The protagonist, Jackie Trumpleton, is a strong-willed woman with a take-charge personality who considers four women she has vacationed with abroad over the last twenty-some odd years as associates, not girlfriends. They are Bernadette Petersen, who attended the same elementary school in New Orleans; Laura Kennedy, a marcher she met during a women’s convention in Philadelphia; Nadine Douglas, while sitting alone sipping a glass of wine in the bar of a Chicago hotel; and Ruby Tapscott, while on a single’s cruise throughout Europe. This unusual relationship works well for all of them because they only interact–no phone calls, no emails, no snail mail, no texts–when they vacation together annually, which is always preplanned at the end of the previous vacation. The women enjoy their time together and abide by omertà since the vacations are consumed with days of confidential storytelling; unconstrained drinking; the disclosure of long-held secrets; and the divulging of past, present, and future sexual adventures.
When the women’s bucket list desire to visit South Africa changes unexpectedly, Jackie invites them to Washington, DC. But something bizarre is happening in the nation’s capital and it has made the national news. Over the span of a month, middle-aged African-American men are disappearing, without a trace, at an alarming rate in the metropolitan area.
The Arlington, Alexandria, Prince George’s County, and DC Police Departments, including the FBI, are stumped and have many questions that need immediate answers in order to solve the mystery. Are the disappearances foul play? Are the men’s wives involved? Are the men’s philandering ways the culprit? Did the men take off of their own volition? Are the men dead or alive? And, the most pressing question of all–where are these men? Speculations run rampant because adult men, as statistics show, are not kidnapped in the U.S. unless robbery is involved. There is no hint of a ransom.
After a month, the FBI finally catches a break via its tip line from an unexpected source.The call is a major breakthrough, the kind of clue they had been hoping would come forth. The pieces of the puzzle start falling into place and the ensuing revelation shocks the nation, especially the Arlington Police Department who was at the forefront of the investigation.
When the dust settles, everyone is surprised, except the one who wears the elaborate mask.
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