A Masque of Infamy by Kelly Dessaint

Publisher: Phony Lid Books
Publication Date: April 2013
Categories: Punk, Mental Illness, Adolescense

A Masque of Infamy is a horrific and raucous story of teenage rebellion. But instead of “What d’ya got?” fifteen-year-old Louis Baudrey knows exactly what he’s fighting against… 

After moving from Los Angeles to small town Alabama in 1987 with his father, his younger brother and Rick, a friend of the family, Louis tries to fit in at the local high school, but the Bible-thumpers and the rednecks don’t take too kindly to his outlandish wardrobe and burgeoning punk attitude. At home, he defies the sadistic intentions of Rick, who rules the household with an iron fist. As Louis begins to lose all hope, he stumbles upon indisputable proof that will free him and his brother from Rick’s tyranny. But just when he thinks his troubles are over, he’s locked up in the adolescent ward of a mental hospital, where he must fight the red tape of the system to realize his dream of being a punk rocker.

My Thoughts:

The night I finished this book I had a dream that I was a patient in a psychiatric hospital. I can’t remember the last time a book seeped into my sleep. That says a lot about the affect this novel had on me.

Horrible things happen to Louis and his younger brother. Things that made me angry and squeamish. The way these boys view the abuse raining down on them was unsettling. There was a casual acceptance in their attitude. As I read further I realized that denial was a tactic they used to stay sane.

The adults in this story are unbelievably neglectful, abusive, and useless. I’d say that they were unbelievable as characters if I didn’t know the sad truth that there are parents like this in the world

Like other reviewers I wasn’t happy with the ambiguous ending of this book. I wanted to know what happened to this family. I didn’t expect a happy ending exactly, but I did hope for more. Is Mr. Dessaint working on a sequel? We can only hope.

Kelly Dessaint was born and raised in Los Angeles. At fifteen, he moved to Alabama, where he ended up in state custody. After graduating from the University of Alabama, he lived and traveled across the country, working odd jobs and gathering material for the stories he has published under various pseudonyms in small press magazines and his zines, Vagabond Review and Piltdownlad. He currently lives in LA with his wife and three cats.

34 thoughts on “A Masque of Infamy by Kelly Dessaint

  1. I hadn't seen this one around yet, but it does sound interesting. Ambiguous endings are the worst sometimes. I know they are supposed to be more realistic, but sometimes a person doesn't want realism in their fiction. They want the fairy tales or at least a sense of closure you rarely get in real life.


  2. You know I'm a teacher so I can see that yes, there are definitely awful parents out there and lots more who don't put enough into parenting, and it's utterly heart-breaking. The fact that he was able to write this book at all is kind of a happy ending?


  3. Thanks for linking me in the post, you're so sweet! :)I didn't really think about how the kids' casual acceptance of their situation being a coping mechanism of sorts. Love that you made this suggestion.It was very difficult reading this book knowing it was an autobiographical novel. Love Sam's point above!


  4. You're welcome! :DRemember when Louis first finds those items in his dad's drawer? He had almost no reaction and at the time my mouth was hanging open and I wondered why isn't he FREAKING out?? I figured it almost had to be a coping mechanism or..or I just didn't know what else was going on, lol.


  5. I read this book too, and it is interesting how many perspectives I've seen. Some people get horrified by the abuse described in the book, some see the spirit that it takes to experience life to the fullest despite the abuse. There is a lot of coming of age humor in this book. The main character's raison etre is to date girls and to listen to punk rock. He is a normal teenager, despite everything horrible that's going on in his family. I feel like the message of the book is that no matter how messed up a childhood may be, kids can still persevere.


  6. I can never decide if it's a good or bad thing to have book-related dreams (well, I guess it depends on the dream!). Definitely sounds like a book you need to sit down and read without distractions.


  7. A Masque of Infamy sounds intense Jennifer. I'm not sure it's one for me due to the subject matter. If a book seeps into your dreams, it's surely on your mind. Stephen Kings novels tend to do that to me. Great review!


  8. I know what you mean about books affecting your dreams… which is why I think this one is probably not for me. My reading outside my job is for relaxation and recharging my batteries, and this book would definitely drain them. Too bad, because it also sounds like a compelling and interesting read.


  9. Hello, thanks for reviewing my novel. I hope you don't mind me posting this, but I just wanted to let you and your readers know that the Kindle version of A Masque of Infamy is free for the next two days (7/10-7/11). So if anybody was on the fence about it, they can check out the eBook risk free. My apologies in advance for any bad dreams the story may cause. :)Thanks again. Here's the link:http://www.amazon.com/A-Masque-of-Infamy-ebook/dp/B00BQ4D0R4/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=&qid=


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