"Holy sh*t! I'm completely blown away. I thought this was going to be a small little manuscript. There is so much information here!
"While this is not meant to be a complete encyclopedia of "living and dead tests"......it's very close!
"Dozens and dozens of routines and ideas are taught. To me many of the little "tips and touches" are priceless. Ideas like using a little loop of tape on the tray to collect the envelopes or George B Anderson's idea of using a woman instead of a dead name. This would blow away a modern audience!
"The number of ideas that I'll be using from this are many! Mark you have done the magic and mentalism community a huge service with this. When it comes to impromptu mentalism this is one of the strongest effects you could ever perform. And if you actually have the time to present it properly in a formal or staged situation, it can create its own religion!
- Nathan Kranzo
"...it is an extraordinary book. I mentioned my general dislike of the Living & Dead tests. However, this compilation of yours opened my eyes to all the possibilities of this premise. It's remarkable the breadth and width of the concept. I love being surprised in a good way, and this is exactly what your book did for me over and over again."
- Todd Robbins
"THE QUICK & THE DEAD by Mark Strivings is an embarrassment of riches for anybody interested in our art.
"Whether you love history, cool methods, cool presentations, or just want a practical commercial effect to add to you repertoire, you will get use out of this book.
"Like THE JINX, and MAGICK, I foresee it being a constant reference in my library for years to come!"
- Joe Diamond
"I can't put your book down.
"I think the tremendous research and options of use, make it far more valuable than living/dead tests. It is a joyful journey.
"Destined to be a classic"
- Marc Salem
"I feel confident offering glowing praise so soon despite having only read portions of the book. Gathering, sorting and presenting so much fascinating and USEFUL information in one place is a true gift to our community. That Q & D was a labor of love shows in all your hard work and in the accessibility and clarity of your writing. Your excitement with the results of your research is contagious.
"As I read and pondered all of the elegant and intriguing methods, seemingly mixed together like ingredients in a potion at times, I had a recurring thought. Penn & Teller better, sooner rather than later, obtain and read a copy. Otherwise they risk several denouements involving FU trophies, traceable directly to Q & D."
- Bill Cushman
The Quick & the Dead
by Mark Strivings
There has never been a book like this one. Between these covers are dozens upon dozens of handlings, ideas, presentations, methods, techniques and so much more. And while all of it is geared specifically to the pursuit of the L&D, there is literally no limit to what you can create using what you will learn in these pages. In these nearly THREE HUNDRED full-size (8.5" X 11") pages you will find the complete history of the Living and Dead test (it's fascinating, and much older than most people think).
You will find a thorough exploration of the only other full-length treatise on the subject, written a full eighty years ago, and containing some of the best examples in the entire genre.
You will find an entire chapter of alternatives to presenting the L&D that don't involve using the dead at all!
You'll find a huge chapter with a myriad of ideas and techniques for secretly marking all manner of mediums. This chapter alone is worth its weight in gold!
You'll find a hefty chapter on complete presentations of the L&D using a wide variety of approaches.
You'll find an entire chapter of techniques specifically to obtain a secretly written name (or any other bit of written information)!
You'll find an entire chapter of distinctly unique approaches to the L&D that range from the utterly delightful, to the downright strange.
You'll find a complete chapter of L&D tests that each have their own peculiar flair.
You'll find a complete chapter of presentations that, while not exactly L&D in the strictest sense, lean very hard in that direction with some incredible results!
You'll find an entire chapter of straight-ahead magic tricks that use the L&D as a bit of a framework. Amazing stuff!
You'll find an entire chapter on the L&D using playing cards!And while there are examples scattered throughout the text, there is a separate chapter on effects using slates.
And for those whose tastes run a bit dark, there's a hefty chapter of L&D stuff that is just plain bizarre. Weird ones, listen up!
And speaking of weird, there's single trick chapter of what is perhaps the strangest 'living and dead' demonstration ever created, and it is completely impromptu and propless!
And finally, for those who want to dig deeper, there is a huge bibliography listing well over FIVE HUNDRED references, and they are barely the tip of the iceberg. In all there are well over TWO HUNDRED individual references of all kinds.
Additionally, there is a marvelous Foreword by my friend, the great Paul Brook. If you know Paul's work, you know that he is one of the most respected names in all of mentalism. And just for you, he even slipped a bonus effect into his Foreword, sneaky guy that he is! It's a killer!
In fact, here's a snippet from the Foreword by Paul Brook.
"A book dedicated to a single focus, exploring the many facets of performance and presentation within that theme, creates valuable benefits. First, it allows the mind to understand the numerous subtleties that may otherwise get lost in a general mentalism book. Secondly, studying the variations within a short space of time allows the brain to organize better and link that information. Thirdly, the book becomes a single resource that can be easily located for further study instead of leafing through countless books.
'"The ease of use, collation, connection and synergy of ideas aid the brain in mapping out the labyrinth of potentiality, connecting up previously unlinked corridors and paving the way for new territory."
While Paul was reading the book, I received literally dozens of messages from him, exploding with ideas and avenues to explore. And not exclusively dealing with the overall topic of this book. He came up with all kinds of ideas, some of which you may be seeing from him in the coming months and years. The same will happen with you. Your thoughts will fly all over the place, as well. The sky is genuinely the limit.
One of the things I have always loved about most magic books is that you can open to nearly any page and just start reading. I do it all the time. Magic books are usually modular, and as such, you can simply open pretty much anywhere and dive right in. For those of you who tend to read magic books like I do, this tome is a treasure-trove! In fact, here's this from the Introduction:
"This is going to be quite the journey. For those who carefully absorb what follows I know there will be a whole bunch of moments when eyebrows get raised and the thought of, "that's really cool" will pass through your head. And for those of you who flip through this more casually, there's a solid surprise on pretty much every page. Hopefully there will be something here for everyone. Candidly I fail to see how there couldn't be."
I wrote those words more than a year prior to the book being finished. Now that it's done, I can tell you that those words are absolutely true.