Rafael Chandler writes novels (The Astounding Antagonists, Hexcommunicated), video games (SOCOM 4, Rainbow Six: Lockdown), and table top role-playing games (ViewScream, Pandemonio). He’s a metalhead, kaijuphile, gamer, and gorehound.
Mask Beneath Her Face is his latest novel; a brutal, nasty, visceral and most importantly, fantastic read.
In the 1980’s serial killers terrorised America slashing their way through teenagers at parties, college campuses & lakeside cabins. Bobbi Metzger is a survivor of one of these events. When she was sixteen, a killer slaughtered her sister, boyfriend & friends. Bobbi survived but has lived in fear ever since. You see her serial killer wasn’t alive in the first place and continues to hunt her.
Bobbi isn’t alone though. There are others who have survived attacks from deadly serial killers too. People that she now, 30 years later, calls friends. Each obey the rules to ensure they don’t have to face what scares them until a new killer starts a spree. One that is closer to home.
Mask Beneath Her Face is a thrilling read, one that is impossible to put down. The bloody events, the likable characters, the horrific serial killers, the 80’s vibe…this is a story that you’ll remember. It’s such an accomplished piece of work, one that takes several threads & ties them all together perfectly.
It embodies so much of what made 80’s horror so good, in particular the imagination & inventiveness of the villains. However, Chandler smartly keeps the ‘deathless’ ones out of the limelight for a large part of the story. This adds to their mystery, it makes them more terrifying & their unrelenting need to kill a truly brilliant read. You’ll be dreaming about killers like Skingraft for a long time afterwards.
Strong villains would be nothing without strong heroes/heroines & the ones we get here stand out. A small amount ensures we get well-developed characters & well-written backstories. You’ll care about each & every one of them.
The amount blood & gore throughout Mask Beneath Her Face is shocking but it never feels like overkill. Descriptive & graphic, each time violence is meted out it has a point. Chandler’s style is reminiscent of the great Clive Barker. In that you can picture every slice, every bone that snaps, every eye that is gouged or every heart that is ripped out.
One of the best novels I’ve read in years. Check it out below especially if you’re a gorehound.
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Mask Beneath Her Face (Rafael Chandler)
The Final Score - 10/10