Thursday, 20 October 2011

Book Review: Fear in Appleton by J.Stephen Howard

Fear in AppletonI used to read Dean Koontz, Stephen King, James Herbert and similar when I was in my teens, then for no good reason just stopped. No idea why. However lately I've been getting back into horror as a genre. This book sounded creepy and worth a read.

Professor Terrance Crawford is overwhelmed by his fears. Towards the end of his life he starts a largely unrequited affair with a student, Angela Lacey, and when he dies this propels him to start making others face their fears, with terrible consequences.

The first part of the book is written from his point of view, allowing the reader to understand what drives him. A number of people in the town of Appleton find themselves driven mad by their deepest fears, and the chapters are almost a series of short stories with a connecting thread. The second part of the book comes from Angela's viewpoint, detailing events as she tries to stop the events as they come to a head.

I really liked the first part and found the stories behind the characters selected by Prof. Crawford varied and that had me hooked. The whole feeling was eerie and disconcerting, and Crawford's descent into madness was well charted. The second part was good but without the input from the perpetrator I found myself wondering at points what exactly was supposed to have happened. I also wasn't sure how I felt about Angela as a character. In places she felt cocky rather than confident, trying to analyse those around her, although as her family life was revealed and the story progressed she became more likable. There was a slightly gothic feel to the way the story was presented which I appreciated.

I thought this book was well-written and overall found it an enjoyable read that didn't take me long to get through as I read on to find out how the tale would end.

Format: Kindle, review copy
My Rating: 3*

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