This review pains me to write. I’ve read and reviewed Rolfe’s Blood and Rain, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I can say the same for his Boom Town. Unfortunately, I can’t give my seal of approval for Things We Fear. I don’t feel like I’d be doing anyone a favor by sugar-coating my honest opinion, so here it is.
Things We Fear is a pretty paint-by-numbers, Lifetime movie-ish story about Aaron, Emma, and Matt. Aaron is the new teaching assistant that has the hots for Emma, the teacher in the classroom he’s an assistant for. She plays it cool all year and Aaron doesn’t think she has anything in return for him. Then school lets out for the summer and, low and behold, she begins showing an interest and love starts to blossom. Enter Matt, the Phys Ed teacher who not only is a real meathead and arrogant prick that things he’s god’s gift to women, he also has a real problem being told no by them. So much so, that he’s got a few buried at a desolate place by a paper mill. Talk about your bad date. Well guess what? That’s right, he’s got his eye on Emma and doesn’t like that, not only is she not reciprocating, but that she’s got her eye on Aaron. Three guesses what happens next.
And here lies the start of my problems with Things We Fear. The plot is bland and extremely predictable. The characters are paper thin. The only one with a a half-way fleshed out background is Aaron and the fact that he fears the water is paraded as a main plot point in the story. The problem is that it really doesn’t matter. He could be afraid of bunny rabbits and it really wouldn’t change the story that much. We are also introduced to some auxiliary characters that seem like they were added at the last second to plug some plot holes and show up a little too conveniently like the Calvary coming to save the day. Last, but certainly not least, a murky attempt at explaining Aaron’s fear by way of a hallucination with a Cthulhu-like creature really muddies the already dirty water.
Now, if this sounds like I’m bashing Rolfe, it’s not meant to. Glenn is a good author – a damn good one. I’ve read his good stuff and I know that I’ll read many more of his that I will thoroughly enjoy. This one simply wasn’t him firing on all cylinders.
2 Jealous Stalkers out of 5
** I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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