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A MATTER OF DEGREES
by Alex Marcoux
Haworth Press, June 2006
299 pages
$19.95
ISBN: 1560236116


Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Rachel Addison, a field reporter for Over the Edge, a TV news show, is researching a story about politicians and secret societies like the Masons. A fellow reporter, Steve Mercer, warns her off the story, but she ignores him. Rachel drives up to Nyack to follow a tip on the story but her contact never shows. The brakes of her car fail on highway 9W back to New York, but she manages to stop in the driveway of an estate. She learns that Steve is a Mason.

Rachel's desk catches fire with all her research, just as she learns that a prominent member of a secret society has ben killed in his bed by a King Cobra. We also learn that Rachel's father had been a Freemason. When she was 11, he had gone to DC and died while crossing a bridge. She starts developing material that proves that the shootings of JFK, Lincoln, and Reagan were Masonic conspiracies.

Jessie Mercer is a novelist whose life seems to follow her novels. She is also working on a story about a TV anchor who saves the world from secret societies. Jessie's dreams appear to show her life in Ancient Egypt. With her partner about to leave on an extended singing tour of Europe, Jessie decides she will spend most of the next year on her new novel.

Then she learns that Steve Mercer, her brother, has apparently committed suicide just after returning from ceremonies inducting him as 33rd degree Mason. Jessie goes to New York where she finds that Rachel, who is researching secret societies, had been given the anchor position just before Steve's death.

The basic story is fascinating, if a bit paranoid. The characters are engaging. The fact that Jessie and Taylor are lesbians is not essential -- they could be a committed heterosexual couple for all the difference it would make to this tale.

Also, Marcoux could have used a better editor. She goes on and on about the different degrees of Masonry and the tortures inflicted on the would-be members. The regressions to life in Ancient Egypt are well done. All in all, the writing is clean and the basic tale is engrossing but who cares about all the Masonic detail. As a footnote, the typeface is very clean and the print seems to be larger than usual, which is a very good thing for older eyes.

Reviewed by Barbara Franchi, May 2006

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)


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