Friday, May 11, 2012

Westlake Soul - by Rio Youers - Wonderfully original speculative fiction

  5 of 5 Stars

I first met Rio Youers at 2010 Horrorfind Weekend in Gettysburg, PA.  That day he read from Dark Dreams, Pale Horses and I was instantly a fan.  Since then, I've read everything I can get my hands on from this relatively new writer.

Although I discovered Rio at a Horror convention, I wouldn't necessarily call him a Horror writer.  Speculative fiction maybe?  Actually, he's just a damn fine writer.

Westlake Soul is his best book to date.  Westlake is a 23 year old former surfing champion.  Now more like a young Stephen Hawking, but much smarter.

After a surfing accident, he wakes up with the most powerful mind on the planet, but a body like a wet paper bag.

The story is told by a third party, as directed by Westlake's mind, so it comes across as first person.  He communicates telepathically with his dog, Hub.  In his mind, he also does epic battle with Dr. Quietus, his archenemy, (doesn't every superhero have one).  In addition, Westlake can travel anywhere through a kind of astral projection.

To the outside world, Westlake Soul is in a persistent vegetative state.  Westlake's story is at times sadand and often exhilarating, you'll find yourself rooting for him to use his powerful mind to find a way to break through the silence and find a way to recover his life.

Rio Youers deals with some heavy material here and does a fine job of shedding light on how we view accident victims who are left in comas, paralyzed or left in uncommunicative states.  This is a beautiful story which made me smile, made me angry and made me cry.  It's what a good book should do.  I  am so looking forward to what comes next from the mind of Rio Youers.

Westlake Soul is available as a Trade Paperback and e-book from Chizine Publications as well as

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