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Minireview: Mask of the Other, by Greg Stolze

Mask of the Other is a new ebook-only piece of fiction from Greg Stolze. I picked it up as soon as I saw it, since, well… Greg is a good writer, I was in New Zealand and thinking about what to read next, and the price was right. I’m glad I did, it’s actually a really good book. It’s also a Cthulhu mythos book, though it doesn’t directly advertise that fact.

The book consists of three separate strands, which slowly weave together into a coherent whole. It is also not told in strict linear order, so it’s a good idea to pay attention to the year numbers which precede each chapter. The book starts off with the main protagonist group, a squad of U.S. soldiers in 1991 back-country Iraq, caught in the middle of a surprise attack with some extremely weird factors thrown into the mix. From there it jumps to the other narratives: 1974 and coastal Cyprus, where something came out of the sea, something unkillable. And 1988, when a rock band vanished while shooting a video at a long-abandoned island town. I don’t want to describe the plot much more than that, but I will say this: it’s awesome for once to read about people facing the Mythos with actual combat tactics and modern heavy firepower. No, that doesn’t help quite as much as you might think, but it’s still a different ballgame from the usual “scared civilians with shotguns”.

It’s a good tale, and overall a very solid piece of modern(ish) Cthulhu fiction. Recommended.

…and hey, any book which starts off with a chapter named “Saddam’s Got a Death Ray” can’t be all that bad.

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