My first inclination on receiving The Masque by author Matts Djos was to put it aside because it was not “my type” of book. Instead, I read the book right to the end and found it to be compelling. It is a love story and a paranormal story. I recommend it to readers of those genres.
Ginny and Nathan had known each other for about twelve years and have been married for for ten. The story begins in 1970 when they are going through trying times in their relationship. They have both cheated with other people. Ginny is a paralegal in a small law office. Nathan is a college professor. They live in Seattle. Both are recovering alcoholics. The marriage is in trouble.
They decide to spend a long weekend in New Orleans to celebrate their tenth anniversary. After checking into their hotel, they go out on the town. After all, it is New Orleans: home of great food and great music. They hail a horse-drawn cab outside the hotel entrance to go sightseeing and dining. Maybe a drink or two. The driver’s name is Angel, and he speaks with a heavy New Orleans/Cajun accent that the author captures. They get exceedingly drunk. Not good, especially when you are an alcoholic.
The next day, the hotel manager gives them a note. It is from Angel. It is an invitation to a Masque (masked ball). That night, Angel is waiting for them with his horse drawn-cab to take them. This is where, in my mind, I could hear the theme music from “The Twilight Zone” begin to play. After a very strange evening, Ginny and Nathan return to their hotel, where Ginny realizes she is missing a pearl necklace. They return to mansion the next morning to see if the necklace had been found. The mansion is not there. Apparently, it had burned to the ground over 70 years ago with a horrific loss of life.
This memory haunts the couple for the rest of the story. They embark on a series of spooky trips including a bizarre ski-cation at Crystal Mountain near Mount Rainier in Washington State and a sailboating trip to Lake Powell on the Colorado River near Utah, Arizona and Colorado…
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–Jim Harris, retired book sales rep
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