Reviews

Review: Death Unmasked by Rick Sulik

A reincarnated evil is stalking the women of Houston. With each murder, the madman quotes an excerpt from the Oscar Wilde poem, “The Ballad of Reading Gaol.” Selected verses from ‘The Ballad’ are also interwoven throughout the story. A huge smokestack belching smoke and a ragged flea market double-breasted wool coat and an old antique picture frame with the Warrior’s Creed, bring the distant past back to haunt Houston Homicide Detective, Sean Jamison. With those catalysts, Jamison knows who he was in a past life – Emil – and that he lost the only woman he could ever love in Emil’s time. Searching for his reincarnated mate becomes Jamison’s raison d’être as he and fellow detectives scour Houston for a brutal serial killer. When Jamison finds his mate she doesn’t recognize him, nor can she recall a past life as his wife. His efforts to reclaim her are derailed when he discovers the same fiend who took her from him in the past is stalking her again. The memory of timeless love drives Jamison’s dogged search for a serial killer determined to finish what he started decades earlier. Each clue brings Jamison closer to unmasking his old nemesis. Tenacious police work, lessons learned in the past, and intuition may be the only weapons he has in preventing history from repeating itself.

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Song For This Book: Mary in the Morning by Al Martino
Why? When songs come up in the book, you have to include them!

2/5

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

There are some things in literature that you just don’t come across too often. And when you do happen across these things, you have to stop, rub your eyes, and do a double take to make sure you actually saw what you thought you saw, before picking up the book and giving it a go. That was the case with this particular book. A murder mystery that involves reincarnation? Even if I wasn’t interested in either of those things, I’d probably need to read it, because when’s the next time something like that is going to come along?

I will admit that I skimmed more of this book than I read it. I found it unnecessarily wordy, all over the place plot-wise, and off topic on a regular basis. But at the same time, I was intrigued enough that I couldn’t just stop reading, so I stuck it out to the end to see what happened. Which is something in and of itself.

The Good Points of Death Unmasked:

The way that the reincarnation idea is worked into this story is really interesting, and definitely one of the more unique ideas I’ve come across. It’s a fresh new twist on murder mysteries and police dramas, and it was a great change from the other books I’ve read from those two.

The cast of characters in this book are fascinating, and not just because of the reincarnation idea. We don’t get a ton from them because of the focus being on the murder and the other aspects of the book, but it’s enough to get a good sense of who they are, and how they all relate to each other.

I won’t say too much and ruin it, but the ending and how it all comes together is super cool. It wasn’t what I expected going into this book, but it was interesting how the author pulled all the murder mystery details and the reincarnation details together in the end.

The Downsides of Death Unmasked:

Holy purple prose, batman! This book has so many metaphors and similes and unnecessarily fancy explanations that it actually takes away from the story and makes it harder than necessary to read. Even when the characters talk, it’s overly fancy. The story also seems to meander a lot, and gets off topic or spends too long on information unnecessary to the plot.

This book really needed an indication of time and location. I was completely lost for the first couple of chapters because I thought it was supposed to be in modern day Houston, and it definitely wasn’t. I can make a good guess, but I still couldn’t tell you for certain what country or year the early chapters are set in. And then we do get to Houston, but there’s no divide or break or indication that things have changed. It made it tricky to follow.

This is a 100% preference thing, but I wasn’t a fan of the poetry and additions between chapters. Some people like them. I don’t, so I don’t read them and it just means more page flipping and distraction before the story continues.

This may just be me and my weird ideas of what’s good romance, but the romance and love stories in this book are so bizarre. The main one is over the top romantic, and there’s a weird attraction that comes completely out of left field to throw you for a loop as well. But this may just be me.

This book spends a lot of time not on dealing with the murder mystery and talking about everything else that may or may not relate. It was easy to forget that the synopsis focuses so much on the murder mystery, because a lot of the book is focused on so many other things.

All in all, an absolutely fascinating idea, but the writing and the way it was told just didn’t work for me. I loved the ending, and how the author weaved reincarnation into the story, and think it was absolutely brilliant. I am definitely glad that I stuck it through to the end. If you like unique murder mysteries, reincarnation or other such ideas, or fancy writing, you’ll likely enjoy Death Unmasked!

Find Death Unmasked on Book Depository

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