By Graham Masterton
Red Mask kills again...and again...and again. He is seemingly unstoppable, and can appear and disappear at will. More than that, it seems that he can be in two places at once, slaughtering people simultaneously on opposite sides of the city.
Aided by her gypsy-like mother-in-law Sissy, Molly discovers the truth about Red Mask, and the real power that she wields with her craft.
I had never read anything by Graham Masterton (whom I ceaselessly call Graham MasterSON) before, so I wasn't sure what to expect. I chose this book because I've always enjoyed stories that involve artists (or authors) whose work either drives them mad, or who stay completely same while interacting with their work in insane ways. This book is an example of the latter.
I'm not typically a fan of new agey psychic phenomenon, so it really speaks volumes of Masterton's skills that it worked perfectly here. Sissy is psychic, she communicates with the dead, and almost constantly consults her deck of fortune cards to decipher the future. I think why it worked here is that it almost made sense. The cards didn't spell everything out, they merely offered hints via symbols and suggestions, and the same card, illustrated as they are with so many minor details, could conceivably mean different things depending on the situation. It was up to Sissy to read the cards correctly and determine what they were trying to tell her. Sometimes she succeeded, and sometimes she failed.
The book also makes great use of location. The story takes place in Cincinnati during cicada season, and the ever-present little critters make for a creepy backdrop to all the bloodshed.
It was a fast and fun read, full of bloody violence and colorful characters. I sped through it in record time, and I'll definitely be reading more from the author in the future. My only qualm is that the finale seemed a bit quick and easy when measured against everything that had already happened. Still, it's a minor complaint in the end.
I found out after the fact that this is the second book to feature the character of Sissy, but it stands so well on its own that I had no idea while I was reading.
Give it a go, hipsters!