A Soundless Dawn is a collection of horror flash fiction and short stories by Dustin LaValley. It has 41 pieces, ranging from a couple of sentences to fifteen pages in length. Themes touch upon grief, romantic relationships, loneliness, unrequited love, time travel, deceit, creepy happenings in abandoned buildings, death, madness, wrestling, faith, comic books and dogs.
I really enjoyed reading this book, dipping in to read three or four stories now and again. The sheer range of topics keeps the book intriguing throughout, but the author‘s distinctive voice is always present.
With some exceptions, my favourite pieces tended to be the slightly longer works. I particularly enjoyed Picture-in-Picture, an uncomfortable story that flits between a boy, running scared and a “dirty man” giving his monologue on blood, sex and drugs. It left me a little disoriented and reminded me of the overwhelming feeling you get after watching a scene with one of David Lynch’s bad guys. Another particularly good tale was North Vermont and Lexington, a story of a young man who meets the girl of his dreams (who just so happens to be… well, himself but female) during a patch of turbulence on a flight. It’s a mostly positive and sweet piece but, in among the others, it has an air of sickliness and uncertainty.
I think there were three or four stories that I didn’t get anything from, but out of 41, that’s not bad! Dustin LaValley really gives the impression of an effortless writer and I would love to read more of his work.