I’m grateful to Grey Matter press for sending me this ARC of THE FEARING Pt. 1 – FIRE & RAIN by John F.D. Taff. A rather stressful and disconcerting tale, Taff has made what may promise to be a full blown apocalyptic horror/thriller hybrid epic.
Since, this is part one of four, readers are only getting a taste of what Taff has in store, as well as most of the set up, dread, and psychological horror that fills these pages. Following three separate groups of people, we have a tourist group attempting to survive an earthquake in Arizona, a trio of high school students in Missouri picking up the pieces after a tornado destroys their town, and finally Adam who seems to be afraid of everything but may have a dark calling.
All of this adds to a huge scope and one that becomes more frenetic and chaotic as the story unpacks. The first few chapters with Adam are immediately compelling as the tension and dread builds. His thoughts pulling the reader along to dark ends and Taff’s deft writing makes sure we feel every bit of his fear and apprehension. And then the narrative shifts to rural Missouri, and details how the teens have to face the apocalyptic landscape, while their fears may be coming alive.
Taff’s writing is brisk, but at the same time very intimate, especially with Adam and Sarah. And he has to be this intimate with this new project of his, because he is getting down to the root of what people fear and engaging with that emotion. It’s actually a really interesting premise(I’ll save you the twists), but this may be a deep dive into the nature of horror itself, especially if there remains a strong undercurrent of what fear is.
The book itself is short, just barely around 90 pages or so, which makes the concept hard to grasp, even if the ending truly leaves you wanting more. My interest is piqued and I absolutely need the rest of THE FEARING immediately at my door, yesterday.