Wednesday 4 February 2015

REVIEW: Ronald Kelly - Fear

Genre: Horror
Publisher: Crossroad Press
Publication Date: 23rd Nov 2011
Pages: 409


My third book I have read by Ronald Kelly. By far the best so far.

The year is 1946 in Pikesville, Tennessee. Jeb Sweeny lives with his very ill Grandma and his father Sam. Sam is "simple-minded" as the locals call him because he suffers from shell shock after the war and can't remember anything. He can't even remember Jeb is his son. Livestock in the county starts to mysteriously be butchered and rumour has it that there is a half dog half snake demon on the loose. Jeb witnesses the demon himself when his prized hog is dragged away in front of his eyes.

Noone, including the sheriff believes Jeb and when kids his own age, including his sweatheart Mandy start to disappear, Jeb knows he is the only one that is going to be able to stop it. With the help of Roscoe Ledbetter, a blues playing vagrant, Jeb and Sam set off on a journey to Fear County to track down the Granny Woman and seek her help in defeating the demon. Roscoe knows the way and the dangers they will come across. Jeb knows he is going to ask the Granny Woman for help with his own Grandma and his father. Sam knows nothing other than they are going on a journey. And what a journey.

Putting it simply, this is one of the greatest stories I have ever read. It's a classic and one that I would urge any of my friends to add to their collection because you will not regret it. The early story is told in an absolutely beautiful way. It reminded me of McCammon's Boys Life the way the story builds around Jeb and his family. You get a definite feeling of the times. The atmosphere is pure magic and sucks you in to the point you can see everything very vividly in your mind as you're reading it. The characters are wonderful. They each have their own individual traits that make each one special in their own way. Scenes where people are stood gassing in the local barbers shop just give you that feeling of being in the south in the 40's. It's just superb.

I could go on and on and on about this book all night so I'll try to break it down: this book will scare the bejesus out of you, this book will make you laugh, this book will make you read with a huge big grin on your face, this book will make you cry. You must buy it. This is a serious, serious contender for my book of the year.

You also have the added bonus of a short story about Fear County called The Seedling at the end.

General rating:

★★★★★ Absolutely loved it. Highly recommended. Never any doubt.

Horror rating:

★★★★★ I need a change of pants.

If you would like to help support Confessions of a Reviewer then please consider using the links below to buy Fear or any other books written by Ronald. This not only supports me, but also lets me know how many people actually like to buy books after reading my reviews and features. Thanks.

Book Synopsis:

It was a legend in Fear County... a hideous, flesh-eating creature - part snake, part earthbound demon - that feasted on the blood of innocent children in the cold black heart of the Tennessee backwoods.

But ten-year-old Jeb Sweeny knows the horrible stories are true. His best friend Mandy just up and disappeared. He also knows that no one has ever had the courage to go after the monster and put an end to its raging, bestial hunger. Until now.

But Evil is well guarded. And for young Jeb Sweeny, who is about to cross over into the forbidden land of Fear County and the lair of the unknown, passage through the gates of Hell comes with a terrible price. Everlasting...FEAR!

Ronald Kelly was born and raised in the hills and hollows of Middle Tennessee. He became interested in horror as a child, watching the local "Creature Feature" on Saturday nights and "The Big Show"---a Nashville-based TV show that presented every old monster movie ever made ---in the afternoons after school. In high school, his interest turned to horror literature and he read such writers as Poe, Lovecraft, Matheson, and King. He originally had dreams of becoming a comic book artist and created many of his own super heroes. But during his junior year, the writing bug bit him and he focused his attention on penning short stories and full-length novels. To date, he has had ten novels and eight short fiction collections published. In 1992, his audio-book, DARK DIXIE, was included on the nominating ballot for a Grammy Award.

He currently lives in Brush Creek, Tennessee with his wife, Joyce, his two daughters, Reilly and Makenna, and his son, Ryan (Bubba).

You can see more about Ronald at his website.

Ronald’s authors page is here.

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