Mercedes Yardley is better known to me as a short story author, of some remarkable talent as evidenced in her wonderful collection ‘Beautiful Sorrows’. In 2013 she upped the ante when ‘Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu: A Tale of Atomic Love’ was published and she proved that she could weave a wonderful tale in novella form. With ‘Nameless: The Darkness Comes’, her debut novel, she has firmly cemented herself as not just a talented writer but an accomplished novelist to boot.
Praise for her earlier work compared to favourably to Joe Hill and, with Nameless, she proves again why this is. Mercedes has a strong, unique voice that brings her brand of dark fiction straight into the reader’s mind. She has an effortless, dynamic turn of phrase which feels natural at all times. The story, in which a pair of orphan siblings (Luna and Seth Masterson) band together to face – and survive – the demonic forces that have been haunting them and their family for as long as they can remember is a great one. While there is no denying that this is dark fiction that delves into pure horror at times Mercedes has a way of keeping a sharp edge of humour throughout the tale ensuring that the story never becomes too harrowing …though in a novel where suicide, drug abuse, a missing child, mental health issues, and violence are core it is a miracle that the writing never becomes moribund. Well if you can call great writing a miracle, of course.
So, yes, the story / plot is great but that isn’t actually what makes this novel so good. No, it is the characters themselves that do that. Mercedes has a knack for writing believable characters in unbelievable settings. From the leading lady of the tale, Luna, herself who is brash, bold, sarcastic, stupid, clever, wonderful and – at the same time – fragile through to her brother who has lived with a secret that has haunted him, to ‘green-eyed heroin addict’ that Luna has an irresistible connection to because of his own ‘hauntings’ all of the characters live and breathe on the page. However there is one that Mercedes manages to – whether it was deliberate or not – make stand out even though, for maybe half of the tale, he isn’t even seen or heard. That is Mouth who, for want of a better term, is a demon with a conscience. It was through him that Mercedes channelled some of the most fun and vitriolic dialogue.
With characters that good, and a plotline that is literally life and death in the midst of a battle for souls, love, and redemption, there is one more VERY good thing about Nameless: The Darkness Comes … it is book one in The Bone Angel Trilogy.
And I for one cannot wait to see what happens next!
Mercedes M. Yardley wears red lipstick and poisonous flowers in her hair. She writes whimsical horror, nonfiction, and is the nonfiction editor for Shock Totem: Curious Tales of the Macabre and Twisted.
To find out more about her please visit: http://abrokenlaptop.com/