Monday, May 27, 2013

Malicious Masquerade Blog Tour: The Hidden, by Alan Cupp

How well do you know those closest to you? I’m talking about your family and friends that you interact with on a frequent basis. My guess is that most people would claim they know their closest friends and family members quite well. Imagine you heard something scandalous about one of those individuals that completely caught you off guard. Would you circle the wagons and brace yourself to shoot down any suspicion of that person’s guilt or could you approach such a discovery with objectivity? That would be a tough situation to be in and I think it’s difficult to predict how we would react. 

This recent Cleveland, Ohio case involving Ariel Castro and the three women he held captive for so many years reflects the frightening reality that people are capable of masking their most heinous traits from everyone else around them. It’s mind boggling to me that this man’s neighbors, friends, and even family members were unaware of his deplorable actions over the last decade. The fact that he continued to interact with his victims’ family members and participate in vigils while these poor young ladies were locked up in his home, subject to unspeakable on-going abuse makes this all the more disturbing.  

I think we all, to some extent, keep secret certain unattractive qualities that we identify in ourselves. Perhaps it’s pride or selfishness or insecurity that we bury deep below the surface that’s visible to our friends and family. These may be qualities we know exist, hate to admit, and are working to change within. Nobody wants to advertise his or her weaknesses or faults. So we hide them as we work toward self-improvement, hoping we can overcome these shortcomings before they’re revealed. For the most part, these aren’t qualities that would qualify us as monsters or dangers to society.  

Unfortunately, there are those in our society, who hide their true unflattering nature, putting on a friendly mask, while preying on those around them. They aren’t all quite as appalling as Castro, but they do pose a threat nonetheless. Whether it’s the businessperson who is cheating his or her customers, the power-hungry politician buying votes, the minister on TV defrauding his viewers, or a trusted employee embezzling from the company, there is no shortage of wolves in sheep’s clothing.  

In my novel, Malicious Masquerade, Cindy Bedford discovers this reality the hard way, when those closest to her are exposed. The reader gets to see Cindy go through this painful process of revelation as the private investigator she hires, Carter Mays, uncovers dirty little secrets about her fiancé and her family. With Carter’s help, Cindy soon realizes that everything she believes to be true about those closest to her is merely a fabrication, designed to either use her or protect her. As the truth unfolds, Carter and Cindy are hurled into the middle, fighting to survive.  

Enduring this kind of betrayal of trust would tend to make a person guarded or cynical in his or her future relationships. A certain level of loneliness or isolation would be understandable. If you’re like me, you are probably reading this and thinking, “Yeah, that happens to other people, but not me.” We all want to believe we know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the character of our close friends and family. That confidence is what makes it all the more shocking and sorrowful for those people who find themselves fooled by the ones they love.

About the Book: Chicago PI Carter Mays is thrust into a perilous masquerade when local rich girl Cindy Bedford hires him. Turns out her fiancé failed to show up on their wedding day, the same day millions of dollars are stolen from her father's company. While Carter takes the case, Cindy's father tries to find him his own way. With nasty secrets, hidden finances, and a trail of revenge, it's soon apparent no one is who they say they are.

Carter searches for the truth, but the situation grows more volatile as panic collides with vulnerability. Broken relationships and blurred loyalties turn deadly, fueled by past offenses and present vendettas in a quest to reveal the truth behind the masks before no one, including Carter, gets out alive.

About the Author: Alan Cupp loves to create and entertain, whether it’s with a captivating mystery novel or a funny promotional video for his church, he’s always anticipating his next creative endeavor. In addition to writing fiction, Alan enjoys acting, music, travel, and playing sports. His life’s motto is, “It’s better to wear out than rust out.” Alan places a high value on time spent with his beautiful wife and their two sons. He lives his life according to his 4F philosophy: Faith, Family, Friends, and Fun.


Unknown said...

Thanks for having me on today, Melissa! It was fun!

Unknown said...

Timely review. I started the book today!
Very interesting.

Unknown said...

Ooooh, sounds like a great book! I had a strange encounter a few years back with a good friend that I thought I really knew, I was sooo wrong! Sounds exciting!

Unknown said...

Thanks folks! And Max, I guess you can really relate. Sounds pretty unsettling.