A mask that possesses and entices its victims to kill is an original idea from Mr Woodhead but still has his signature touch of locality, with its harsh environment, and humongous amounts of gore!
Described as macabre and surreal IW definitely manages to do that, fiction?, I bl**dy hope so!
He throws the reader back in time at the start of the book to an unsolved/uncaught serial killer and his intimate thoughts and feelings whilst in the midst of a brutal kill. During flashbacks IW shows describes his original discovery of the mask and how it changes him, all with that intimate feeling of getting to know the killer and almost have empathy with him, almost.
However, if you don't pay attention at the beginning you will get lost, as the plot is intricate with a very fast pace that switches between characters, times and locations – I found this a bit disorientating several times and needed to back read, so this will either add to your sense of “hall of mirrors horror” or just confuse you!
The rest of the book focuses on a group of friends and how their dares lead them to spend the night in the “haunted serial killer house”. IW then chucks in a few odd ball characters and they all end up in this nightmare together as the horror begins and things go bump and splat in the night.
This story has an element of thriller about it, not totally pure horror, as there is a good amount of hunting down victims and guessing who the killer is.
However, with so many characters I found it hard to keep them separated at times and as none of them were very likeable I was not very sympathetic towards them!
It was a short book too; maybe three hours in total to read, BUT give yourself those hours as you won’t be able to put it down for the relentless onslaught of this book, there is no real rest point.
Throughout the book I had a weird sense of de ja vu, IW really plays on that carnival “house of mirrors” element which had me feeling squeaky and shaky with disorientation.
Left on an ambiguous note, sequel Mr Woodhead?? Me thinks your audience demands it.
On a final note, it is mentioned in several reviews that the first copies do contain some errors, however, even with updates there were errors, but this is an editing problem not an author issue.