*Disclaimer – I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*
The end. It began with Adam Sigel.
Because the end always begins with fear, and Adam was afraid of everything.
He was too much of the world, and the world was too much of him.
Adam spent most of his time curled up tight into a ball atop his bare bed in his small, spartan apartment in Brooklyn. Too afraid of people to leave its confines often, he dared going out only when he needed something badly – generally food or toilet paper.
He’d stopped refilling the prescriptions for his anti-anxiety medications months ago. His fear of doctors and needles had trumped what little benefit he received from the mysterious, generic pills they prescribed.
What good did they do? Adam was still afraid of people breaking and entering when he stayed inside, afraid of people mugging him when he went outside. He was afraid of germs and terrorist attacks and getting hit by a taxi. He was afraid of alligators in the sewers and rats in the plumbing and a million other things, rational and irrational.
He was absolutely glutted with fears, every niche and hidey-hole crammed full of them. They floated just under the surface of his subconscious, like bubbles filled with toxic gas. Some of them – a group of fears that seemed central to Adam, to who he was at the very core of his being – floated atop this pool, always there, always nattering at him to watch, to beware!
Because of this, he usually spent his days – as he did this day – stretched atop his unmade bed, biting his lips and fingernails, sometimes until they bled.
The lights were on in Adam’s apartment twenty-four seven. As silly as it seemed – and it did seem silly, even to him – he was afraid of the dark, the small scurryings and scuttlings concealed by the absence of light, the creaks and groans, how the traffic down on the street sounded angrier in the night. Darkness was, of course, at the very center of the fears, this one, primal, all-encompassing dread.
He might get up and eat some cereal or perhaps a Pop-Tart. He didn’t cook much, indeed didn’t use much electricity, or even water. He was afraid of the possibility of electrical fires, so he kept only a small refrigerator plugged in. And the water? Who knew what they hid in New York’s heavily treated and chlorinated water supply?
Today, though, there was no food in the apartment. He’d looked inside the little fridge earlier and saw only a small tub of margarine and a single slice of American cheese, curled and cracked within its plastic film like a great, yellowed toenail.
He would have to go out.
An anxiety riddled man in a diner. Teenagers at a basketball game. Vacationers on a long bus journey home. Something is about to happen, a Nationwide disaster that starts in that small diner and spreads like a virus across America, throwing their world into chaos. Can they survive? Can they make it home, if there’s even one left? What is bringing everyone’s worst fears to life? Book one of The Fearing has a lot of questions to answer.
My Thoughts –
The Fearing has an intriguing and immense concept driving the plot. Part psychological horror, part natural disasters, Book One is a slim volume that’s densely packed with action, tension and a far off dread. You won’t get a full explanation to the strange phenomena happening here, but you’re given enough to follow the characters through their terrible circumstances but there’s a lot more to discover in books two and three.
Speaking of those characters, Taff has a knack for getting the reader invested in his characters, creating personalities that are as believable as they are sympathetic. In so few words he sets scenes, describes characters as solid as the monsters attacking them, and a world that is falling apart. The initial character, antagonist as such, is a man who lives his life emmersed in fear. Without spoilers, he isn’t exactly innocent in this story though his full influence is not thoroughly explained in Book One. Though he’s clearly doing bad things, Taff has you feeling sorry for him, initially at least, with a slow realisation that this guy is only getting started.
Book One of The Fearing is a short and immersive read, not a cliff hanger but a promise that there is much more to come in this story. I’ll be investing in books two and three to find out where these characters end up. Taff is a name to look for in horror.
About the Author –
John F.D. Taff is a Bram Stoker Award Nominated author with more than 30 years experience, 90+ short stories and five novels in print. His first fiction collection, Little Deaths, was named the best horror collection of 2012 by Horror Talk. Book 2 and 3 of The Fearing are out now. Taff lives in Illinois with his wife, two dogs, and a cat. You can find out more about him and his work on his website.
Links to Buy and Review-
What do you think about horror series novels? What’s your favourite horror story that involves natural disasters? What’s your greatest fear? Let me know down below!