Written by Kimberly Richards
Eternal Press, 2008
As part of a book tour we're participating in this month, we're reviewing
popular horror author Kim Richard's newest horror/thriller novel Death Mask,
released by Eternal Press.
Reviewed by Heidi Martinuzzi from Pretty Scary.
Someone is killing hot young boys in the local Metro Tonton Park (and it's
not me!). Bill, an unsatisfied computer tech with a lame job and lame
co-workers has one amazing girlfriend in Dixie. Dixie is not only hot, but
she's a salsa dancer who works out and even has hobbies, like pottery. When
Bill witnesses one of the local murders in the park, he suddenly becomes a
suspect as well. Bill has to balance dealing with his own investigation of
the murders with the police (who aren't much help) and with Dixie's
depressive disorder which has mysteriously come on again after being
dormant. It's not an easy time for Bill. Or Dixie.
We also get the killer's perspective in neat little segments so we can get
another point of view on everything that's going on. It fills in some
pieces, especially about the murders, and honestly does nothing to reveal
the identity of the killer. Of course, the killer is... Dah DUHN! It's a
secret. It's a twist, so I can't reveal it. Death Mask follows a traditional
thriller storyline complete with the very-necessary twist to accompany the
clearing of the name of the protagonist. What would a mystery thriller be
without a twist?
Dixie is a very complex character with deep emotional issues that prevent
her from overcoming her awkward depression. Bill's sense of inadequacy keep
him from getting farther along at work or making the most out of his life
with Dixie. It's a case of everyday problems getting in the way of people's
lives. Bill himself is completely unprepared to deal with a seemingly
dangerously intelligent killer who uses some kind of drug to kill their
victims and leaves their bodies in the park to be found by police. Bill
embarks on a near-obsessive path of researching serial-killers, the victims,
and the drug itself to a point that makes him a prime suspect in the eyes of
the police. It also doesn't do anything to improve his situation with Dixie,
who grows worse by the day. Little things that used to cheer her up no
longer move her. She has become increasingly irritable and unpredictable
What's also fascinating is that the people who do keep disappearing seem
somehow related to Bill's life. Like the punk kid who threatens him in line
at the fast food restaurant who later ends up face-down in the mud in the
park, or the mysteriously missing Denny from Bill's work, who was a liar and
an inconsistent friend. No wonder the police suspect Bill... but can he
prove that he's not the killer before someone he loves - someone like Dixie
- ends up dead?
Richard's work is classy and traditional, and lovers of thrillers will enjoy
and appreciate the traditional flow of her story in Death Mask. Importantly,
the imagery of the Death mask itself is used repeatedly in a very simple yet
artistic way throughout the novel; Dixie herself sculpts them in her pottery
workshop, and they appear again in an art gallery showing. The Death Mask,
an image cast of a person's face (often after death) and used in burial or
for a family's memory of that person, is a grim and macabre idea that works
perfectly for a theme as dastardly as gruesome murders in a park.
And yes you have your standard amounts of mental breakdown, dementia, and
murder mystery blood, so the depraved aspects of your soul will find
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