I was asked to write a free and honest review for the novella Behind Her Mask was Death by Aria E. Maher. Sadly, I was unable to finish this review before the publication, however, the good news is that if you’re intrigued then you won’t have to wait to purchase this story as it is available now!
Behind Her Mask was Death is set in a fictional world and revolves around the mystery of the murder of a girl. The protagonist, Devon, however is in a rather unfortunate position as he is trying to solve the mystery in order to exonerate himself.
Intrigued yet? Well, it is a fairly familiar format for a murder mystery, a party has been thrown and the suspects could be any one who was invited. One of the problems with this is how short the novella is, leaving little room to build a motive for any of the characters. Sadly, this meant that I also had little time to develop any real feeling for the characters meaning that, well, I wasn’t overly bothered about the outcome. It also meant that I wasn’t able to try and solve the mystery for myself (which is my favourite feature of a murder mystery) because I knew so little about the possible suspects.
Okay, so that was a little negative but don’t worry, I will be getting to the positives! I hate to mention (but I feel I must) the over use of ‘very’ in the first half of the novella to emphasise feeling or description. But this annoyed me…very much! Also, I found the juxtaposing of this fantasy world with a sense of normalcy in the mention of Devon’s lockers in high school rather jarring (but that just might be me!), a minor complaint really. So, here comes the positives…
The fictional world in which you find yourself is where the genuine intrigue is found. Sadly you only get glimpses of this world as it is merely the backdrop for the story. There were moments of delight in the writing and language and much of this was used in correlation with the world we are invited in to. Although I found the plot a little basic, the mystery of the novel lay in the place beyond, that was what I was intrigued to find out more about. Of the characters, Daniel Marks is the one I was most interested in and sadly he appeared only briefly in the story. I wanted to know more about ‘The Other Side’ an I would have been more than happy for the novella to begin at chapter seven and carve a different story from the raw material we know so little about.
Perhaps this was only the beginning, just a simple introduction into a fantasy world which I believe has its own story to tell. Despite any of the negatives I have touched upon, this is a short read and easily consumed in an afternoon. The story is held together with a well written narrative which although maybe not as mysterious as you might hope, it is enjoyable enough to take you through to the end.