• The Ambitious Card

  • The Eli Marks Mysteries, Book 1
  • By: John Gaspard
  • Narrated by: Jim Cunningham
  • Length: 9 hrs and 2 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (331 ratings)

Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks, and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Plus plan is $7.95 a month after 30 day trial. Upgrade or cancel anytime.
The Ambitious Card  By  cover art

The Ambitious Card

By: John Gaspard
Narrated by: Jim Cunningham
Try for $0.00

$7.95 a month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Buy for $24.47

Buy for $24.47

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

The life of a magician isn't all kiddie shows and card tricks. Sometimes it's murder. Especially when magician Eli Marks very publicly debunks a famed psychic, and said psychic ends up dead. The evidence, including a bloody King of Diamonds playing card (one from Eli's own Ambitious Card routine), directs the police right to Eli.

As more psychics are slain, and more King cards rise to the top, Eli can't escape suspicion. Things get really complicated when romance blooms with a beautiful psychic, and Eli discovers she's the next target for murder, and he's scheduled to die with her. Now Eli must use every trick he knows to keep them both alive and reveal the true killer.

©2018 John Gaspard (P)2018 Spoken Realms

What listeners say about The Ambitious Card

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    221
  • 4 Stars
    79
  • 3 Stars
    27
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    2
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    230
  • 4 Stars
    52
  • 3 Stars
    15
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    1
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    199
  • 4 Stars
    67
  • 3 Stars
    26
  • 2 Stars
    6
  • 1 Stars
    2

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

characters that are actually likable

The Ambitious Card is an ambitious book to my mind because it promptly reminded me of two other books, which forced comparison. But it comes comes out on top I think, in both counts. First of all, the magicians and psychics made me think of Christopher Priest’s The Prestige, which I didn’t particularly like. But Gaspard breaks that tie quickly by giving us characters that are actually likable, even lovable (I love Uncle Harry). Also a plot that is quite interesting. I am fascinated by magic and illusions and this book has quite a few references to the real stuff, and ties it in well, without info dumping. I also enjoyed all the references to the comedians and magicians of the mid twentieth century. I’ve got some new ones to look up.

The second book that came to mind was Agatha Christie’s The ABC Murders, which I do particularly like. (I also particularly like the word “particularly” so expect to see it in my future reviews) That made me start speculating on the killer, but Gaspard managed to keep me guessing up to the end even with that hint.

Another thing this book actually reminded me of was Charles Dickens. Many of the characters have traits that are blown all out of proportion. I LOVED it. It was excellent, and it seemed realistic, partly because all these magicians and psychics are entertainers and are that way in real life, and partly because they were just hilariously, brilliantly done. I enjoyed them all thoroughly.

There is some sexual content that is graphic enough not to be appropriate children, as well as an implied lesbian relationship. It also deals with the subject of divorce and a couple of adulterous relationships.

Production-wise I have no complaints, the sound was excellent, consistent volume, no strange effects on any voices. I typically don’t like music in my audiobooks, but the intro and outro were kept short, and the the music just fit the book perfectly.

Jim Cunningham was fabulous. He captured the tone of the book in his delivery, and I loved all his voices. Particularly Harry and Frannie. Every word was clear, and all the characters were distinct. There was one point that I would have liked to have heard some effects on his voice because of what was happening in the story, but on the other hand, that could have been distracting, and potentially difficult to understand.

I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

17 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Fun intro to a series

My favorite thing about this book is how it used scenes from Minneapolis/St Paul, where I have lived. I also liked the humor and the setting in the world of smalltime professional magicians. The mystery itself isn't that hard to figure out after while, but that is always the least interesting thing to me about mysteries. I like a mystery with an interesting cast of characters and detailed setting, which this has. As usual, the hero proves irresistible to women, but at least he's modest about it. The narration was excellent. You could easily distinguish the characters.

Also this book gets extra credit from me for its use of an old Smothers Brothers song - Mediocre Fred!

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A Magic Debunker and His Uncle :)

This series is really a lot of fun and quite different than most mysteries. Eli Marks lives with his Uncle Harry where they operate a magic shop together. Offering all kinds of gadgets and tricks (including farting gas), the two open the shop when and if they feel like it. And Eli also works as a "debunker" of magic and paranormal events, which in this story gets him in deep trouble with his ex-wife's new husband, homicide detective Fred Hutton. There are no explicit sex scenes in the book, which I appreciate. The magicians all live by a code to never divulge the secret to any of one anothers magic tricks, and Eli also lives by that code, even though he is a debunker. When Eli publicly debunks a very famous psychic, proving that he is a fake, the man soons turns up dead with a bloody King of Diamonds left at the scene. As Eli is attracted to a young female psychic, it seems she is next to be targeted. Don't miss this story that is filled with magic tricks, and a zillion twists and turns. The ending is so imaginative and good!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great Twist On Murder Mysteries

I almost only listen to murder mysteries, so I really appreciated this unique premise for one. I loved the magic sprinkled throughout, the humor, and the romance. I'm definitely going to continue with the series. For those that care, I'd rate this PG-13. There's no graffic sex. The one love scene leads up to it and then skips to the after. The swearing is minimal. I highly recommend it!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent

Very well written and very well performed. Pay close attention as every detail relates. Cunningham is the perfect performer for this series.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Enjoyable

A cute story with fun charterers. I enjoyed the witty banter, smart one liners and even a few dad jokes with references to comics not many of us under 70 even know any more. While it's not hard to see what's coming next it is fun getting there and the writing style keeps you entertained.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Not my cup of tea

Narrator: He didn’t do a bad job of reading the book. I have come to the conclusion I don’t care much for male narrators. Usually women are smooth and soft. Men tend to be jerky with too much emphasis on every word.

Story line: it was 10 minutes into the book and he was still describing one trick. After that I just started fast forwarding through to get to the pertinent parts. After awhile I figured out there weren’t any. I Fell asleep around chapter 2 out of boredom. Woke up a few chapters later and still boring. I did leave it playing all night on low volume as it was like white noise only slightly more annoying. I also downloaded volume 2. It will be deleted with volume 1. Not bothering to waste my time. I am disappointed as Gaspard got so many wonderful reviews.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic! Had me from the beginning

I love mysteries and magic. Throw in some romance a few interesting Murders, and it’s great. All the characters are fun. I do wish there had been a few more hints leading to the murderer, but I guess it’s no fun if it’s too easy.

Can’t wait to listen to the next. Eli and Harry are hilarious. Highly recommend, even if you’re not a fan of magic tricks you’ll enjoy the narrator’s flawless performance reading this!!!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great Book

I really enjoyed listening to a male cozy. Nice change from so many female sleuths. Good magician angle. Looking forward to the 2nd book in the series!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fun original read

I don’t know why I didn’t find this series sooner. Picked this up when it was on a Plus list. Loved it. Plan to read more.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Sally
  • Sally
  • 09-19-21

a New Author and Narrator for me

I only had this book because it was included in the Plus Catalogue. I am glad I did, It is quite interesting to hear about the magic tricks, without giving away too many secrests. I have always been a sucker for Penn and Teller on the TV and also clever magicians. This was also an amateur sluth into the bargain. It is a very easy listen, so much so that I have got the whole series.
The narration is very good as well which makes it even more enjoyable, I shall look out more of Jim Cunningham's narrations.
Thanks Amazon loving the Plus Catalogue

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Jay
  • Jay
  • 10-07-22

This was excellent fun!

I really enjoyed this book Jim Cunningham's performance as the narrator is absolutely wonderful. John Gaspard's writing is spot on, this was a really intriguing story, the setup is interesting. I love the characters and Eli is so likable. I binged this in two days. I am going to download the next book now!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-01-22

great fun

I loved the narrator and the concept was great fun .. I kept going to check out the trick...and the layering to get you to know the character was enticing It was an excellent

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for S Wood
  • S Wood
  • 08-17-22

Great Light Murder Mystery

New author to me and only got as it was on Audible plus. So worth it. Gentle, humour, even made me laugh out loud at one point. The relationship between the main character and his uncle is brilliant.
A great gentle read set in the world of magic as a backdrop.
How you get knitting mysteries, sewing mysteries etc now you get illusionist mysteries.
Will be buying these.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for A. Leeson
  • A. Leeson
  • 05-31-22

Awesome!

I loved this book, the story, the narration, everything. I needed a good book, with a lovely storyline and some humour. This hit every mark perfectly.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-28-22

an enjoyable yarn

I found this book very relaxing to listen too. And I liked the narrator. At first it is a tad pendantic but livens up as it goes along. Completely silly plot but entertaining. I got fond of the main character.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Andrew Stonehouse
  • Andrew Stonehouse
  • 05-25-22

Yeah,

Surprisingly enjoyably, liked the narrators voices. Not the most original but certainly worth a listen.