A composer’s liaison with a neighbor leads him on a journey filled with gruesome sights he alone can see.
He may not be Mozart, but Gideon Lake’s movie themes and advertising jingles bring him a level of comfort the Austrian composer never enjoyed. He can even afford an apartment near St. Luke’s Place in Greenwich Village. The best feature of his new digs is his hot downstairs neighbor Kate Solway, who comes to the door in search of her cat Malkin but swiftly lands in Gideon’s bed. The sex is so incredible that Gideon agrees to meet Kate at the Stockholm apartment of her friends Axel and Tilda Westerlund. Their children, Elsa and Felicia, are a little strange, appearing and vanishing repeatedly, and there are ear-piercing screams that no one but Gideon seems to hear. Still, Kate persuades Gideon to follow her to London, where David and Helena Philips’s flat is as filled with apparitions as the Westerlunds’, including the sound of their son Giles’ tortured pleas and the sight of Helena in the garden consumed by flames. A further jaunt to the Cesarettis’ palazzo in Venice provokes similar visions, culminating in Gideon’s discovery of his hosts Enrico and Salvina hanging from the chandelier—and their disappearance minutes later. Kate maintains that the meaning of these marvels will become clear in due time, but that Gideon, with the sensitivity born of his music, must discover it for himself.
Masterton (House of Bones, 2008, etc.) provides scant clues to help Gideon make his discovery—only relentless repetition of the same shocking scenario.