cover image A Mask of Flies

A Mask of Flies

Matthew Lyons. Nightfire, $28.99 (464p) ISBN 978-1-250-88981-2

Lyons (A Black and Endless Sky) wows in this atmospheric horror novel. Burglar Anne Heller’s latest job—the armed robbery of a Colorado bank—goes south, leaving a security guard and a member of her crew dead. After taking a cop on the scene hostage, Anne and her wounded accomplice Jessup manage to reach the remote cabin Anne lived in with her mother over 20 years earlier. But it proves no refuge; Anne finds an old note from an aunt she doesn’t remember warning her that the cabin isn’t safe, and that “The Passage is everywhere.” Soon after, the misshapen creature with “glowing white eyes” that killed Anne’s mother returns, causing more bloodshed and forcing Anne to learn the truth about her past in order to stay alive. Evocative prose (the cabin is described as “a pile of crumbling logs and planks hanging unevenly around the doorframe like hunched shoulders astride a boxer’s battered face”) enhances a riveting noir plot populated by expertly shaded characters. Add in some Lovecraftian overtones, and this proves an addictive thrill ride. (Aug.)