Book Review: The Fearing – Book One: Fire & Rain


Whoa…that was a hell of a read. 

Very few books that I’ve read have packed as much of a scary punch in so few pages as John F.D. Taff’s The Fearing – Book One: Fire & Rain. If you’re into modern horror and like getting it in small thrilling doses you’ll love this novella.

“John F.D. Taff’s highly-anticipated epic supernatural thriller, The Fearing, begins with Book One: Fire & Rain where humanity faces a series of catastrophes spawned by a worldwide event that unleashes all of mankind’s greatest fears.

In the American high desert, vacationers returning from a road trip are thrust into a heart-stopping flight from death as they try to avoid a cataclysmic end. In rural Missouri, the lives of a group of high school students are destroyed after their small town is devastated and they’re forced to confront the end of everything they’ve ever known.

And on the eastern seaboard, there’s someone else. An enigmatic man who thrives on despair and embraces all fear. A man with his own dark and sinister goals. Someone who wants to ensure humanity goes out with the biggest bang possible.” – Goodreads blurb

I picked up Fire & Rain upon the recommendation of Holly over at The Grimdragon. Holly reviewed the series last year and loved it. I put it on my want list and bought it this year to read for spooky Halloween season. And I’m soooo glad I did.

First let me say I don’t read a ton of Horror. I like it, but it isn’t my go to. I don’t have a good grasp of all of the genre’s subcategories and I’m not often scared by the stories. This one screwed with my mind. I had just started it and was already posting to Twitter “Ok one chapter in and im already like wtf?!?” 

Fire & Rain follows three storylines, that of a strange young man in New York who is afraid of EVERYTHING, that of a group of high school kids in Missouri, and that of a group of vacationers heading back to Arizona on a small tour bus. Each chapter alternates between one of these storylines and follows events on a single day when…well, when everything in the world explodes in some apocalyptic event. How the event happens and why it happens, and just how massive it is isn’t totally clear. But it’s huge and freaky and totally messed up. This first installment (it’s a serial released over four novellas) only presents the very beginning of what I’m sure will be a wild ride of a story.

The overriding theme of this book is fear, which may seem obvious given the title for the series but what Taff does is delve into the things the characters fear and then offers that up to the reader in quick visual snippets, ramping up the suspense and action before that payoff moment and then shifting gears to another scene. It builds up a little fear in the reader – fear for the characters and for that imaginative “what if this really happened” kind of vibe. At first you’re not sure what’s going on and things seem messed up, but once that moment of realization comes you’re like “oh shit, this is really messed up” but you’re along for the ride.

The writing is tight, quick, and oh so good. I mean it has to be to make the novella format work but Taff really does a superb job with it. The first chapter really sets the mood for a read that will mess with your head and then it just takes off. The pace of every chapter is fast and thrilling and the whole book just ramps up the tension until that explosive ending.

The whole time you’re wondering what the hell is gonna happen next, and what the hell is happening in general. By the end of the book you know you’ve only gotten a taste of what’s to come but you’re so very hooked. I mean I want all three of the remaining books now! Coming in at 110 pages this book can easily be read in one sitting and perfect for a read by the fire on a cool dark night. I highly recommend you pick it up.

5 of 5 Stars

Author: John F.D. Taff
Publisher: Grey Matter Press
Publication Date: July 9, 2019
Format: Paperback
Pages: 110

One thought on “Book Review: The Fearing – Book One: Fire & Rain

  1. Pingback: Top Reads of 2020 | Off The TBR

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