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Zakk's Review of THE FEARING: BOOK 2: WATER & WIND by John F. D. Taff

Zakk muses on fear, and The Fearing: Book 2 - Water and Wind

What do you fear? Yeah, you. The kind soul reading this rambling piece right now. What keeps you up at night, stops you in your tracks, or simply makes your breath hitch?

I myself, am afraid of heights, always have been. That one is fairly common. I worry that I’ll never break this mental wall that has been keeping me from solid and timely book reviews, this one is maybe a little more nuanced. I am also super sketchy on open, murky bodies of water, because who knows what kind of abominations live there.

Insects, mainly spiders, make me uneasy, but I can usually find my way around or through them, the beauty of being 6’3” 230.

But that’s kind of stuff that everybody knows about me. Let me let you in on a little secret, my biggest fear. I am (maybe illogically) afraid of being away, or separated, from my family unit in a time of catastrophe. Natural disasters, large scale accidents, the random stroke of violence, terrorist attacks (the old-school kind that everyone will label and as such and use as a “right” to profile, but also the almost daily mass-shootings that seem to be labeled everything but.)

I fear something going down and me not being able to get to my loved ones, not being able to get to those who need me, and vice versa. While it doesn’t have quite the same death grasp on me as it used to, it definitely still keeps me up some nights.

I actually squashed a week getaway with the wife to Mexico because I was dead sure the big attack was going to drop while we were out of the country with no immediate way of getting back to our children. And guess what? Nothing happened. Also, I’ve never had another opportunity to travel out of the country since. Put that in the regretfully missed opportunity column, sorry love, I am ashamed.

Today I add a new fear. A fear of an entire societal meltdown before the release of The Fearing books 3 & 4. Yeah, I’m into it that much. It’s impossible to avoid getting hooked by Taff brand fiction, his work is so fucking good that I am ashamed to admit that there is plenty out there that I haven’t yet experienced. All in due time, folks, all in due time.

But here lies the difficulty in reviewing a book that is the second installment of four. If you’re not already on board with book one, by way of your own interest or sold on it from John’s review of book one, what chance do I have selling you here? Plus, every word has a potential of being a minor spoiler, that’s a lot of pressure. Well here goes, total barebones.

Fire and Rain’s sucker punch intro continues to play out here. The scope becomes a little more clear as the cast of characters we have previously met find or choose (pushed towards? Maybe) certain directions. Some of whom have been clueing into what is going on, seeing patterns, others just surviving. While these seemingly random vignettes of madness are less shocking with the element of surprise gone, they still have the same amount of impact, if not more. Everyone’s fears are coming to light. A couple of new, very charming players join the fracas, a couple of players who feel (to me, anyway) like they’ll have an important part to play...sooner rather than later. But who’s to say, really, as the conclusion shows us that all bets are off.

John F.D. Taff, as my son would say, is off his onion. To be honest, I don’t even know what that really means, but I’ve decided to make it a compliment. He’s dropping narratives that sting your eyes, metaphorically if not literally. How many of my personal fears has he touched on thus far? Damn near all of them. Maybe that’s the draw here, Taff is exercising my demons for me. Bless his heart.

At the time of this writing, I have four or so weeks to wait until Book Three gives me my next fix, 12ish until the conclusion. That is an excruciatingly long time till I learn the truths of The Fearing, but what choice is there but to sit here, in my dark corner, wondering. Wondering if you and I are facing this personalized apocalypse together, what fear are we facing?

The Fearing: Book 2 - Water and Wind, by John F.D. Taff, 130 pages published by Grey Matter Press.

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Zakk is a big dumb animal!

Zakk Madness is a 40 something horror nerd and yo-yo enthusiast. Not a critic, but a fan of horror fiction. Former reviewer for The Mouths of Madness Poscastshow, he currently reviews as The Eyes of Madness. When this chaotic life is keeping him from reading he is spending what free time he has with his wife and their three sons.


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1 comment

  • Now that I’ve read the review, I must read the book. Do you have to read from the first book, or can they stand alone?

    • Dana Damato