Review: The Mystery Man by Dennis Hermanzo

Review: The Mystery Man by Dennis Hermanzo

When my dear friend and fellow mentalist Steve Drury first told me about this exciting new project earlier this year, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the actual book. The Mystery Man: Classic Mentalism from Denmark by Dennis Hermanzo is one book that I can wholeheartedly recommend as a new inclusion in your library. But before I delve into the details, let’s first admire this gorgeous 274 page long hardcover published by Inner Rapport Publishing.

Pictures of The Mystery Man by Dennis Hermanzo

My Thoughts on The Mystery Man by Dennis Hermanzo

If you’re reading this review, chances are you’ve probably already dabbled into magic and mentalism, and are looking for an avenue to take your skills and knowledge further. If that is you (am I off by one?) then this commendable book may just be what you’re looking for.

I took my time to truly savour the gems within these pages, which remind me a lot of Paul Auster’s City of Glass in terms of the narrative structure. Like the iconic bestseller, The Mystery Man brings you on a similar journey, storytelling wise, through an intriguing protagonist. This main character leads us through a series of events and it’s a creative way indeed of showing and not just telling; Hermanzo touches on very solid staples of mentalism but provides layers of elegance and showmanship that will play well on stage or TV. I especially enjoy his ideas using props I’d never considered before like roses for that romantic flair of old world charm.

Granted, the thing with mentalism is that it is crucial that you shape presentational routines to suit your performance character. Not everybody is going to be able to do what Dennis  Hermanzo does… but it’s the same as how I’d mentioned in an earlier review that while learning a new magic/ mentalism routine, we should always strive to make it our own and not do it the same (especially the jokes or puns) as how it’s been taught or presented by its originator. So I really love what the author has given us; there’s so much food for thought in its content.

All about well structured routines and not just “tricks”, the offerings in this book are suitable for the intermediate mentalist planning to put together a professional show. How do I define ‘intermediate’? If you know classics like the PK Touches, then you’re good to go. In fact there’s a very lovely routine in the book which might inspire you to rethink your own stage presentation!

While I don’t know Hermanzo personally, I have no doubt this Danish mentalist is a professional worker. In fact this book impressed me so much, I think I may just check out the rest of his other material. His various essays on theory, as well as, the business side of things are rather thought provoking. This would have been a book I wished I had when I was first starting out in the biz!

So now that I’ve shared the pros, are there any cons? Well to be honest, I’d be nitpicking here… the only thing that was jarring to me during the read, was that it’s obviously not written by a native English speaker. Some sentences were a tad clumsy because they were missing prepositions and words like ‘braun’ used instead of ‘brown’, but having said that I had no trouble at all in the comprehension of the text. Perhaps this was done on purpose to lend authenticity to the titular character. Anyway, all the methods and secrets are easily understood so there’s no worries there 🙂

TLDR: This get a full five stars from me. A worthy addition to your mentalism library, and solid material if you’re planning to put together a show. Highly recommended!

A quick video of The Mystery Man by Dennis Hermanzo

Steve Drury, who has published many wonderful books on mystery magic and the mentalism arts, has lent a delightful touch to this book and you can get The Mystery Man by Dennis Hermanzo directly from his website. Steve and Dennis have even provided a sample PDF so you can check out the manuscript before you buy. Enjoy!

Picture of ning
Ning Cai is a Singapore Literature Prize nominated author, who was also long listed for the Epigram Books Fiction Prize in 2016. A bestselling writer, she is also recognised for her illusionist/ escapologist stage character Magic Babe Ning, and recognised by Channel News Asia as South East Asia's first professional female magician.

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