FEAR was a crazy mixture of: creature feature/coming of age/evil in a small town horror. It just doesn't get much more fun than that!
In the backwoods of Tennessee, young Jeb Sweeney is fighting for his family. His farmer father has been turned into a simpleton, thanks to a war injury. His mother is gone and his grandmother is gravely ill. There are bullies around their small town and on top of that, some kind of creature has arrived and it's killing anything it can get its hands on. What is a young man supposed to do about all this? You'll have to read FEAR to find out!
I have to admit that this book brought me back to the old days when I first started reading horror. (For me, those old days are in the late 70's, early 80's.) Back then, there were a lot of tales like this and they were beefy ones too-500 pages or more. You really would settle in with a book and it would go everywhere with you until you finished it. Coming of age tales were especially popular during that time, but not all of them were great. FEAR was though and I'll tell you why.
We have a family we can care for, more than one antagonist, a compelling setting, and best of all? A creature that can only be described as....SCARY. Sprinkle in some older women busy working their mojo, a traveling blues-man and an entire county of scary creatures, and you have the recipe for F-U-N!
This tale did start out slowly as we got to know everyone, the town itself, and the stories surrounding Fear County. Around about the halfway point, things ramped up and then the pace flew through the second half- I had a very hard time putting it down. I suspect that these days, an editor would have cut down the word count a bit, and even though I enjoyed the slower pace of the beginning, I can't deny that a few words could have been cut without hurting the book overall. For that I deducted half a star.
FEAR is exactly the type of book that inspired in me a love of horror fiction and dark fiction in general. We have a dirt poor family, a young man to root for, a setting of the small town, and nearby? A place so haunted and scary that no one ever goes there. I mean, really, for a horror fan-what's not to like? I highly recommend this book, especially to fans of coming of age horror and creature features.
Get your copy here: FEAR
*I purchased my copy with my hard earned cash back in 2014. I'm so glad I finally read this book!*
**Ronald Kelly was kind enough to join the Horror Aficionados Group for a group read of this story. Thank you, Mr. Kelly! I had a great time!*