleverly uses catchy phrases, for example: “High Profile, in the Junkyard Sense” and the story begins outside a courtroom with a well-written and tense scene, peppered with plenty of visuals and sounds, grabbing the reader right away and leaving us salivating for more. Believe me, once you jump in, you won’t be able to turn the pages fast enough. Our protagonist, Luke, finds and pockets a crumpled note on his neighbor’s floor that reads: “Maybe you’ll love me more after I’m dead.” Why did Luke pocket the note? What will be the consequences? Well, that’s for the reader to find out, but I’ll tell you this: a steamy affair, the power of money, campaign finance weaseling, a little Catholic guilt, the after-effects of abortion and charges of murder are on tap. And there are absolutely no boring parts. None. The author is so smooth and succinct at bleeding in the necessary backstory—the plot never wanes.

The bio on the book jacket tells us the author, Patrick Garry, teaches at the University of South Dakota and his essays have appeared in Chicago Tribune Magazine, The Washington Times, The Cincinnati Post and the Minneapolis Star Tribune. I wonder if he teaches creative writing? If not, he definitely should.  Each year, we reviewers are asked to submit our choice for ALLBOOKS novel of the year. Well, so far, The Illusion is at the top of my list and it’s going to take one hell of a blockbuster to top it.
-Jan Evan Whitford, Allbooks Reviews

The Illusion has a riveting opening that draws us into the story.  Garry uses pacing exceptionally well with a nice cadence and a good instinct for giving us a breather at the perfect moments. His transitions between chapters are smooth and devoid of baiting, with a very natural and a fine service to the cadence. Garry gives us some gorgeous phrasing, such as ‘they seemed lonely, all her belongings, scattered throughout the room.’ Very well done. He has a great talent for crafting layered settings, complete with sensory details that bring the story more to life. The dialogue is strong and engaging, enhanced by the author’s great use of movement, facial expressions, and inner voice. Characters are well-differentiated. Garry has a real talent for capturing voice. Well done. I enjoyed the characters’ physical interactions like the sideways hug, another sign that the author has visualized these scenes to great detail while writing them. Intrigue grips us all the way through, and ending the book on a loaded silence is brilliant. Garry has a stellar instinct for story crafting, and characters elevate the narrative in their realism and in the nuances of their relationships. Well done.
Writers Digest Book Awards

There was a story to this trial… Not the one about someone’s death or someone else’s guilt, but one about uncertainty: about not knowing what little steps would later have such monumental consequences.

In anticipation of the verdict, Luke Sellmer sits alone listening to the sounds filtering through the closed door and waits. And while he waits, the events leading up to this very moment come forth to weave a tale of how one man on the brink of finding ultimate happiness quickly discovers all is not as it seems. Of how simple actions can doom a person and innocent favors aren’t always justified. And of how the rejection of one’s past could be a most perilous thing.

A quick read, The Illusion by Patrick M Garry, flows smoothly between the past and the present, walking the reader through the myriad of events leading up to what caused Luke’s ultimate fall. With imagery which aptly sets the scene along with engaging dialogue to give the characters depth, the work paces along well, giving the reader plenty of moments of where they might think they have it figured out only to be surprised when they find they don’t.
-Dehanna Bailee, book reviewer for The Backroom

Mr. Garry has done an excellent job of keeping the reader’s interest in The Illusion. He has easily transitioned from the present to past by his use of wording and never-ending thoughts that roll through his mind.

The book starts out with Luke, the main character, sitting in a courtroom waiting to hear what will happen to him for a murder he doesn’t think he committed. His lawyer doubts him and avoids him at all costs, just like everyone else in the community.

Where did all his troubles begin – was it that he was going to be married, yet carried on a secret affair and when he tried to end it, she was going to tell all to everyone he knew? Or was it he really didn’t want to get married and had a crush on someone else? Maybe, it was that his future father-in-law wanted him to take the fall for a good friend of his by setting up a false account so no one would know he had extorted money?

Little did he know that a man named Vince, whom he befriended, thought his wife was having an affair—little did Vince know, she was having the affair with Luke. The Illusion, by Patrick M. Garry, is a fascinating story that will keep you reading until you find the end.”
-Carol Hoyer, book reviewer for Reader Views

In his deliciously quirky way, Patrick Garry delivers another home run in his latest novel, The Illusion.

Mr. Garry has the innate ability to grab his audience from the first page and never let go until the proverbial ‘the end.’ He has done so again with The Illusion. Mr. Garry has an established and signature style that wills his audience to sit up and pay attention willingly. There is a pace and tone of fast moving parts established early on that is delightful. His dialogue is believable and his characters fit together beautifully. There is no predictable formula as the story unfolds and there are ample elements of surprise that keep the reader entertained and engaged throughout the novel. He is a true storyteller in that you never know what you’re going to get from one book to the next other than solid entertainment. Well done Mr. Garry! I look forward to your next novel.

Quill says: The Illusion is the epitome of things that may not be what they seem…at all!
Feathered Quill Book Review (Click here for full review)

This book is a psychological thriller in the truest sense. The characters are well developed and you really get to know them and what they are about-even though you are left to wonder just how much is real and how much is illusion. The plot is interesting and thought provoking but also leaves us with unanswered questions. :This book is deep and intriguing and very interesting and I recommend it highly.

This is a great story, a hard-to-put-down kind of book, a great success for a thriller with a lot to keep the reader guessing and following the characters. The story starts with one of the characters in jail, and I enjoyed the fact that he is presented in a way that arouses the reader’s curiosity, wanting to know who he is and why is he being prosecuted. The chapters are short, and each ends with a powerful invitation, in fact, an irresistible invitation to the reader to turn to the next page. For instance, the first chapter ends with the following two phrases from the prosecutor: ‘“He is a man of secrets, of secrets turned evil,” the prosecutor had said in his closing statement. “He was a man of greed—of greed so intense he was willing to take a life,” he remembers the prosecutor saying.”’ I enjoyed the compelling and engaging prose, the lively and interesting conversations, and the well-measured chapters with perfect paragraph breaks that create a strong dramatic effect. This is a gorgeous story with rounded characters and a complex plot, a psychological thriller at its best. ​
-Readers’ Favorite 5 Star Review

This story is different from other legal mysteries that I have read before. I found the way the story was told to be unique and enjoyable. I highly recommend this book.
-B. Adams, 5-star review

In Milo Krantz and Gunther Mulvaney, Garry creates two quite interesting characters, and the dynamics between them and the other characters are always compelling and nicely handled.  This story gripped me throughout, and it should please fans of the genre quite well.

 –Writer’s Digest Book Awards

The Illusion, is an entertaining and fast-paced mystery/thriller.  Character development is definitely the strong suit in this drama. The Illusion by Patrick Garry is sure to draw fans of multiple genres. The excitement, high-society dysfunction, obsessive stalker-type relationship drama, murder, and intrigue will keep readers engrossed to the very end.
-Reader Views

This book is extremely well-written but has a very dark theme and then ends with many unanswered questions. Interesting, thought-provoking, but also disturbing. If you’re looking for a book that is light entertainment, this is not the read for you!
LuAnn Rodriquez, Goodreads

Garry presents an unnerving tale in his latest novel. A work of fiction with elements that could easily be recognized as fact, Garry’s plot sheds light on life issues. Garry throws in irony amid a realm replete with low morals by cleverly inserting a priest who more often than not finds himself out of his element. As Garry weaves in a flurry of thought-provoking themes (i.e., guilt, greed, self esteem, morals) in his storyline, readers should not be surprised if their minds frequently wander and reflect on the consequences that follow choices. Designed with numberless chapters, Garry’s plot alternates between Luke’s past and present life, incorporating a steady stream of unexpected scenes and emotional tension. A human interest story with a psychological twist, The Illusion is one book that will keep you thinking long after you’ve come to the story’s conclusion.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review
US Review of Books

Author Patrick Garry is a truly skilled storyteller who, with The Illusion, an old-fashioned tragedy wrapped in contemporary garb focusing on how the past is never really past, has crafted a super-efficient, beautifully plotted, yarn that reads faster than its 222 pages would suggest.
-Indie Reader

A psychological thriller that follows Luke Sellmer as he aims to build the perfect life for himself, all the while grappling with the demons from his dark and troubled past, The Illusion is the kind of novel that will keep you guessing until the last page. Working as an investment banker, Luke is aiming to make his way to the top, as he worms his way into the elite society to which his fiancé Lauren’s family is a part of. As the complicated layers of his life unravel, he becomes a partner to a rising political star, is exposed to a murder charge, and uncovers a damning social scandal. Luke has to try to balance his ambition with the danger that seemingly lurks at every corner. As the narrative moves toward Luke and Lauren’s wedding, Lauren deals with issues of her own, as her insecurities unravel, potentially threatening all of Luke’s hopes and goals along the way.

The present storyline that is the main focus of the novel is interspersed with flashbacks to Luke’s troubled past, allowing the reader to get backstory on why Luke behaves the way he does, revealing more and more surprising information that builds palpable tension as the narrative wanes on. Garry succeeds at creating a complex story, interesting characters, and twists that will be sure to pull readers along for this tumultuous ride. The relationship between Luke and Lauren is multifaceted and brings a great amount of drama to the tale. The Illusion is perfectly titled, as many times throughout the story the reader is bound to ask themselves what is true and what is pure fantasy. To get to the bottom of who Luke truly is, and what he really wants, you’ll have to keep reading until the bitter end.
Red City Review

“Patrick Garry tops the charts with this psychological /mystery thriller.”
-MJ Magazine Link to full review

Recommended by The Writing Jungle

An excerpt from The Illusion was chosen for publication in Pike Magazine.

Designated as “Feature Book of the Month” by All Book Reviews.

Literary Awards

Winner, 2017 New York City Big Book Award

1st Place Winner, 2017 Red City Review Award

Winner, 2017 International Book Award

Winner, 2017 Independent Press Award

2017 Book Excellence Award (Ontario, Canada)

Silver Medalist, 2017 Feathered Quill Book Awards

Eric Hoffer Book Award 

Finalist, 2017 Somerset Maugham Literary Awards

 AllBooks Review, Editor’s Choice Award

Winner, Pinnacle Book Award

2016 London Book Festival Award

2016 USA Best Book Award

Finalist, 2016 CLUE Award for Thriller/Suspense Novel

Runner-up, 2016 Shelf Unbound Best Book Competition

US Review of Book Recommended Book

Beverly Hills International Book Award

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