The Mask of Midnight by Laurie Stevens

The Loop
by Nicholas Holloway

JPM Publishing
Publication Date: September 2019
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The Loop

Review by Joy Gorence

Gallagher Fenton, aka Gal, wakes with a blinding headache to find the brutalized body of a young woman in his bed. Unfortunately, the knife in her throat is his pocketknife. His only recollection of Daphne is one of pleasure. He has no memory of the events surrounding her murder. This “bloody visage of violence and volatility” initiates a series of mysterious events in Nicholas Holloway’s The Loop.

With a dark and ominous tone, Holloway creates a setting of isolation that envelops the characters in his story.  Beginning with drops of blood, the novel can only lead the reader to the conclusion that Gal’s story is seeped in misery. Living in a dilapidated house in the shadows of the Sierra Nevada, Gal’s life is one of coldness and isolation, which is further illustrated by the snow that shrouds this landscape in this desolate setting.

When Daphne does not return the calls of her aunt, Sandy Castro, Sandy takes the investigation of her missing niece into her own hands. What she uncovers is a number of treacherous and ruthless people in charge of the Sierra Red Lodges, a closely guarded network of prostitution. Gal unfortunately becomes one of its victims and is charged with Daphne’s murder.

Gal’s father is incarcerated for the murder of his mother, and his two older brothers have little love for their mother’s favorite son, Gal.  His sister, Scarlet, however, provides him with the support he needs. As the mystery of deaths unfolds, Holloway scripts a message that blood ties can be a curse and a blessing. 

Joy Gorence is new to Killer Nashville.  She is an author, world-traveler, English professor (ret.), and avid reader.  Originally from Long Island, NY she now lives in South Florida with her husband, Bill, and their two pampered kitties.