Thursday, October 24, 2013

Review: The Faceless One by Mark Onspaugh

The Faceless One is the debut novel by Mark Ospaugh that I will not soon forget. Jimmy Kalmaku is 7 years old when he first learns of The Faceless One. His Uncle Will is a shaman for their village in the lowlands along the Gulf of Alaska and is passing on his knowledge to Jimmy. The reason for this visit is to teach Jimmy the ways of the Tlingit people and how to fight this powerful evil entity should it escape the mask. For the sake of all humanity The Faceless One must remain imprisoned if there's any hope of surviving the chaos it can bring.

Like any good horror novel, the story must go on. What fun is it if this evil stayed holed up in some Alaskan cave? Over 65 years later a string of events leads Jimmy to believe that the power of the god inside the mask has escaped. He's been visited by Raven in his dreams and is sure that since he's the last resort of an extinct shaman lineage, he's on a mission to rid the world of this evil force.

The Faceless One includes a small host of characters who are all linked to each other. Although its obvious that all involved will at some point meet, Ospaugh brilliantly makes these characters real and worth taking the journey with. The conversations were real, the connections were real, and their reactions to situations were real. I can only remember one moment that I thought what is this guy thinking... no novel is complete without someone having their falling down when running moment.

Mark Ospaugh combines horror and native mythicism seemlessly. Eventually I found myself searching where the truth in the stories of Raven ended and Ospaugh's imajination began. The Faceless One manages to dodge every give away that it's a debut effort with great pacing, a fine attention to detail, and interesting plot without holes.

Overall, I loved reading The Faceless One and believe that lovers of horror and paranormal fiction will want to read this. Mark Ospaugh is a refreshing new voice in a genre that can seem so full of guts but no glory. I look forward to reading more by this author.  ****

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