Review: The Fearing, Book Three: Air & Dust by John F.D. Taff

Cover of The Fearing Book Three Air and Dust by John F. D. TaffThe Fearing, Book Three: Air & Dust by John F.D. Taff
Grey Matter Press (October 2019)

320 pages; $9.99 paperback; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Sadie “Mother Horror” Hartmann

It’s hard to believe that we’re here. We’ve arrived at Book Three in The Fearing series by John F. D. Taff. There’s only one left! I freely admit, this makes me a little sad. I’m also wondering, is there anyone out there that hasn’t heard of this series? I’ll pretend for a moment that if you’re reading this review, you know nothing about it and this will make me excited to convince you of its epic awesomeness.

So far, Books One and Two introduced us to a cast of characters who woke up one day only to have their normal lives interrupted by a fierce storm. Rain, thunder and lightning, tornadoes, floods, yes! But also a storm of terror. Demons, zombies, snakes, vampires, literally everyone’s worst, imagined nightmares. In just a matter of a couple hundred pages, Taff has put his characters—his well-developed, flesh-and-blood characters that readers especially care about—through some pretty horrific tragedies. It hasn’t been without some great loss and some near misses.

Book Three picks up with characters we met in the previous book: Reverend Mark and Monday, a young girl he has taken under his wing. Taff lifts the veil to shed a little light on Monday’s perplexing condition, but only enough to generate more curiosity about her; it will be exciting to get a full revelation in the next book. I’m sure readers have theories!

To talk about Reverend Mark and Monday’s experience at a supposed safe haven would be to disclose too much of the reader’s discovery. It’s my opinion that interested fans of apocalyptic horror should go into this blind, or just entice oneself with the brief synopsis from the back of the book. This review won’t be delving too far into plot details. It could be said of Book Three that it’s a titch slow but we’re all familiar with the saying, “The calm before the storm.” Taking into consideration the entire scope of the story, we’ve been ramping up to a climax with non-stop action since we ventured out on this journey with Taff. Air & Dust isn’t slow, it’s a reprieve! 

I would like to use this opportunity to encourage fans waiting for Book Four before jumping into the whole series: There’s something special about reading the conclusion alongside fellow readers who have been with you, experiencing everything you have, along the way. A reader’s pact. A feeling of unity. I first felt this with Stephen King’s Dark Tower series. When Book Seven came out, it united all the Constant Readers together from across multiple generations. Folks who started with The Gunslinger when it first came out and folks who had only just completed Book Six. We all read The Dark Tower together and it was everyone’s first time. It was magical. I urge you to buy The Fearing books 1-3 now, get caught up and join in on the final book experience with us. We won’t have that opportunity again. Taff is bringing the Fear, ALL OF IT. We should endure it together.

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