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Publisher's Summary

It was a legend in Fear County. A hideous, flesh-eating creature - part snake, part earthbound demon - that feasted on the blood of innocent children in the cold black heart of the Tennessee backwoods.

But 10-year-old Jeb Sweeny knows the horrible stories are true.

His best friend Mandy just disappeared. He also knows that no one has ever had the courage to go after the monster and put an end to its raging, bestial hunger. Until now.

But evil is well-guarded. And for young Jeb Sweeny, who is about to cross over into the forbidden land of Fear County and the lair of the unknown, passage through the gates of hell comes with a terrible price: everlasting fear.

©1994 Ronald Kelly (P)2020 David N. Wilson

What listeners say about Fear

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Ronald Kelly is a hell of a storyteller.

A solid small town creature feature from Ronald Kelly. Ron is a great writer and a hell of a storyteller. The praise doesn't get much higher then that. I rated this one 4+ Stars on GoodReads but since I listened to the audio and the narration was so damn good and added much to the overall tone of the novel, I'm giving this one the full bump up to 5 Audible Stars.

7 people found this helpful

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What is FEAR? Is it a book?

FEAR
By Ronald Kelly

Sam Sweeny glanced back at the kudzu that almost swallowed him whole. Goose bumps pricked this muscular flesh.
“I don’t like this place. I don’t like it at all.”

What is FEAR?
Is it a situation?

10 year old Jeb Sweeny struggles through America’s heart-land with a father so shell-shocked from the war he’s been reduced mentally into his little brother. Jeb’s grandmother’s the head of the family guiding them through country threats of insane-asylums, deed-hungry bankers, lazy sherifs, orphanages, and town bullies.

This great-depression drama is cranked up-ward into horror by the appearance of a MONSTER: a demonic mix of snake & hell hound. The creature's hunting grounds include local farms & places people inhabit.

What is FEAR?
Is it a place?

FEAR is a very good book that suddenly becomes a very great book.
Half way through, our young hero, and a few unlikely companions, decide to travel to the place the snake-hell-hound came from. It came from a place named FEAR County.

Like following a yellow brick road, they are off to, well... not to meet the wizard, but a to meet a WITCH. A Witch who may, or who may not, help them.

What is FEAR?
Is it a thing?

The journey to FEAR County is full of strange dangerous THINGS. It’s an epic journey into enemy territory that hasn’t been tried since Frodo and Sam hiked into Mordor.

The whole tale is told with a heavy country twang much like the wonderful tales of “John and the Silver Guitar Strings”. Actually, though I dearly love the Silver String folklore stories, I wish they had been written as expertly as this book.

This is a truly delightful literary experience that takes you on an epic adventure to another time and a different land with characters you grow to love. After reading so much 'trite bunk' passed off as horror literature, it’s a pleasant surprise to read good literature that can horrify you.

I highly recommend this book.

5 people found this helpful

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Classic Horror

FEAR by Ronald Kelly is a horror classic that was way overdue to become available in audiobook format. FEAR did not disappoint, will be one of my regular listens on my audible app for years to come. An excellent classic horror story that demands multiple listens.

5 people found this helpful

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More of coming of age tale

Not a true horror story. but a good story. Don't get me wrong, there are monsters; traditional and monsters of men. The story is about a boy and his father and the journey the boy sets out on to destroy monsters and help his family and friends.

4 people found this helpful

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Not what I expected but a little gem on it's own.

When you read the "back of the book" you expect the story to go a certain way. For me, it did not.

However, if you are planning to listen to the story from the perspective of a 10 year old boy, growing up in the country about 50 years ago, then you will have a head start on liking it better.

Pretend the Narrator is telling a young person a scary bedtime story as if a 10 year old boy had told it to him - then you will be all in. Part folk tale, part fairy tale, part "the way things were". There - you have it. Be prepared to go a bit slower, think a bit differently and keep your mind open to surprises and you have what you need to listen to this tale.

I know I'll listen to it again...and maybe again.

3 people found this helpful

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I really enjoyed it.

really enjoy this book. did not want it to end. took my sweet time listening to it..

2 people found this helpful

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Thoroughly enjoyable!

This was such an entertaining story with such an amazing performance of a story teller! I truly enjoyed the entire book and loved the characters. There were so many different adventures; and each and every one was told without being redundant or hurried or dragged out. The entire book was paced quite well. I'm ADD and so it's difficult to find a good book that captures my attention and holds it like this one did for the length of time that it did. I completely enjoyed this author and look forward to reading more from him. I loved the "old fashioned" vibe. I loved the narrator who did such an excellent job with the different characters so that I could close my eyes and easily recognize them without their names being given to me. There were times that made me laugh and times that made me cry; however, that is the way of truly good book. I think I'll remember this book for a very long time.

2 people found this helpful

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Good spots, bad in otherd

I tried to enjoy this book but I struggled with the pacing and characters. this book strongly reminded me of it in many ways: the over-the-top evil bully, evil sherriff, cartoonishly evil magical racists, but it lacks non of the plot elements from it that make those things okay-namely, the psychic influence of it pacifying the town into ignoring the horribleness. Also the snake monster was boring and introduced immediately. big mistake for something that isn't a shapeshifter. I loved the journey through fear county, that was cool. lynching springs, the super racist town was cartoonish to the point where I wondered how any black person could have possibly survived the south. all in all 2/10, should have been in fear county quicker and hid the monster.

1 person found this helpful

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Worth it!

Slow to start but hang in there! Draws you in. And when it goes you don't want to stop.

1 person found this helpful

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Wow

This is such a great story. It has it all. It reminds me of a mix of Stand by Me and It with a mix of lord of the rings. All fantastic stories. It truly has it all. I wish there was more. One of my favorites to date

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Profile Image for MR J LAMBERT
  • MR J LAMBERT
  • 02-19-21

Atmospheric Southern Horror Beautifully Narrated

Fear is an atmospheric southern horror novel set just after the second world war. This was my first time listening to something by Ronald Kelly and I have to say I was really impressed. It's beautifully written and the characters really come to life.
At first I wasn't sure if I was going to like J. Rodney Turner's narration because he has a very deep distinctive voice, almost like a cowboy. By the time I got to the end, I realized that he's probably the ideal choice for this material. It was a pleasure to listen to.
Another quality presentation from Crossroad Press.
Highly recommended.