The very wonderful and much anthologized Mercedes Murdock Yardley raises beautiful children, rides two-wheeled vehicles that would send staider traffic fleeing from most public highways, and writes fabulous horror and supernatural stories and dark fiction. [easyazon-link asin=”B00HWLX6RO” locale=”us”]Nameless: The Darkness Comes[/easyazon-link] is her first full-length novel, as well as the first volume of The Bone Angel Trilogy. So, dear reader, I guess you’ve already guessed that this is going to be a positive review. Damn right it is.
Luna Masterson, biker-esque chick heroine of the tale, has been seeing demons since she has small. (Why she has been seeing them is one of the most poignant twists in the plot.) With no Buffy-style mentor to give her combat training, no friendly priests to offer spiritual guidance and Molotov cocktails of holy water, and no grimoires to prep her on demonology, she’s had to learn to deal with them pretty much by rule of thumb. So when they turn more than a shade nastier, and start digging their claws into her remaining family, she has to grope as well as kick her way through new, uncertain, and very ugly threats, with the help of a new sidekick and love interest who comes with (supernatural) baggage, and a demonic but (possibly) trustworthy sparring partner called Mouth.
For anyone familiar with the Dresden Files or Sooky Stackhouse, then, this will seem somewhat familiar territory, but Yardley rides it in style. Not so much like a Mercedes (no pun intended…), more like a turbo-charged nitro-boosted hog. Maybe the title should have been Relentless, not Nameless, because her pacing certainly is. Come Chapter Ten, barely a fifth of the way into the book, Luna has already had two ferocious close encounters with angry hellspawn and had a demonic mark seared into her back. And it doesn’t really let up after that. The characters are delineated briefly, but well enough to make them real and sympathetic (when not pitiable), not least courtesy of the constant sparky dialog and backchat. And the supernatural background is sketched in very lightly, but just enough to underscore Luna’s shaky position as an untutored girl walking a very dark path, and enough to tantalize readers without saturating them with ponderous world-building.
Because, yes, this is the first of a trilogy, with plenty more room to tie up loose threads and flesh out details later. And I gather eager fans are already waiting for the next installment. I certainly wouldn’t be surprised. The epilog and leadin to the next book might be just a touch too light and forgiving, but that could be just me. It’s certainly hard to stop after just one (chapter or volume). In fact, I bet most readers will read Nameless through at first sitting and finish famished for more. This is not Yardley at her full range, but it’s certainly her at full speed. Throw your leg across and hold on tight: she’s going to take you for a ride…