This unusual tale of ghostly mystery was inspired by a Halloween costume, my love of antiques and ghosts, and my wistful yearning for a lovely little town in the Nevada desert where I once resided. It started life as a National Novel Writer’s Month project, and after several revisions, I took a chance and submitted it to Barking Rain Press. Although I had three more books published before this one was released, it was my first official novel, and my personal favorite.
Putting a messy divorce behind her, antiques dealer Zolena Gillette, my main character, moves her shop from Las Vegas to the peace and quiet of a small town on the outskirts of Reno. After purchasing a blind-box of antiques at an estate auction, Zolena discovers she has acquired a valuable piece of dark history: an authentic plague doctor’s mask from 17th century Italy.
While searching to find a buyer for the macabre artifact, however, she quickly discovers that the mask is haunted by the tormented spirit of a medieval plague doctor. The terrifying specter forces Zolena and her shop assistant, Jake Della Russo, to relive his final days in plague-ridden Tuscany through the ruby-red eyes of his mask. Worst of all, no matter how hard they try to get rid of it, the haunted mask always seems to find its way back to the shop—and anyone who gets in the way ends up dead.
Can Zolena and Jake figure out what the plague doctor wants and put an end to the ghastly visions and mysterious deaths, once and for all?C.L. Hernandez