So way back over a year ago, we had a little podcast. An interview with then new author Mike Catalano on his debut Dropping Fear. Mike is a good friend; we met through Arrow In The Head when he was a news editor. I was very excited to chat to him about his book, I picked up a copy and away I went. Unfortunately life can be crazy, and my life has been insane this past year. I read Mike’s book but I kept putting this review on the backburner. Well I recently picked it up again and gave it a second read through. So as part of 31 Days Of Horror, I present you this write up.
Dropping Fear is without question a horror novel, but not the typical kind. This is far different than anything else I have read, it touches upon all sorts of issues that aren’t tackled enough within the genre and medium if you ask me. The story centers on Will, a young man with a wife Kerri. The couple are desperately trying to conceive, and when all else fails a miracle of sorts suddenly falls into their lap. A new doctor promises he has the answers and assures them that Kerri will get pregnant. Sure enough it happens, after a procedure but Kerri isn’t quite right. In fact she has crazy homicidal urgers. Does this have anything to do with Will’s past? His father locked away for a bunch of murders, is it in the genes or is there something else at play? Well you’ll need to read this to find out!
From the get go with the violent and shocking start this book aims to grab the audience and pull them in. It works; I was in such shock that I couldn’t wait to read more. The sequence is something that I could picture so easily; just so wonderfully written I was impressed. The set up to introduce the characters and scenario was well done; I liked them instantly and become sympathetic to their problems. They are real problems, and there was something very person laid within the lines. Write what you know and write it well, that is what Catalano has done with this. It did not feel silly or anything of the sort, it was just handled with such care. The fears of not being able to conceive and the doubts that follow are very real for a lot of people. It made for an interesting premise, but it also played to some very scary fears.
Once the pregnancy is set up, the feel that something is not quite right rings so loudly. Once Kerri begins to show signs of not being herself, it is obvious this is more than just out of control hormones. Certainly a metaphor for the changes women under go as well as all the emotions that goes with it. I liked that about this book, and I was impressed with how well it came across. Of course the metaphors don’t stop there, you have the fear of parenthood, fear of how to raise the child and so forth. The blend of all this with the horror was great; it was a scary but awesome ride.
The conclusion was a good one, and Catalano certainly knows how to build suspense and keep things interesting. The influences for certain things here are very much apparent and a nice homage as well. I would rather not spoil those things; they are fun to pick up. In all this was a great read and just a fabulous piece for a debut. Well done Mike, I am so proud of what you have accomplished my friend!