The Boy In The Skull Mask
By Justin Wilson
A New Orleans patrol officer is found dead in an alley. When Detective Chavez and her partner Jackson Hyde start the investigation, they soon discover an abandoned building and more dead bodies, killed in a horrible fashion. Suspicion turns to a local crime lord but then the case turns bizarre. Chavez is attacked by creatures she can’t fathom or explain. Enter into the picture Zero Ozawa, monster hunter.
What better place for creepy supernatural stuff than New Orleans? There’s cops and monsters and strange individuals and a crime boss. Mix with a bit of a police procedural murder and you have a plot that titillates.
Renee Chavez: New Orleans detective, Latin American, short black hair, brown eyes, divorced, parents dead
Zero Ozawa: 16, blue eyes
Jackson Hyde: Chavez’s partner, former Boston cop, homosexual,
Grace Marshall: Medical examiner, short black hair, has a degree in criminal psychology
Thom Braddock: New Orleans Captain of Homicide, graying stubble for hair, dark eyes, strong physique, has a son
Marcus O’Mara: detective, smokes, steel colored eyes, black, lean, bald
Alex Roan: gangster, owns a nightclub, tanned, green eyes, brown hair
Michael Strauss: reverend, green eyes, drives a 2007 Volvo
Too many characters have green eyes. The cops don’t ‘feel’ like cops. Zero wears a mask and cops would never let the kid wear the mask while in interrogation.
Most of the conversations are okay but some of the bad guy monster lines are B-movie. Alex comes off with the best voice.
Tag lines that shouldn’t be tag lines. In one instance the tag line ‘he said’ was used in one bit of dialogue and ‘he said’ was used in the next bit. I had to go back to figure out who said what. ‘He said’ can’t be used twice in a row without some identifier.
Some profanity. From the beginning (the prologue), I discovered missing words, misspelled words, and incorrect words (‘are’ instead of ‘were’; ‘met’ instead of ‘meet’), tense problems. Within a couple paragraphs the author, on three occasions uses ‘he’ to denote a person but then uses ‘their’ or ‘them’. Their and them are plural and while a lot of authors do this, it isn’t correct. Use ‘him’.
Punctuation problems. Unnecessary words: dark skin complexion. ‘Complexion’ isn’t needed.
I also never had a real feel for the dark and mysterious city that New Orleans can be. More details are needed to bring the reader into the scene.
Some of the action scenes are difficult to follow because of the switch in POV. Sometimes in a single paragraph. Again, like dialogue, the use of ‘he’ gets confusing when the POV shifts.
All in all a lot of weak writing with numerous mistakes. I found it difficult to get into the story because my eye and brain kept running into errors. They cut into any enjoyment of a story.