Glenn Rolfe has certainly impressed with his previous releases - Abrams Bridge, Boom Town and more recently his debut novel Blood and Rain. I particularly enjoyed Boom Town; a Sci-Fi tinged read about a mysterious ooze threatening a small town. It was a quick but thoroughly entertaining read that made me sit up and take notice of Glenn Rolfe and mark him down as an author to watch.
I have always found the novella form to be the most enjoyable, within the horror genre. Characters need to be established and fleshed out quickly, dialogue needs to be crisp and there is not much time for world-building so the pacing needs to be quick and to the point. This brings us to Things We Fear-the latest novella to be released by Rolfe through Samhain publishing. Maine is the setting for this latest novella. The faculty of Farrington Elementary School are relieved of their duties for the summer-Emily Young and Aaron Jackson are becoming closer and closer but Emily is being stalked by psychotic Phys Ed Teacher Matt Holmes. Holmes is a serial rapist and a despicable character that you will soon discover a strong loathing for and credit to Rolfe for making me despise this character in such a short amount of time. Holmes develops an infatuation with Emily and will stop at nothing until she belongs to him. These three main characters form the backbone of the novella and are fleshed out well. There is a great connection between Aaron and Emily that make the scenes with Holmes all the more cringe worthy as he stalks the couple.
There is a definite old school feel about this novella. It isn’t an over the top gore fest. Instead, what we have is a tense, psychological thriller that builds steadily towards a fitting climax. I would like to see Rolfe push things a little bit more with his next release. As much as I did enjoy this novella, upon finishing it I did feel as though he played it a little safe. It’s a slow burner of a book that’s very enjoyable but just misses out on delivering the knockout punch to make it a five star read. Rolfe’s confidence with writing grows with each release. The characters are good, as is the pacing and the dialogue is crisp. It is another tick in the box for Glenn Rolfe – a writer whom I know I can rely on to deliver a great story. I will certainly be looking forward to his next release.