A Mask of Flies

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Pub Date Aug 06 2024 | Archive Date Aug 27 2024


In Matthew Lyons' pulse-pounding crime horror, A Mask of Flies, a criminal on the run after a failed heist must confront dark family secrets and demons from her past made flesh.


In the grisly aftermath of a botched bank heist, career criminal Anne Heller has no choice but to return to her family’s cabin – a secluded shack in Colorado’s San Luis Valley, and the site of her mother’s untimely death.

Along for the ride are Jessup, Anne’s badly wounded partner, and Dutch, the police officer she’s taken hostage. As they wait for help, Anne discovers strange relics from her mother’s past and begins to unfold the mystery of her childhood at the cabin.

Then Jessup goes missing, only to turn up dead. Anne and Dutch bury her friend, but that night, he comes back and knocks at the cabin door.

Not a dream, not a hallucination, but not exactly Jessup, either. Something else. Something wearing her friend’s face. Something hungry...

“An addictive thrill ride.” —Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

In Matthew Lyons' pulse-pounding crime horror, A Mask of Flies, a criminal on the run after a failed heist must confront dark family secrets and demons from her past made flesh.



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ISBN 9781250889812
PRICE $28.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 31 members

Featured Reviews

Dammmmmmmnnnn… that was one hell of a ride!

This book has it all! A botched bank robbery, a kidnapping, lots of murder, a super creepy human impersonator thing, a cult, lots of double crossing, a cute cat, and even just a very tiny little bit of romance!

It was awesome!!! I loved the writing style, the short chapters, the characters (both good and evil), and the wild adventure!

I felt like I went on an incredible journey through several states (and possibly other worlds/dimensions?) and man, it was smart, exciting, and suspenseful.

There is SO MUCH action in this book. There is just never a dull moment. Bank robberies, shoot-outs, fight scenes, fires, the hideous impersonator, and breaking and entering. It’s just one thing after another, after another. It was really hard to put this book down, because I always wanted to see what would happen next.

I don’t think there is one thing I would change about this book. It was absolutely perfect!

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A bank robbery gone sideways, a friend who's hanging on for his life, and a kidnapped cop turns Anne's world upside down. On the run and knowing they've been betrayed from the inside, she goes on the run to a cabin. The same cabin where her mother died when she was six.

Despite being wanted and despite her betrayers chasing her down looking for the money, something much more horrific awaits her. Something supernatural, hungry, and something that smells her blood anywhere she goes.

This is an awesome high octane, action filled, and bloody novel. The author mixes crime with horror and the narrative leaves you breathless. There are twists, turns, and even more terrors around every corner as the body count rises and the body parts fly.

Anne, despite being an almost life long criminal, is a sympathetic and deep character. You can't help but to feel her pain as events from the past which she can't remember come full force into the present, further complicating an already harrowing situation.

I was completely into the narrative and read it in two sittings because I had to know what was really going on. This is a novel I highly recommend.

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I really enjoyed the horror element to this book, it had that crime feel that I was expecting and worked well overall in the horror genre. The characters felt like realistic people and I was invested in what was happening to them. I thought it was a scary concept for someone to wear my dead friends face. Matthew Lyons does a fantastic job in writing this and had that horror that I was looking for.

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A Mask Of Flies
By: Matthew Lyons
Pub Date- Aug.6, 2024 TorNightFire
This Book! What an absolutely insane, gritty, violent, & visceral story. Part Crime Horror, part isolation cult. The past has teeth and Anne Heller is about to find out how sharp the past can bite. A devious bank heist gone wrong thrusts us into the utter chaos that is Anne Hellers life in the aftermath….crew members dead and missing, a buried past that comes back with a vengeance and a doomsday isolation cult that has been waiting in the shadows. This was a crazy, intense and bloody read that I could have never guessed what was coming next! I absolutely could not put this book down and devoured it! The Past Has Teeth and Anne Heller is the Dentist!

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This horror book is really good, I had really a good time reading it ,It has a good plot, if you like horror, crime and cult this is definitely a must read.

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Whew. This book is a ride, y'all. Bank heist? Check. Monster? Check. Cult? Check check check. This kept me guessing from start to finish, I never knew whether I was about to encounter a shootout or a bloodthirsty attack.

This novel was brutal, beautiful, horrifying and touching, sometimes all on the same page. This was one of those reads that kept me engrossed, sometimes I forgot that I was reading and it was like watching a movie play out in my head. From Anne to Travis to Darlene, every character jumped off the page. And don't even get me started on Murph, what a badass little feline.

I loved this book, it was a true portrait of grief and healing and tackling demons from the past. There are two reasons I've taken it down half a star. First, sometimes the whiplash of going from crime to supernatural was a bit overwhelming. Second (and I know how stupid this is), multiple times I wondered "where is the cats litter box? Where is he pooping?" And maybe that's just the cat lady in me, but every time I thought about it, it bothered me.

This book was fantastic. Do yourself a favor and go pick it up, you won't regret it. By the end, you too will be saying "All hail Anne Heller, our Lady of Perpetual Destruction!''

This review was rounded up from 4.5 to 5 stars for NetGalley.

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I enjoy crime thrillers that have strong supernatural horror elements and this was a perfect blend of both of those, equally plot and character driven this was reminiscent of Kings The Outsider, the realistic crime drama element adds a touch of realism to the cosmic horror, a visceral read with plenty of graphic violence and body horror, fans of the spooky and eldritch will rejoice in this story that felt like it was straight from a 80s horror movie

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Leaving five stars --- I’m not well-read in the genre (very new in my horror reading journey) and am unable to contextualize the expected audience reaction.

The cover is disturbing (in a good way), the premise is awesome, but I didn’t find myself personally engaged in the writing style. It was surprisingly flowery for a thriller, but I realize Lovecraft (which is like pinnacle of horror?) is also extremely flowery in writing, so I think it’s leaning that way.

Thank you to NetGalley and Tor for the ARC.

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Once A Mask of Flies hits the bookshops it would be a major injustice if we do not start hearing serious chat and buzz around the writing of Matthew Lyons in the horror community. I read both his earlier novels The Night Will Find Us (2020) and A Black and Endless Sky (2022) but believe this latest to be his strongest work to date, which fully deserves to be a breakout hit. Equally impressive is how different his three novels are; his debut sees a group of kids being menaced by an ancient presence in a remote forest and in his second two siblings have a nightmare inducing road trip across Nevada with threats everywhere.

A Mask of Flies seamlessly blends crime, heist, action, road novel, religious cults and ancient supernatural horror into a brutal intoxicating cocktail. It also does so with incredible skill; the clash of hardboiled pulsating shootout action merging with a shapeshifting monster (all on the same page) was unmatchable yet, within the parameters of the story, totally believable. Once this book began to motor my eyes were nailed to the page and she sheer level of brutality on offer was awesome. Faces are shot off, brains are spilled, friendships broken, a huge body count mounts, limbs are shattered and that’s before we even get to the shapeshifting monster.

The ferocious action plays out in the remote, mountainous and smalltown areas of Colorado and opens with a gunfight which is cool enough to close out a Sam Peckinpah western epic. In the grisly aftermath of a botched bank heist, career criminal Anne Heller is double crossed by another gang member, trying to save her wounded friend and accomplice, has no choice but to return to her family’s abandoned cabin – a secluded shack in Colorado’s San Luis Valley, and the site of her mother’s untimely death many years before.

The scenes with Anne on the run, hiding out in motels, avoiding police patrols, plugging wounds, and dodging nosy public as her face is plastered all over the television news made for fantastic reading. Truly desperate, she ends up at the old cabin and awakens an ancient force which has unexplained connections to her childhood. To say Anne was damaged would be a huge understatement, and the flashbacks to her childhood and the death of her mother give a good reason why. Considering Anne would not think twice about blowing somebody away (which she does) she is an incredibly sympathetic character and I loved how she went to any lengths to protect her pet cat. Matthew Lyons puts his main character through a metaphorical meatgrinder, but Anne keeps on swinging and I was cheering along with every broken tooth, fractured arm, stab wound, and punctured lung. She makes some terrible choices, but on many of these occasions the options were non-existent.

The creature, a shapeshifter for want of a better term, drifts in and out of the action and I did wonder how good this book would have been without the monster. Still pretty damned powerful I would say. It reminded me of the T2 in Terminator 2: Judgement Day, totally unrelenting, ruthless and with one sole objective, get Anne Heller. Like the T2, the monster even has the ability to wear the faces of others and soon Anne cannot trust anybody. This is all beautifully set to the backdrop of Colorado ghost towns, dangerous pitstops, and unpredictable weather, whilst being hunted by the other members of the gang looking for the cash. Oh, and don’t forget the shapeshifter.

I do not want to say much about the origins of the creature as it heads into spoiler territory, however, Anne has very little memory of the horrific events which led to the death of her mother until she finds an old video cassette in her family shack. After watching the film, things start coming back, the hunt is on and the cult come knocking. A Mask of Flies is littered with memorable characters and set pieces; there were two shootouts in a diner and a police station which were as good action sequences as anything I have read.

After completing A Mask of Flies I was exhausted and felt like I had been repeatedly punched in the face. This was a gory, visceral, pulsating and exhilarating novel and I love the way in which the author brings to live these remote and dangerous parts of Colorado blending crime and supernatural horror to near perfection.

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