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Today's Featured Books

Congratulations to Charlie and Cheryl Young and Vine Leaves Press on the release of Houdini's Last Handcuffs, a mesmerizing blend of historical fiction and fantasy set in 1950s Manhattan. ★★★★★ "The great Houdini book the world has been waiting for. A perfect escape." ~John Kelly, Detroit Free Press

NEW RELEASE: March 26, 2024

Genre: Historical Fantasy

Hardcover: $24.99

Paperback: $17.99

Ebook: $5.99  

A riveting journey into a world where magic meets science, tantalizing readers with every twist and turn.On the 30th anniversary of Houdini's death, three young friends who were gifted a mystical Ouija Board by the enigmatic writer Walter Gibson, find themselves thrust into a world of wonder.While adults attempt to reach Houdini in a séance at his former residence, the children unknowingly call upon the great magician, not through the Ouija board or séance but via an enigmatic pair of handcuffs from their father's magic collection.Houdini, in dire need of their aid, reveals a hidden notebook filled with scientific formulas coveted by both benevolent and malevolent secret circles. This notebook is a puzzle, locked behind Houdini's cryptic code.The unexpected unfolds, setting off a thrilling chase, where the pursuit of Houdini's notebook holds the key to secrets, mystique, and adventure.Praise for Houdini’s Last Handcuffs★★★★★ “A lovingly crafted mix of fact and fantasy featuring famous faces from the 1958 New York magic scene, including Houdini himself! Part reminiscence and part high adventure, this is a tale that will make you believe.” ~John Cox, author of the "Wild About Harry" blog★★★★★ “A compelling historical novel with a strong cast of characters. Highly recommended!” ~The Wishing Shelf★★★★★ “A rewarding work of fervid and fertile imagination” ~Joseph Caldwell, author of In the Shadow of the Bridge★★★★★ “There are few authors more qualified to craft a story about Houdini than the Youngs, who quite literally grew up amidst the lore and legends surrounding the world's most famous magician.” ~Gabe Fajuri, Founder of Potter and Potter Auctions, author of Mysterio's Encyclopedia of Magic and Conjuring

About the Authors

Charlie Young has been active as a physician/eye surgeon, writer, artist, vice president of the music company Denton and Haskins, creator of the radio podcast series Unheard of Jazz, and most recently writer of the historical fiction Houdini's Last Handcuffs which he co-authored with his sister.

Houdini’s Last Handcuffs is Cheryl Young's debut novel co-authored with her brother. Raised and educated in Manhattan, she earned an MBA from Columbia University. In addition to a career in finance, Cheryl is also a board member of the Finch College Alumni Foundation Trust, which focuses on awarding grants to tri-state area community college women continuing on for a four-year degree. Cheryl divides time between the cosmopolitan life of Miami and rural life in Essex Connecticut.

Visit them at

About the Publisher

Vine Leaves Press likes to blur the line between commercial and experimental works. They publish book-length vignette collections, writing reference books, short story collections, memoir/autobiography, and character-driven novels with a literary bent.​ Subscribe to the Vine Leaves Press newsletter to receive FREE advanced review copies of upcoming new releases, news about their authors and subscribers, and/or to read the monthly opinion column, SPILL IT! or a daily dose of 50-word stories. Learn more at

Harry Houdini: The Man Who Inspired Superheroes

March 24 marks the 150th birthday of the master magician, illusionist and escapologist who inspired the Shadow, Batman, and the very idea of the superhero.

POSTED: MAR 24, 2024 10:00 AM

Famed magician Harry Houdini was one of the 20th century’s biggest celebrities, and remains a global household name to this day. His impossible feats of death-defying escape, otherworldly mystique and the popular legends woven around him have inspired hundreds of booksmoviesTV shows and comics, and even pinballs and videogames, plus countless other appearances and mentions.

Houdini’s daring reputation, along with his muscular physique and real-life adventures exposing con artists, made him more myth than man, and an important evolutionary milestone in the idea of the superhuman.

In honor of his 150th birthday, here’s a look at the man behind the legend, fact vs. fiction (the former being stranger, in his case) and how he helped inspire the idea of the superhero.


Houdini’s Long Shadow

There are quite a few events and tribute shows planned for Houdini’s 150th around the world, but perhaps the most interesting is the book launch of Houdini’s Last Handcuffs, a fantasy novel by Charlie and Cheryl Young inspired by their childhood in 1950s New York. 

Their father, Morris Young, was a magic enthusiast who as a teenager had seen Houdini perform and met him. In 1961, he coauthored with Walter B. Gibson the highly influential Houdini’s Fabulous Magic, now in its fourth edition. 

The same Walter B. Gibson, a magician in his own right, had ghostwritten for Houdini himself. In 1921 the experience inspired him to create, under the penname Maxwell Grant, a pulp magazine adventurer who had “Houdini’s penchant for escapes, with the hypnotic power of Tibetan mystics”—the Shadow. 

The Shadow, in turn, helped inspire a number of superheroes, most notably Batman. Batman’s cocreator Bill Finger was also inspired by Houdini, making the master magician both a direct and indirect influence on the caped crusader.


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