Gabino Iglesias Reviews No Second Chances by Rio Youers – Locus Online
No other chancesRio Youers (Morrow 978-0-06300-105-3, $ 27.99, 400pp, hc) May 2022.
Rio Yours sin No other chances are many things: a thriller, a redemption story, a crime novel, a tale of friendship and a tale of identity, influence and power that sometimes dives its toes into the realm of horror. The important thing, however, is that it is wildly entertaining, and that it may be Yours best book to date.
Luke Kingsley used to be someone. People recognized him, he went to all the coolest parties, and his face appeared in movies and popular TV series. He was a star on the rise, but everything collapsed after he woke up in the woods after a wild night, with no recollection of the previous hours and the blood of his wife, soul singer Lisa Hayes, plastered all over the front of his shirt. When Lisa did not show up, a viral image of Luke was covered in blood and the fact that the couple had a tumultuous marriage all the media and people needed, to find him guilty of murdering her. The downward spiral culminated in Luke trying to commit suicide in his garage. However, it was not meant that way; Luke was pulled out of the garage and returned to a life worth living by one of his neighbors, a young woman named Kitty Rae who recently moved from Kentucky to Los Angeles with dreams of becoming an actress. Kitty, like many others before her, is forced to do things to make ends meet while waiting for her dream to happen, and in her case, the concert involves delivering drugs from a local dealer and eventually working for Johan Fly, a social media star and drug dealer who is charming, powerful, rich, incredibly popular and seems to have control over the canary, the one drug in town that all the stars are looking for because it lifts them like cocaine, with no crashes or side effects. Kitty and Luke develop a friendship, and unlike everyone else, she believes him when he tells her that he did not kill his wife. Luke helps Kitty audition with an agent, and it seems that things look up for both of them, but then Johan discovers that Kitty has stolen some canaries from him while she has made her drops, and he hates when people lie for him. Kitty manages to escape Johan’s ax – literally and figuratively – and hides with Luke. In the wake of Kitty’s escape, Luke finds out where someone who may know what happened to his wife is hiding, and the duo set out to bring Johan down, find the man Luke is looking for and try to stay alive.
It was a long synopsis, and I did everything I could to keep it as short as possible. There’s a lot going on in there No other chances, and that’s a good thing. Yourers has an ability to juggle different characters and views, and he does so while always keeping the story moving forward at breakneck speed.
This novel contains an entertaining mix of genre elements, but the two things that make it work very well – in addition to the pace mentioned above – are character development and the way Youers dissects the LA / Hollywood scene. When it comes to character development, Kitty and Luke are simply memorable. Instead of a main character, Youers went for two, and he did it brilliantly. Kitty and Luke both fight against demons, and they find refuge in each other despite all their differences. Luke’s career is dead, his best friend just died of cancer, his wife is still missing, and there’s a homicide detective who recently became a private investigator, who is sure of his guilt and is harassing him all the time. Kitty is far from home, there is a powerful drug dealer with incredible reach who wants to kill her, and she is haunted by her son, whom she gave away as an adoption to a wealthy white family when he was born because she knew she would never succeed the. to give him the life he deserved. Everything in their lives seems to be either ruined or about to be, but Kitty and Luke believe in each other, and the love and support they show each other helps them get through what life throws at them. Because of their relationship, No other chances is a fast-paced thriller with some gruesome scenes that also turn into a beautiful story of friendship and, despite the book’s title, other chances.
No other chances is fun reading. It’s tense and fast. Yourers digs down and reveals some of the things that keep Hollywood moving, and many of them are not pretty. The story moves smoothly from fancy parties to dilapidated houses in the Mojave Desert; from fleeing agents to Johan’s social media and empires; from Luke’s part as an upcoming star to Kitty’s fights, bad jobs and dreams of star status. Yourers has always been a talented storyteller, but this is his best outing to date.
This review and more like the June 2022 issue of Locus.
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