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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

book spotlight & review: A MASQUE OF INFAMY by Kelly Dessaint


A Masque of Infamy is a ribald story of teenage rebellion and survival. After moving from Los Angeles to small town Alabama in 1987 with his father, his younger brother and this guy Rick, a friend of the family, Louis Baudrey 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 tries to rule the household with an iron fist. As Louis is about to be shipped off to military school, 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 save himself, Joey and maybe even his dream of being a punk rocker.

Review: Masque of Infamy by Kelly Dessaint

I had the opportunity to meet Kelly some months back in a central SoCal locale that we were both well acquainted with. We shot the shit about ‘back in the old days’ and other dusty punk rock lamentations. It’s what old punks do. All the while I was unaware that he had written this stark, bleak, brilliant and funny novel loosely (or maybe tightly) based on his distressed upbringing.  I just finished this powerhouse of a book, and want to shamelessly plug it while its still fresh in my damaged brainpan. Instantly, I felt a kinship with Kelly because this opus begins in a city that we share a mutual history in. It then moved far beyond my just identifying with common experiences, because his experiences in his childhood and my experiences in my childhood were vastly different. What I found so captivating about Kelly’s’ viewpoints was his ability to capture emotional detachment, alienation, and confusion absolutely. And then to convey it to the reader.  Goddamn, thank you for saying it for me. 'I don’t know how I fucking feel’ & ‘I don’t really give a shit what you think.’ Needless to say, I dig this book. I can see myself re-reading it many more times. This book has taken a permanent place in the bookcase. 

His contributions to the zine world are tremendous, too! This is a copy of PILTDOWNLAD #4, one of many 
titles available by Kelly Dessaint 

You can also find a multitude of 
his work by following this