Friday, January 17, 2014

REVIEW: MIRROR by Graham Masterton

Title: Mirror
Author: Graham Masterton
Publisher: Hammer Books
Publication Date: July 7, 2011
Genre: Horror
Reviewed by: Angie Edwards
My rating: 5/5


It is said that a mirror can trap a person's soul

Martin Williams is a broke, two-bit screenwriter living in Hollywood, but when he finds the very mirror that once hung in the house of a murdered 1930s child star, he happily spends all he has on it. He has long obsessed over the tragic story of Boofuls, a beautiful and successful actor who was slaughtered and dismembered by his grandmother. However, he soon discovers that this dream buy is in fact a living nightmare; the mirror was not only in Boofuls house, but witness to the death of this blond-haired and angelic child, which in turn has created a horrific and devastating portal to a hellish parallel universe. When Martin's landlord loses his grandson it is soon apparent that the mirror is responsible. But if a little boy has gone into the mirror, what on earth is going to come out?


Somebody once defined Armageddon as all the most distressing things that you can imagine happening to you, all at once, forever. To me, that sounds worse than the end of the world.

I will never look in, or at, mirrors the same way again, that’s for sure. One of my book addict friends and I decided to challenge each other every month by recommending a favorite book to each other which we then HAVE to read and finish that same month. We’ll be doing this for a year. So, for January, she challenged me to read this book by Graham Masterton, and though I had my doubts whether I was going to like this book (as it was published in 1988), I am happy to say that she made me read an absolutely brilliant book!

Mirror is old-school horror at its best. It reminded me of Dean Koontz and Stephen King’s earlier works. It’s a no-holds-barred story with a typical eighties horror-movie-like feel to its in your face chillingly disturbing content. Do you remember how terrifying that little boy was in the eighties horror movie, The Omen? Well Boofuls, the seven-year-old antagonist in this novel makes that boy look like a Catholic Church altar boy. There is nothing good about Boofuls. He’s evil incarnate. I’m sure I don’t need to say more about him because everyone knows how creepy a possessed child can be. But, Boofuls isn’t really possessed, per se. He is something a lot more nightmarish. He’s the thing that came out of the mirror, after something – or someone – had to go into the mirror. The author cleverly incorporates the biblical numeral 144 000 and Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass into the theme of this story. Over and over again it subtly begs the question: do you really know the real you? Because how you see yourself in the mirror, is not necessarily a true reflection of the real you. The real you might actually be on the other side of the mirror image that is reflected back at you. And believe me, that may be something you might not want to see.

It seems to me now like a nightmare...the land beyond the looking-glass, in which each man takes on his true form.
- Lewis Carroll

Apart from the theme that gets you thinking, I loved that the plot moved at a breakneck pace. The author doesn’t beat around the bush with unnecessary details and tedious explanations to fluff up the story. Everything happens so rapidly I couldn’t finish this book in one sitting as some of the scenes are quite intense. Characters who meet their demise, die bloody and violent deaths which, in my opinion, makes this an unsuitable read for younger or sensitive readers. Nonetheless, Mirror is the perfect book for hardcore fans of horror and those who enjoy stories that would require them to think outside the box.

Not much is done by way of character development though, but still I found myself caring enough about the characters to be saddened when something dreadful happens to them. Chapter by chapter the suspense intensifies until it reaches a fiery finale. Even though Mirror had me terrified to sleep with the lights off at night, it was a hugely satisfying read that kept me up way past my bedtime. One man’s obsession about making it big in Hollywood, how his life is turned upside down by his fixation with a child star from the late nineteen-thirties, and the things he discovers about himself once he sets out to save another child’s life, had me turning the pages frenziedly.

I’m so glad I was challenged to read this book, because I probably wouldn’t have picked it up on my own. With this darkly captivating tale of an oncoming apocalypse, Graham Masterton won himself another admirer. Seriously, horror fans, read this book. You haven’t met evil until you’ve met seven-year-old Boofuls.



Graham Masterton's debut as a horror author began with The Manitou in 1976, a chilling tale of a Native American medicine man reborn in the present day to exact his revenge on the white man. It became an instant bestseller and was filmed with Tony Curtis, Susan Strasberg, Burgess Meredith, Michael Ansara, Stella Stevens and Ann Sothern.

Altogether Graham has written more than a hundred novels ranging from thrillers (The Sweetman Curve, Ikon) to disaster novels (Plague, Famine) to historical sagas (Rich and Maiden Voyage - both appeared in the New York Times bestseller list). He has published four collections of short stories, Fortnight of Fear, Flights of Fear, Faces of Fear and Feelings of Fear.

He has also written horror novels for children (House of Bones, Hair-Raiser) and has just finished the fifth volume in a very popular series for young adults, Rook, based on the adventures of an idiosyncratic remedial English teacher in a Los Angeles community college who has the facility to see ghosts.

He and his wife Wiescka live in a Gothic Victorian mansion high above the River Lee in Cork, Ireland.

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