Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Death Mask by Graham Masterton

Synopsis From Back Cover:

He appeared as if from nowhere, brutally slashed a man and a young woman in an office elevator, then vanished again without a trace.  The woman survived and gave the police a detailed description of the killer's bizarre face, yet the police can find no sign of him anywhere.  It's as if he never existed.  But now he's killed again.  And again.  One woman holds the key to his terrifying secret...but how do you stop a murderer who isn't there?

With a body count well over 30 (maybe even over 40, I lost track) this has to be one of the bloodiest books I have read in a very long time, and I loved every minute of it.  I haven't read much of Graham Masterton's work, but of the few books I've read, I loved every single one.  This one is no different.

Molly is a gifted artist who has worked with the police in the past, sketching pictures of suspects and missing people.  Lately her work is coming off the page and appearing in the real world.  So far it's only happening with roses, but who knows what's next, or why and how it's happening.  So when she is contacted to do a sketch of the man who attacked the victims in the elevator, she is presented with a killer who has a very red face, almost mask like in appearance, and black slits for eyes.  He is then dubbed Red Mask and his reign of tear is just getting started.  Through twists and turns Molly, with the help of her psychic mother-in-law Sissy, must figure out a way to stop Red Mask before he slaughters more innocents, including Molly's young daughter.

Death Mask explores the idea of where art ends and life begins.  Did the Red Mask exist before he was sketched or did he jump off the page the way the roses did?  If he did jump off the page, then who attacked the first two victims in the elevator?  Why does two attacks happen at the very same time in two different locations in the city?  Molly and Sissy must explore all the questions and more to figure out where the Red Mask came from and why he's doing these horrendous acts of violence.

Now while this book is classified as horror, which is where it belongs, I think a good argument could be made for fans of mystery and urban fantasy to give this one a try.  There are strong elements of both genres that serve to explain, highlight, and serve as a catalyst for the bloodletting action.

If anyone is still reading this review by this point I would like to share something I found.  While I was wandering around all things Graham Masterton I came across a gem of a short story.  As most of you know I'm a big fan of "The Lady of Shalott" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.  It's my favorite poem and I'm addicted to all things associated with it, so when I found this short story, "Half-Sick of Shadows", that combines the story of that tragically doomed Lady and the Lamia legend, I almost fell out of my chair.  Please go read it yourself, I promise you won't be dissapointed.

This will qualify for two challenge, the Typically British Reading Challenge 2010 and the Thriller & Suspense Reading Challenge 2010 both of which are hosted by Carolyn of Book Chick City.


Anonymous said...

As a fellow Lady of Shalott fan, I had to check out that story - what a brilliant merging of the Lady and vampire myth!

Ryan said...

I'm glad you liked the story.

Michelle Stockard Miller said...

Hey long lost brother! I'm still in the land of the living. This was a great review. It sounds like a book I would like...you know my fondness for horror. I will definitely read that story when I get a chance. I too love the Lady of Shalott. Thanks for sharing with us. =O)