From Goodreads: Poor Roberta. She’s aging, has lost everyone she’s ever loved, and now she lives out her sad, lonely days feeding on bad convenience store food and faded memories of happier times. She wants nothing more than to join her loved ones in the afterlife, but then a gruesome discovery along the banks of the Merrimack River changes everything. Roberta knows she’ll never be alone again.
Yorick is darkly humorous horror novella by Vlad Vaslyn*. In the beginning, we meet Roberta. Widowed Roberta, abandoned by her only daughter, suffers from an acute case of loneliness. She is contemplating ending it all when she stumbles upon an object lodged in the earth.
Here is where people (mainly the fictional sort) go wrong. When seeing a mysterious, slightly sinister object buried in a riverbank, LEAVE IT ALONE. Things are buried for a reason. However, that being said, some of the best stories result from people failing to do the smart thing. This novella is just such a story. Roberta, too lonely to know what’s best, digs up a hideous skull. Naming him Yorick, the two become fast friends. Yorick, I imagine, takes his name from Hamlet. However, unlike the deceased court jester, this Yorick is not a fellow of infinite jest and excellent fancy – unless you count finding humor in the irony of Roberta assuming he intends to be a dear friend. Because as it turns out, Yorick may not have the best of intentions. However, it should be noted, sinister looking skeletal remains rarely have one’s best interest at heart. This is no exception.
Yorick is a short, but satisfying read reminiscent of the best of the classic horror writers. Although I initially wanted to avoid the obvious comparison, it’s too apt not to mention: fans of the early works of Stephen King and the later works of Edgar Allan Poe will likely enjoy this. Despite being a horror novella, it is also a black comedy of sorts. Horror and humor is one of my favorite combinations and a difficult one to pull off, but Vaslyn gets it right. It’s well-developed, tightly plotted story. While it won’t change your life, Yorick will most certainly entertain fans of the genre. 4/5.
*In exchange for my honest opinion, the author provided me with a copy of this novella.
There is nothing is this story that I would eat, Roberta is a convenience store food junkie (think microwaveable burritos and that weird nacho cheese sauce). Instead, I am recommending a Green Goddess Dip, excellent on almost anything.