Set in late 1940s New York City, The Great Bravura tells the dark tale of Bravura and Susie, who are partners in magic, best friends, and occasional bedmates. When the two performers hire the alluring Lena as a third banana to jazz up the act, Bravura falls madly in love. Lena believes in magic—and not just the rabbit-out-of-a hat kind. She encourages Bravura to believe in her own supernatural powers, and when Susie balks, things go south. When Susie disappears for real during a performance of the classic Disappearing Box act, prime suspect Bravura must move quickly to find her pal—hopefully alive. To prove her innocence, Bravura is forced to uncover the holes in her own story, even if it means incriminating herself, and her precious Lena, in the process.
Journalist Dearman’s debut novel captures the pulse of this particular moment in the 21st Century, with its depiction of gay marriage as something that is natural, accepted, unquestioned, making it a relevant addition to contemporary literature.
The Great Bravura is also a rollicking look at the life of the stage illusionists in mid-century New York. It provides noir fiction lovers with a dark magician’s tale wrapped in a Sapphic love triangle, peopled by the magically gifted and hard-boiled cynic, Bravura, her salt-of-the-earth partner, Susie, and the mysterious femme fatale, Lena. Told in the voices of all three women, the novel explores the themes of mysticism, surrender, corruption, and moral self-destruction, while celebrating the magical power of love to seduce and destroy those who allow themselves to fall under its spell.