Archive for August 3, 2011

Book Review – Fear Me by Tim Curran

August 3, 2011 Leave a comment

Book Description:

Shaddock Valley. A maximum security prison that houses the worst of the worst: drug gangs, psychopaths, rapists, gangters, and outlaw bikers. In a place like that, a skinny little kid like Danny Palmquist doesn’t stand a chance. It doesn’t take long before the hardtimers move in on him.

Then they begin to die horribly. In locked cells.

When the lights go out at Shaddock Valley, the nightmare begins. When Danny Palmquist goes to sleep, something else wakes up.

Something primeval. Something bloodthirsty.

And if you mess with Danny Palmquist, it will find you. And in the darkness, nothing can save you.


Tim Curran’s horror novella Fear Me is not my usual kind of read. My friend told me that it can be filed under the Splatter punk horror sub-genre (Wikipedia defines this as “a movement within horror fiction distinguished by its graphic, often gory, depiction of violence“). I’ve never read anything like this before, but since I received it as a ‘joke’ gift, I thought, why not? I’m not averse to the horror genre, although I’ve always leaned more towards the more subtle and suspenseful kind of horror fiction.

The book is told from the point of view of Romero, an inmate at the maximum security prison Shaddock Valley. A hardened criminal himself, Romero unexpectedly finds himself softening at the arrival of Danny Palmquist – a scrawny helpless boy who Romero knows will be easy prey in the brutal prison jungle. Romero struggles within himself (does he protect or ignore the boy?), but then it becomes evident that Danny may already have some kind of supernatural protection. A series of prison inmates who have messed around with Danny are brutally killed while locked in their cells (or solitary confinement) – and the kills are all definitely deadly vicious, gory and with enough gut- & blood-spattering to satisfy any Splatter punk enthusiast (I guess).

Tim Curran does a good job with illustrating the seething violence and brutality of a maximum security prison – I could visualize the dead-eyed prisoners, the angry guards, see and smell and feel how the whole setting has dehumanized everyone in Shaddock Valley. The character of Romero provided a good counterpoint to all that hopelessness – as something decent is awakened within him even as everyone else is caught up in horror and fear.

Surprisingly, I wasn’t really grossed out by all the gory depictions of death and violence, and I wasn’t really scared either – so maybe I just get more affected by psychological horror.  But then, I was pretty upset with a scene from the YA horror fiction The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey (when the investigators were going through the aftermath of a monster attack on a family) – so maybe it’s just that I didn’t care much about the victims this time around. The victims in Fear Me all seem to be the very definition of ‘scum of the earth’ (so I wasn’t too bothered by their passing), plus I couldn’t help but be sensitized after a while. I mean, there’s a limit to the number of ways you can illustrate a gory kill.

After reading Fear Me , my conclusion is that while Splatter punk may not be my cup of tea, I do think that someone who likes this genre would be satisfied by it. The book is gritty and raw (the writing has a noir quality to it, but with a lot more swearing) and Curran does a great job with imagery.

Fear Me by Tim Curran is available on Amazon as a Kindle Edition ($4.99).

You can also get the ebook at the Apple iBookstore and Barnes and Noble.

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