The Universal and Other Terrors
by Tony Richards
Cover Artist: M Wayne Miller
Review by Mario Guslandi
Dark Renaissance Books Trade Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9781937128890
Date: 01 December 2013
By all means one of the modern masters of dark fiction, Tony Richards is back with a new collection featuring eleven short stories and a novella. Most of the stories are either new or recently published and the novella "A Town Called Youngesville" is a slightly revised version of "Yuppieville" which appeared in 2010.
I will start by mentioning "Youngesville" (or "Yuppieville") because it is a magnificent example of Richards' superb ability as an author of horror fiction. Thrilling and enticing in the extreme, the novella describes how a Los Angeles couple relocated in an apparently perfect small town in Nevada discovers, behind the pristine facade of a young and happy population, lies an unexpected and unsettling reality.
Among the tales included in the volume, my favorite are the following.
"Beneath the Shroud" is a compelling, atmospheric piece about a man taking a long and distressing car drive into the fog to pay his last respects to his dying father.Although not every story is quite top-notch (even Richards is human, after all) the book is a fascinating and disquieting journey into the darker side of human existence with its inner and external horrors ready to menace our safety and our peace of mind.