Raimbault’s The Death Mask was one crazy ride. It was like walking down a lazy country road listening to a elder tell stories of their past, replete with the rambling and penchant for repetition.
Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy my gramps’ stories, rambling and all. Hey, everyone loves gossip. For a book, it was an unusual style, but it worked. My attention was engaged. I wanted to know what happened Amber, Paulette, and Michael.
The Death Mask is a story about love, loss, and obsession, with a side dish of betrayal. Tragedy strikes Michael’s family when his daughter is in a serious accident that leaves her crippled, and again when his wife passes. Though she firmly forbade it, Michael creates a death mask of his wife after she passes. If you don’t know what a death mask is, it’s a plaster casting of the deceased face that can be kept as a momento (creepy, no?), or used to create paintings or busts. One famous death mask is that of Dante Alighieri.
While third-person omniscient was a daring and unique choice, the story might have a stronger weave if redone from single, third person POV (Amber, Paulette), in alternating chapters. It would afford the opportunity to add more suspense to the story. This would also afford the chance for more showing, over the abundance of telling we are given. Don’t get me wrong! Telling over showing is a necessity of the POV chosen. On the subject of story mechanics, there were spelling and grammatical errors. A run-through by a proofer would be a grand idea.
Aspects of magick and the occult were briefly mentioned, but in an almost haphazard way. Amber had latent skills of magickal manifestation, but they were not used as much as they could have been. On a random side-note, Amber reminds me a little of Hannibal Lecter. She arranges ‘accidents’ for people who act like asshats. The ‘clairvoyance’ afforded by the death mask was poorly explained and utilised.
Mr Raimbault shows great promise as a writer. There are things to be fine-tuned. I’ll be on the lookout for more of the Mapleview series to see how he has grown!