I normally hate horror, and for good reason. I. Am. A. Coward. I was one of the rare teens that did not enjoy the goosebumps series, and as far as I’m concerned that effing ventriloquist dummy can burn in hell! That being said, I really, really loved this book, Rising Fears by Michaelbrent Collings–even if I couldn’t bear to look at the cover and had to always lay it facing down. I mean, just look at that thing!
I won’t lie to you and say that it’s any kind of literary masterwork (I honestly wouldn’t like it if it was, I’m not a huge fan of literary fiction in the first place), but it is well crafted, and takes some risks with style that I wasn’t a fan of at first, but warmed up to as the book progressed. Collings characterizes his characters in a perfectly minimalist fashion, it doesn’t take many words for us to realize exactly who these characters are, and how they work.
Rising Fears is a one evening read, partially because it isn’t all that long, but also because if you don’t finish the book in one sitting, you will not be going to sleep. Not only because you want to know how it ends, but because you need to know how it ends.
The plot is simple, but actually pretty clever, everyone’s fears come to life and hunt them down. What sells the plot for me, however, is that it all ties in properly and makes sense. By the end not only will everything be properly revealed, but it will be done so in a way that satisfies the reader and starts the process of winding down the horror for the finale.
I would compare Rising Fears to M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs; but in a good way, not a bad way! Think back to the first time you saw Signs, it was creepy, and slowly built up that creepiness. Now remove the plot holes, and skip right to the moment where the alien gets beat up with a baseball bat. Remember how pumped you felt after that? How you went to bed knowing that if aliens did attack, they were all giant pussies and would get easily beaten down by a Louisville Slugger. That, and water, but that’s part of those pesky plot holes I told you to ignore.
That’s what reading Rising Fears is like. You take that same sense of dread, and build it up to a climax where you are left feeling satisfied rather than terrified. And perhaps for some that is a failure of a horror novel, but for someone like me, who is an abject coward, it’s perfect.
I highly recommend this book for anyone that’s into indie publishing, and also because Michaelbrent is a pleasant fellow, who deserves your money. I’m pretty skeptical whenever starting a new author, but I’ve been sold here, I can definitely count myself as a Michaelbrent fan.