The story begins with a couple throwing an unconscious man into the sea at late hours in Hong Kong. No one seems to witness this incident and we do not even know their identities. The couple just thinks their mission is complete. We follow Thomas as he tries to solve the mystery and is tangled in a web of deceit, lies, and illusions.
I gladly received a PDF copy of this novella from the author, Edmond Cheng. It's a short story that is part of a larger book called Unearthed, and is published by Midnight Showcase Fiction.
Illusion obviously isn't as long as a regular novel, so it's hard to review it in the same way. It's most likely harder for the author to focus on character development when they have to delve into the action right away! In this aspect, I believe Illusion suffered - because of the nature of a novella, action and adventure are usually the priorities. I didn't feel the usual connection with the characters. Taking it all into consideration, though, I think Cheng made a good effort!
I really enjoyed the plot line. I found it to be creative and very inventive. I was asking myself an endless list of questions and was repeatedly having my theories proved wrong! In the entertainment department, Illusion delivers. I could picture this as a successful action movie.
As for the writing, it was usually very well structured and filled with an ample amount of adjectives. However, at some points in the story the dialogue between characters didn't flow as smoothly as it should and felt a tad unnatural. If you can overlook this small flaw, Cheng's writing is enjoyable to read.
Taking everything into account, Illusion was a solid novella. I loved the creativity that clearly went into creating his story, and it was certainly displayed at every twist! To me it seems that Cheng could benefit from more experience as an author to tighten up his writing skills, but there is definitely potential here!
Recommendation: If you enjoy mystery, action, deceit, and lots of suspense, give Illusion a quick read - it's short enough to be able to finish in one day, yet packs enough punch to keep you entertained.