I was introduced to Rio Youers and his writing when I attended my first horror convention. I picked up a copy of his novel, Mama Fish and added it to my ever-growing pile of books to read. Mama Fish was a quick, good read that I highly enjoyed. Fueled by my enjoyment of Mama Fish and my love for short stories, I immediately jumped at the chance to pick up his next book, Dark Dreams, Pale Horses. Needless to say, I was not disappointed.
Dark Dreams, Pale Horses is a collection of six short stories written by Youers with an introduction by Brian Keene.
Pure: There is always a need for salvation during times of infection. Pure is a story set in the near future, however Youers spins a much different tale than what you’d expect from your regular run-of-the-mill vampire story.
This Is The Summer Of Love: Terri and Billy are the main characters in this story of love, protection, and need. Terri lives in a black and white world of sadness, at least until she meets Billy, who becomes her knight in Technicolor armor.
Ghost Of Lillian Bliss: An elderly woman suffering from Alzheimer’s recants a story from her childhood. While present memories seem to elude her, she has no problem digging up the images from her childhood.
Chrysalis: The world as we know it is now a cold, desolate place where people are forced up mountains to chase the sunlight and children are born at death’s door. Angelo, the main character, cares for the children in this touching fable of sorrow and hope.
Alice Bleeding: After an asteroid decimates parts of Australia, thirty-three survivors remain and wait for rescue. Sally, her four-month-old son and her husband survived but the bitterness she carries is destroying her marriage. The group waiting for rescue thinks the worst is over, but something more horrible approaches.
Promised Land Blues: Jonathan’s life long dream is to drive across the USA in a 1955 baby-pink Cadillac, stopping in every city mentioned in Elvis Presley’s song, “Promised Land”. While the road trip should be a week to remember, it takes a turn for the worse as mysterious events unfurl surrounding the ‘55 Cadillac.
Youers has a near-poetic way of writing. “Beautifully-written” would be the most accurate way to describe the rich environments, characters and the overall feel of every story.
***Dark Dreams, Pale Horses is recommended as Mandytory reading***