Tuesday 1 March 2016

REVIEW: Glenn Rolfe - Things We Fear

Genre: Horror
Publisher: Samhain Publishing Ltd
Publication Date: 1st March 2016
Pages: 85


I received an advance copy of Things We Fear by Glenn Rolfe from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This is said review. This book is published by Samhain.

In this past twelve months I have read a few offerings from Glenn Rolfe. Abrams Bridge (reviewed here), Boom Town (reviewed here) and Blood and Rain (reviewed here). Blood and Rain ended up in my top five horrors for 2015. It was superb and such a leap of improvement on his writing from the earlier books. That means that whenever something new comes out from him I will automatically pick it up. I was hoping for more of the same with Things We Fear.

Schools out for summer but it’s not the kids celebrating that. Teacher Emily Young is aiming to enjoy her summer break. Her Ed Tech, Aaron Jackson, is aiming to enjoy his too and would be delighted if Ms Young would spend it with him, but he’s too nervous to ask her.

Matt Holmes is another teacher in the school. He is also aiming to enjoy Emily but in a completely different way. You see Matt is a killer of the serial kind and Ms Young is on his to do list.

He doesn’t bank on her and Aaron getting together though. This doesn’t pose a huge problem. As long as he can take Aaron out first.

So characters wise this one is mainly taken up with the three mentioned previously. Emily is a studious teacher and everything during the school year is done by the book. She is also hot as hell. Whether she realises this or not is another matter. Aaron is also dedicated to the job but madly in love with Emily.

He has a dark secret that keeps him awake at night though. Matt is just an obnoxious, self-centred, egotistical idiot that is well suited to his serial killer alter ego.

The plot is not your average slasher type plot. A lot of this is down to a madman’s fixation with wanting to have something that is just out of his reach, but determined to use any ploy available to him to try and get exactly what he wants. It’s not one hundred miles an hour, as a lot of Mr Rolfe’s stuff can be. It is well paced for the story but don’t be expecting the roller coaster rides you normally get from him. It’s well thought out and more particular than his straight horror stories. I would go so far as to class this more as a thriller than anything else.

Did I enjoy it? I did, but the whole time I was reading it I was waiting on the horror. I was waiting on the killer twist that would put it into third gear and get things moving a lot quicker than they were. I am a little disappointed because this is definitely not his strongest work. After reading Blood and Rain, it almost feels as if he has taken a step backwards and this was being used as a novella to fill some time until something else comes out.

I hope I’m not sounding rude because I don’t want to. I know from following this young man that he puts his heart and soul into everything he does and everything he writes. I know from following him that he is trying to hone his craft with everything he writes. I just feel that this could have been polished a bit more. The ending comes about too abruptly for me and there is one scene that is catastrophic for the story but just seemed to be mentioned so matter of factly that it pissed me off a bit.

On the flip side again, this story does show that Glenn Rolfe has versatility. He doesn’t just right out and out scary stuff and to be honest he probably could turn his hand to out and out thriller writing and be bloody good at it. I would just like to see more of the Glenn Rolfe that wrote Blood and Rain.

To summarise: a short read about a killer with a one track mind, determined to get what he wants no matter what is in his way. Not Mr Rolfe’s strongest work in my opinion but still a good read.

General rating:

★★★.5 a good read but not his strongest work.

Horror rating:

★★★ could have been scarier.

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Book Synopsis:

"THINGS WE FEAR is a compulsively readable tale of obsession and dark suspense, with one of the creepiest villains I've encountered in recent years." -- Tim Waggoner, author of THE WAY OF ALL FLESH

Summer has just begun, and fear is in season.

School’s out, and the faculty at Fairington Elementary School are free for the summer. Emily Young can’t deny her attraction to Aaron Jackson, the Ed Tech from her classroom, but she’s afraid of being hurt again. Meanwhile, Aaron is determined not to let his phobia of drowning prevent him from enjoying the sun and the sand of Maine’s best beach town.

But they’re about to learn real fear. Fairington is home to a monster. Phys Ed teacher Matt Holmes has more to offer the ladies than a perfect smile. He’s a killer and he’s got his sights set on Emily. Who at Fairington will conquer their fears? And who will fall to a psychopath’s hell-bent rage?

Glenn Rolfe is an author, singer, songwriter and all around fun loving guy from the haunted woods of New England. He has studied Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University, and continues his education in the world of horror by devouring the novels of Stephen King and Richard Laymon. He and his wife, Meghan, have three children, Ruby, Ramona, and Axl. He is grateful to be loved despite his weirdness.

He is the author the novellas, Abram's Bridge, Boom Town, and the forthcoming, Things We Fear (March, 2016), the short fiction collection, Slush, and the novels, The Haunted Halls, and this October's, Blood and Rain.

His first novella collection, Where Nightmares Begin, will be released in March, 2016.

He is hard at work on many more. Stay tuned!

And for more about Glenn, visit his site or find him on social media:

1 comment:

  1. This is a good review, Nev. I'm not a huge fan of psychological horror but I did enjoy this. It just didn't blow me away. Glenn is still a class act though.