For some, Mardi Gras is a celebration. For others, it's a dangerous game.
Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads.
Authors: M. Dalto, Candace Robinson, Sarah Lampkin, R.J. Garcia, Kristin Jacques, Myra Fiacco, Merry Jones, Marlena Frank, Dave Wickenden, Melissa Eskue Ousley
Publication Date: March 31, 2020
Publisher: Filles Vertes Publishing
Cover Artist: -
My Rating: ★★★★
I received an ARC of this book from author Candace Robinson in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! In no way does this affect my rating or review.
All included quotes have been taken from an ARC and may not match the finished publication.
Masks is an anthology surrounding the theme of Mardi Gras. From mystery/thrillers to paranormal encounters, this compilation of short stories is a fantastic read for more mature readers around this time of year when the Mardi Gras celebration commences.
Story 1: The Sin Exchange (Ginger Root) by C. Vonzale Lewis
”He marks a sinner as a saint and a saint as a sinner.”
A mysterious murder happens along the river late one night. Detective Monroe suspects something very sinister afoot when evidence of Hoodoo rituals appears at the center of the murders. With haunting memories from her own past, Beatrice must track down the serial killer before more lives are lost to his terrible ritualistic behavior.
Story 2: The Fickle Hand of Fortune by Dave Wickenden
“Simonelli has to pay for his sins.
Winning the lottery has its downfalls–one being targeted by thugs seeking out an easy fortune. In this ransom thriller, Terry Paxon finds this out when his family is attacked in their own house one evening. On a fixed timeframe to transfer the money, he hires a team of Special Forces to keep his family safe as they try to sneak away under the throws of Mardi Gras celebrations.
Story 3: Epiphany by M. Dalto
Allister was careless, lecherous, and vulgar, but no one complained. No one asked him to stop his advances or change his ways, and sometimes, in between the nightly endeavors, he wondered if anyone would dare if they truly cared enough about the answer.
Playboy Prince Allister hates being alone. His large mansion is always packed with party guests, reveling in the celebrations of Mardi Gras. Looking to fill his evenings with new conquests, a woman in red catches his eye. Little does he know that his encounter with this transfixing woman will lead him down a path forcing him to face his fears.
Story 4: The Mobile Spirit by Sarah Lampkin
I heard no voice that day.
But I did discover one thing.
Death wore a mask.
An off-shoot story of her Dead Dreamer series, Lampkin develops a tale centering around two brothers that are soldiers in the Civil War in Mobile, Alabama. Charles had miraculously survived an attempt on his life which left him with a strange ability to walk the land of the in-between while he slept. This ability, however, clues him into a plot to unroot their presence and keep the peace.
Story 5: La Femme en Rouge by Marlena Frank
Nothing good ever comes from la femme en rouge, especially this close to Mardi Gras.
A story about accepting one’s self intertwines with the notorious La femme en rouge. A transgender woman with an abusive father is ultimately challenged by the woman in red to finally step into the shoes that she so desires.
Story 6: Spirit of Le Petit by Melissa Eskue Ousley
I don’t think any of us had been prepared for the spirits of Le Petit.
Le Petit, an old theatre in downtown New Orleans has no shortage of ghost stories. When a team of ghost hunters desires to make the theatre the center of their next show, they encounter some ghosts that aren’t too fond of their meddling.
Story 7: The Celebration Game by Candace Robinson
He was near perfect, beautiful, and dangerous. Like her, like their clan.
A Mardi Gras game turns down a wild path in fantasy short story about gargoyles. King cake, young love, and mayhem intertwin in this fast-paced short story thriller.
Story 8: The Axeman Among Us by R. J. Garcia
Voodoo is not only religion, it is survival.
Set in 1918, an ax murderer is on the loose. Two boys witness the axeman leaving the scene of a crime and must decide what to do, fearing that he may come after them next. The boys consult Madame Boudreaux, a voodoo priestess to keep the axeman away. Keeping a voodoo doll hidden from a prying mother may be the hardest trail yet.
Story 9: The Blackbird Mask by Merry Jones
After all, it had been Mardi Gras, and everyone, even death, had been in disguise.
Mardi Gras undoubtedly comes with its tales of debauchery. When a pretty woman in a raven mask dies in bed after an evening of indulgence, two roommates must figure out what their next steps will be. The bigger question is: how did the woman die?
Story 10: Roll the Bones by Kristin Jacques- fantasy thriller
”What shall we wager, young man?”
Josh just wants to attend a party on Mardi Gras, but his father forbids him. Instead, he must stay home and watch out for his younger sister, Helene. When his father leaves for another shift on duty, Josh is close behind out the door and onto the busy streets with his sister. Distracted by the sights, and a pretty woman, Josh loses sight of Helene and embarks on a fantastical journey in order to win her back from The Cunning One’s grasp.
Story 11: Ashes, Ashes by Myra Tiacco
Louis Lamott–New Orleans’ Forgotten Serial Killer.
Mardi Gras 1854, Louis Lamott kills again. Alternating a past and present timeline, this story unpacks the truth behind an infamous serial killer during the outbreak of Yellow Fever.
Sexual content: Explicit adult content – not suitable for younger readers.
Violence: Markedly with ritual sacrifices/murders, gore, etc.
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