Death Mask by Kathryn Fox
In Kathryn’s own words
‘Death Mask deals with the issues of male sports and the tribal mentality that too often accompanies it.
From club to professional level, Death Mask explores sexually inappropriate behaviour and how players are enabled and protected by management and fans. Meanwhile, victims are villified in the PR spin cycle to protect a multi billion dollar industry. At any cost.’
Forensic physician Dr Anya Crichton is presented with a patient who has returned from her honeymoon with multiple sexually transmitted infections.
Her husband has none of them. She tearfully denies having had any other partners and Anya believes her. Is this a medical phenomenon or has something more sinister taken place?
Anya’s investigations into the case leads to a ground breaking study that attracts international attention. Her expertise leads to an invitation to New York to address over three hundred football players in the USA Professional League.
The enigmatic private investigator Ethan Rye is assigned to assist Anya during the summit. When an alleged rape involving five football players takes place, Anya is commissioned to investigate.
She is immediately thrust into a subculture of violence, sexual assault and drug abuse. No one is what he or she seems.
Anya soon discovers a devastating truth about the players that threatens to shut down the eight billion dollar football industry.
Now lives, including her own, are in danger…
If you’re into grisly forensic detail, as in the gore-spattered novels of Patricia Cornwell and Kathy Reichs, you’ll love this. For once, forensic physician and pathologist Dr Anya Crichton is at a loss. A woman returns from her honeymoon with multiple sexually transmitted diseases. She claims to never had sex before her wedding night, but her husband’s tests are negative. Someone is lying, and Anya makes a troubling discovery abut a group of sportsmen who will go to any lengths for the sake of the team.
Saga Magazine April 2011 Review
Kathryn Fox is another crime writer who is fascinated by gender and violence. Her detective is Anya Crichton, an Australian forensic expert and in Death Mask she’s called in to examine a young woman who’s been gang-raped by a group of footballers on her wedding night. As a result of the publicity, Anya is invited to go to America to speak at a seminar designed to change the sexual attitudes of the country’s top football star’s. Her warnings about the consequences of unprotected sex make some of the players blanch, and she quickly realises that she has taken on one of the biggest challenges of her career. Then five footballers are accused of gang rape, and Anya’s trip to America takes on a new complexion. She is horrified when the victim is torn apart by the press, but then one of the accused players dies in suspicious circumstances and the case becomes a murder investigation. This is a fascinating novel about the real-life problem of leading sportsmen and sexual violence.
The Sunday Times UK 17 April 2011 Review
‘Although I was fully aware of the sensitive theme behind Kathryn Fox’s ‘Death Mask’ it hadn’t prepared me for the jaw dropping impact it would have on me within 10 pages… The one thing I hadn’t anticipated on was the rollercoaster of emotions I experienced with this novel – anger, incredulity, disbelief and compassion – all there or thereabouts dependant of the storyline. ‘Death Mask’ has left an indelible mark on me, one I hadn’t expected when I began reading.
A remarkably well-paced thriller, I struggled to put the ‘Death Mask’ down…’