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Book Review: City of Masks by Mike Reeves-McMillan

Ben Rovik


SNAP JUDGMENT: An intriguing mystery in a beautifully inventive setting, written in a high literary style.

THE SETUP: Gregorious Bass is an honest, harmless nobleman who’s a nobody in his courtly home nation of Calaria. His master appoints him as envoy to the city-state of Bonvidaeo, a position that should be safe and low-stakes.

Bass comes to rely heavily on his Bonvidaoan manservant in his new home, however, because of the city’s odd custom: every person must wear a mask at all times. The masks not only reflect the character and social role of the person behind them, they shape how the person can act, speak, and think, in public and private. Acting counter to your own mask is a great crime.

But murder is an even greater crime, and when a mysterious figure in the mask of a Butcher kills one of Bass’s countrymen, his supposedly safe job puts…

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