Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Thoughts on Death Mask by Graham Masterton

Graham Masterson's Death Mask is a bullet train of a supernatural murder mystery. I listened to the audiobook, but I can tell that this is one of those stories that could easily be read in a single sitting with red eyes when you know you ought to be sleeping so you won't be a complete zombie at work the following day.

Confession time: I have never read a Graham Masterton book. I tried Famine once, but couldn't get into it. It felt kind of bloated, like so many of the 80s tomes, as if his editor said, "flesh it out, old boy! More pages! The readers want MORE PAGES!" In Death Mask there's not one wasted word. This story is tight and you are not going to be able to figure out the twists. The story starts like this: There's an artists who discovers that she has this bizarre ability to paint a rose that suddenly appears in her garden like a miracle.Meanwhile a group of people in an elevator are slaughtered by a knife-wielding madman. One person survives. As more elevator massacres occur in town, the artist (who works as a freelance sketch artist for the police) and her gifted mother-in-law (she can read tea leaves and cards and communicate with the dead, etc.) go down a strange path to discover who is behind the murders and why no one can find them.

Easily one of the best books I've read in a while. Had me guessing the entire time, and I was wrong. If you can predict where this story is going, you're a closer reader than I. The prose is effortless the way a Joe Lansdale novel feels, seemingly simple, but deceptively lethal. If you're going to start this one, be prepared to have the time to finish it, otherwise it will eat at you between readings. Novels like this are the type I love to read, and I hope to be able to write someday.

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