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Everdead / Rio Youers

Graveside Tales / October 2008
Reviewed by: Derek Clendening

Tobey Matthews needs a vacation. Like many unattached young men, he joins two friends for a getaway to picturesque San Antonio on the promise of fun, debauchery, and sex. Danger isn’t on the list, however — not for Tobey Matthews. Forgetting about his calloused ex-girlfriend seems like tall enough an order without having to muster the courage to ask out Cass, the young babe he meets at the bar. Not long after he wins Cass’ favor, the group finds that Cass’ friend Sheri has been abducted by a creature none of them wants to believe really exists. At least not as far as Tobey is concerned. Still, he knows that he must check his cynicism at the door because this creature will travel the world to find him if he must. In Everdead, vampires have resurfaced yet again, but the real draw to Youers’ novel has nothing to do with Luca, the Italian vampire.

Reviews and book blurbs routinely compare authors to Stephen King, but Youers genuinely warrants the comparison. Here’s why: his study of the least interesting of human subjects makes this novel captivating. Youers clearly has the skills and sensibility necessary to create a highly fascinating and sympathetic protagonist. Even when King carries on for pages and you find yourself wondering What the hell is he getting at?, you’re still hooked. That’s what Youers has done in Everdead. Tobey Matthews is no hunky stud with a trendy five o’clock shadow and a stake and hammer. In fact, he’s a total loser. He’s a character with a history and problems that most of us can relate to somehow. That he ‘gets the girl’ isn’t as much of a triumph as his rising above his normal limitations. In this sense, Youers brings the character and plot arc to satisfying fruition better than most. Even when Youers fails to convince as strongly with the secondary character of Tobey’s friend Johnny – the success story who takes his life and flushes it down the toilet through overindulgence in marijuana – the reader will be apt to forgive the misstep. On the other hand, it’s all still a bit more refreshing than using the tired alcoholic archetype that horror fiction has seen too much of.

Concerning the actual vampirism depicted in the book itself, Youers uses his share of clichés — most notably young folks conversing in a tongue-in-cheek manner and fighting off vampires with garlic, both contrivances reminiscent of Fright Night. If you want something innovative in terms of vampire lore, you might need to search a little farther.

Aside from the exceptional characterizations, Everdead is ripe with beautiful language. Readers generally don’t find such poetic works from authors who haven’t yet hit the mainstream, but it might be okay to believe that Youers is an exception to the rule. Hands down, Everdead is the best book this reviewer has read all year, and readers aren’t likely to put this one down either.

Purchase Everdead by Rio Youers.

Posted on Wednesday, December 24, 2008 at 09:52AM by Registered CommenterDark Scribe Magazine in | Comments Off

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