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Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite
Headless is an enthralling tale of mystery and horror and is the first book of Tristram Lowe's The Ghost and the Mask series. Akio is a professional photographer working for the Tokyo-based newspaper Dainichi Daily. All he wants is to get into the good books of his colleague and writer Masami Sato and accompany her on her next case. After distinguishing herself in a male-dominated workforce, Masami delves deep into a puzzling murder investigation involving a serial killer who slices off the heads of his victims with a katana. Circumstances put Akio and Masami together, and the duo travels to neighboring Kofu, where they learn some distressing facts about the killer. As they find themselves marked by him, they discover their only hope for salvation lies with a kendo master named Miyahara.
A delicious blend of murder-mystery and horror mixed with ancient Japanese folklore, Headless grabs you from the first page and refuses to let go till the end. Tristram Lowe weaves a contemporary supernatural tale influenced by Japanese mythology that feels authentic and absorbs you in a way that makes you keep turning the pages in anticipation of what is to come. The characters are quirky and likable, and the dialogue feels quite often dripped in sarcastic wit. Akio's absolute devotion to Masami felt endearing and hilarious in equal measure and the banter between the two of them were some of my favorite parts of the book. Anyone itching for a well-written supernatural murder-mystery with some swashbuckling samurai action should check Headless out.