Review: Halcyon by Rio Youers

Halcyon by Rio Youers
St. Martin’s Press (July 10, 2018)
384 pages; $26.46 hardcover; $14.99 e-book
Reviewed by Dave Simms

Straight from the success of last year’s The Forgotten Girl, Rio Youers bursts back onto the scene with another high-octane thriller that stretches the bounds of reality in a tale which blurs the lines between horror, thriller, mystery, and fantasy. Those familiar with his writing will be treated to another smooth ride that will keep the pages flying.

Halcyon is an oasis in this present-day world, a community free from the horrors of the real world. Crime and fear don’t exist there, only love and cooperation. If this sounds like a clichéd ’60s cult, think again. Valerie Kemp, AKA Mother Moon, has built a Utopian getaway on an island in Lake Ontario. She’s a compelling character with a backstory that builds her into a compassionate but deadly woman who will do anything to complete her vision of the future. Those who follow her commit the unspeakable, all in the name of Halcyon.

One such follower sacrifices himself at the bequest of Moon, devastating the Lovegrove family in a tragedy that is tough to read, especially in light of what has been happening almost weekly in the news. Martin Lovegrove, a dedicated father and husband deals with the wreckage in the only way he can figure — moving his family away from all that can threaten it, to Halcyon.

Once situated on the island, he learns of the dark veins that run through the essence of the island; how the place of life, love, and community holds secrets that could undo everything he holds dear. The tension Youers build is palpable, mostly due to the manner in which his characters breathe between the covers. What could have been a run-of-the-mill thriller takes on fresh life because of his style, which lulls readers into an edgy, yet comfortable zone that tears into one’s heart but doesn’t skimp on intelligence.

Highly recommended reading, as always, from Rio Youers.

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