Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Review Week - The Face in the Mirror by Donald White

In a bold move, Donald White, a relatively new author on the scene, opens THE FACE IN THE MIRROR with a purposefully badly written scene. The work is about a writer, and the opening paragraph is a poorly written piece by that author. Does it pay off?

A short story of a ghostly seduction which drives a man to madness. David is a struggling writer, struggling to write erotica. But in the darkness of his room one night, a vision of beauty appears behind him in the mirror. Her name is Melanie and with her appearance comes a series of changes in David's life. But who is she? And why can she only be seen in the mirror? Is she a lover, or a dangerous apparition? Stare into the glass, and you will see the truth standing right behind you.

The immediate issue that can be gleaned by having such a first paragraph is that a potential reader may open Amazon's 'Look Inside' feature, read the first few lines and dismiss the story without realizing the intent of the opening. It's a brave move.

So, obviously I got through that, so what of it?

With it beginning with a writer struggling, I related. This writer is troubled whilst writing erotica. (Although I did think the inclusion of him going to watch a porn movie as a little strange. I don't think that's where erotica writers get their ideas from, and may not be impressed to think that others do. But I digress.) The frustration he feels is very real to me, as a writer. It is a well written frustration.

Once the 'mirror apparition' appears the story becomes a supernatural...well, story. It's listed under horror and ghosts. Ghosts it is, horror, not so much. It is however interesting, if not too short. 

It is unexplored. 

Whilst it holds together as a short, the roller-coaster ride the protagonist goes on could be longer, perhaps should be longer. I was left with questions that were not left plot threads, mind, but wonders about the world I was reading in. White as always closes the plot nicely. 

It is not a bad follow up to White's 'Lady Killer', but I feel that is a stronger story - and a better demonstration of what he can do.

You can find Face in the Mirror at Amazon US, or perhaps Lady Killer, if you haven't read it...

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