Synopsis: John F.D. Taff’s apocalyptic novel, The Fearing, continues in Book Three: Air & Dust as Adam and Jelnik make their way to a prophetic meeting and a mysterious darkness is creeping inward from the horizon, further threatening the lives of all who remain.
Amid the devastation of his Georgia church, a Baptist minister comforts an orphaned girl suffering from amnesia. All she knows is her name. Together they confront the darkest of fears as they make their way to a gathering point for the remnants of society.
After a disastrous night of attacks at an abandoned airfield, a group of survivors plans its exodus. But their hopes are dashed when an autocratic leader arrives to seize control. Fears are one thing, but could this man represent something far worse?
“The thing’s mouth was open wide, as if it had unhinged like a snake’s. Inside were row after row of sharpened teeth, an obscenely pulsating tongue darting over them. Everything–the creature’s teeth, its lips, its cheeks–were stained red, smeared with blood, extravagant amounts of blood. Blood dripped from its chin, blood ran down its neck, soaked into its soiled white shirt. It twisted its head at them, gnashed its teeth, and blood flew in a speckled foam from it.”
This is just over 100 pages, so I’ll do my best to keep this short. And as much as I try to avoid spoilers in my reviews, please be warned that there may be a few in this if you haven’t read the previous two installments because it’s quite difficult to do when you’re elbows deep in the trenches. Alright?
“The world was on fire, flames stretching across the landscape, receding into the distance. It looked as if they had driven directly to the gates of Hell.”
Air & Dust starts where Water & Wind left off, mainly focusing on Mark (the Reverend) & Monday (the mysterious amnesiac.) They find themselves at an abandoned military base, Camp Straggalot, with roughly 200 other survivors who have set up camps in tents & any other structures they were able to locate. They have no power, no cell phone signal, no radio & what little supplies they’ve managed to scrounge up aren’t going to last long. Plus there is the slight matter of Monday & the fact that she has no discernible injury & may or may not be telling the whole truth about what happened to her before the hurricane.
It was the worst of times, it was the end of times. Supervolcanoes, devil dogs, plagues, riots, tornadoes, planes falling from the sky, vampires, swamp monsters, floods, shadow people, werewolves, a thick band of darkness creeping across the land, murderous campers & even NAZIS. This is brutal, gory & oh-so demented! Goddamn.
These books read incredibly fast, not only because they are short, but the frenetic pacing is like a blunt force to the face. Over & over again. Although Air & Dust does slow down the action in the beginning, it never feels like there is a lull with the storytelling. Taff expertly moves pieces of the puzzle into place, carrying the story forward & building the anticipation of what is to come, but allowing the characters a moment to breathe.
Not only are these some of the best novellas I’ve ever read, but The Fearing is one of the most incredible apocalyptic stories out there!
Just.. hurry up & get The Fearing shoved into your eye holes already! What the hell have you been waiting for? The finale is coming next month!
(Big thanks to Grey Matter Press for sending me a copy!)
**The quotes above were taken from an ARC & are subject to change upon publication**