Somewhere I'd seen this unlauded - and seemingly unloved - horror paperback (it features no critical blurbs whatsoever) on a list of forgotten-but-good horror novels of the 1980s. But I beg to differ, whoever composed said list: R. Patrick Gates's first novel Fear should be forgotten for good. With its ridiculously generic title, clunky pacing, boring plot, inept characterization of kids and their abusive parents, idiot dope-smoking teens, elementary-school level intro to psychic phenomena, pretentious prologue and epilogue which reference Adam, Eve, and the serpent... where do I stop? Along with the author's rudimentary attempts, and wholly successful failures, at engendering said fear in its readers, it is horror fiction at ebb tide, where you can see all the wreckage that better writers rejected.
And last but not least, its most egregious failure is the always-unwelcome '80s trope of sibling incest (He turned and walked out of the bathroom, but not before he stole one more glance at his sister's tight buttocks). Fear not, fair reader, I read this stuff - or skim, to save eyeballs and brain - so you don't have to. Fear is an utter travesty. Avoid at all costs. Blue-black skulls ain't so bad, though.
Hold the phone...
2 hours ago