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DR. MORBID’S CASTLE OF BLOOD
Following the attacks on Vintage City by the Deathtrap Debutantes, life quiets down, and the superheroes are temporarily without work. Unfortunately, unemployed superheroes mean bored superheroes, and with Peter’s birthday just around the corner, Eric asks for help in coming up with the most creative gift he can give a boy who’s got everything. Tapping into everyone’s fondness for computer games, Eric enlists the heroes’ help in experimenting with a video game in a desperate bid to amaze Peter with something unique.
What they don’t expect is a game that’s been sabotaged by an old nemesis. Eric and the heroes suddenly find themselves trapped in a horror game, forced to advance against the clock or be stuck in it forever. With three of their friends vanishing from the group, Eric and Ridley are forced to use their wits and their limited abilities to fight their way through monsters that are meant to keep them from finding the others. Outside, Althea as Spirit Wire, along with unexpected allies, scrambles to keep a delicate connection with her friends as she tries to save them all.
“The story is a vast metaphor for their lives, and by Eric heroically taking the lead and seizing the opportunity to solve the obstacles in front of him (of course, not without help), he’s triumphing over his own place in the world and instead of only seeing the limitations of that world for him, he’s finding his place.” The Armchair Reader
Following Arachnaman’s bigoted, hateful attacks, life in beleaguered Vintage City finally quiets down, but it doesn’t last long. Eric’s father begins to show symptoms of extreme fatigue, symptoms that Eric notices in a number of other people he sees elsewhere. Along with the superheroes, he tries to find a common denominator in all this, the surprising result being a new perfume shop that hawks very strong fragrances. A familiar pair of supervillains is suspected, but before the heroes can further investigate the motives behind this threat, people exhibiting symptoms of illness are transformed in the most shocking way, throwing Vintage City in a state of panic.
In the meantime, Eric monitors the Unofficial Calais Fan Club, which is now exploding with romantic Mary Sue fanfiction involving Calais as well as curious messages posted by a girl who’s apparently wildly in love with the superhero. References to her making “new friends” alert Eric to suspect that she and the current mayhem being inflicted on Vintage City are somehow tied together. The stakes are now raised for Eric, whose father has become a victim to a new crime wave and whose superhero boyfriend might also be under threat. All this, and he’s yet to survive school and find a job.
CURSE OF ARACHNAMAN
Curse of Arachnaman follows the events in the first three books in the Masks series, including Masks: Rise of Heroes and Masks: Evolution. Eric is settling down into a near-normal existence. He’s learning to cope with a different kind of closet — being kept from talking freely about his relationship with Calais and the other superheroes — as well as an increasingly protective mother, his sister’s new squeaky-clean boyfriend, and a bingo-obsessed best friend.
Eric also learns that sometimes, being an asset to the forces of good means simply being himself. In the meantime, Vintage City is under siege from a new threat, one who’s proving to be much more dangerous than all of the other supervillains the heroes have faced combined. Good people find themselves at the mercy of an angry lunatic who will stop at nothing to purge the city of what he sees to be undesirable elements.
“One of the best aspects about this series is the great writing. Eric is the first person narrator and his voice tempers the story with humor, wit, and entertaining observations.” Three Dollar Bill Reviews
“Curse of Arachnaman has less the “fantasy” feeling of the previous books (something that in the third book was pretty heavy) and it’s more a sweet coming of age story about two young boys in love.” Elisa Rolle
MASKS: RISE OF HEROES (BOOK ONE)
Strange things are happening in Vintage City, and high school goth boy Eric seems to be right in the middle of them. There’s a new villain in town, one with super powers, and he’s wreaking havoc on the town, and on Eric’s life. The new super hero who springs up to defend Vintage City is almost as bad, making Eric all hot and bothered, enough so that he almost misses the love that’s right under his nose.
Peter is Eric’s best friend, and even if he does seem to be hiding something most of the time, he finds a way to show Eric how he feels in between attacks on trains and banks and malls. The two boys decide to start dating, much to the chagrin of their other best buddy, Althea, who has a terrible crush on Peter, and a secret or two of her own to keep.
As the fight between the villain, known as the Devil’s Trill, and superhero Magnifiman picks up, Eric’s relationship with Peter almost ends before it begins when Eric finds out about Peter’s special talents, which might just rank Peter as a superhero in his own right. When the Trill takes an interest in Eric, too, Peter and Althea, along with Magnifiman and Eric’s normal, middle-class family all have to work together to keep Eric, and their city, safe.
MASKS: EVOLUTION (BOOK TWO)
While his friends continue to develop their newfound powers, Eric begins to feel the effects of being the odd man out. Around him, things go from bad to worse for Vintage City as the Shadow Puppet, a new super-villain, steps into the Devil’s Trill’s shoes and wreaks havoc with his army of killer mannequins. Magnifiman, Calais, and Spirit Wire have their hands full, with the Puppet proving to be much more slippery than the Trill and leaving the good guys scrambling for clues. Work-related stress begins to creep into Eric’s relationship with Peter, which reaches the breaking point when Peter takes a new superhero under his wing, a fire-wielding teenage girl, whose awesome powers could make her a better match for Peter.
To make matters worse, there are the strange headaches, sleepwalking, and nightmares that haunt Eric, as well as the Devil’s Trill’s call for him to take his place as a super-villain sidekick. There’s also Brenda Whitaker, her mysterious past, and her sudden desire to help Eric as he struggles to figure himself out and make the right choice before his parents ask him again about his awful Geometry and Chemistry grades.
MASKS: ORDINARY CHAMPIONS (BOOK THREE)
Book Three of the Masks series follows Eric’s adventures as a newly-transformed supervillain sidekick. Taking advantage of Eric’s relationship with Peter, the Devil’s Trill uses him for a shield against the superheroes. In the meantime, new villains and a new, covert vigilante-like group appear, with a young hero with chameleon powers attempting to infiltrate the Trill’s hideout and help Eric.
Eric struggles with his conscience and schemes to turn the tables on the Trill, but his powers deteriorate. He grows more and more unstable and unsafe while the Trill’s henchmen appear to grow stronger and stronger, as though they were also subjected to the same manipulation that’s been used on Eric. As the Trill fights both the heroes and tries to assert his dominance over the new villains, Eric realizes that he doesn’t have much time left to set things right on his own, even if it costs him his life.