Short Sharp Shocks! #45
Steve Stred: The One That Knows No Fear
Reviewed By Gavin Kendall
Steve is an author on the up. I’ve followed his career since book 1 and take great pride in calling him my friend.
Steve writes from the heart with characters you care for in situations that feel painfully real, and then the twisted horrors start to creep in.
This latest novella ticks all the boxes for all you #StredHeads out there, although I should add this is surprisingly tame in its gore compared to previous titles.
I loved the characters in this short but felt they needed more flesh on their bones. For me, there were gaps in the relationship details and occasional time jumps that I’d have appreciated filling out. What we have are the very basic elements of a relationship between a young boy and his stepfather. A relationship that flits from loving to hateful with alarming ease. It’s here that I’d like more back story, the transition from negative to positive seemed jarring to me. I appreciate the kid wants to be loved and the stepfather probably sees him as a hindrance but Steve usually writes characters so well that in this story I was a little disappointed in their interactions. It was all a little too convenient for the sake of the story.
In fact, I’d have liked this to be bulked out to a novel. All the pieces are solid and plotted well enough to work as a Short Sharp Shock! but this particular reader wanted to know more about these characters and of the mythology of the horrors revealed as the story progressed.
Steve nailed the excitement of the show, the sights, sounds and smells. I was there in the crowd watching The One That Knows No Fear with Timmy. I too winced as the bike crashed and of course, reacted as Timmy did at the events that subsequently unfolded. But like the relationship between Timmy and his stepfather, the story did feel a little forced in moving from event to event. I’d have liked a little bit more where and why. The One That Knows no Fear could almost be a few chapters from a much larger piece of work. I’d elaborate but I wouldn’t want to spoil what is an entertaining and original read
This may read like a negative review but it’s anything but. Steve has created an ambitious story I wanted more of. Characters I wanted to know more about and a Daredevil I want to see jump over flaming buses several more times.
EDIT: Since I wrote this review, I have spoken with Steve and it transpires that The One That Knows No Fear is, in fact, a version of a story edited down from a longer piece. Whether that original manuscript answers a few of my issues remains to be seen.
The One That Knows No Fear
The One That Knows No Fear: stuntman extraordinaire. For young Timmy Wilson, this stuntman is his only reason for living. Every Saturday he watches as The One That Knows No Fear cheats death. Now, the stunt show is coming to his hometown and Timmy can’t wait to watch him perform in person.
A coming-of-age, cosmic horror story set in the 1970s, The One That Knows No Fear will keep your heart pounding long after the stunt has finished.
Steve Stred Talks To Demain Publishing
(Originally featured on the Demain Publishing Blog 28th November 2019 HERE)
DEMAIN PUBLISHING: Welcome to Demain Steve, for those that don’t yet know you, can you tell us a little about yourself and how / why you became a writer.
STEVE STRED: Hello! My name is Steve Stred and I’m an author who writes bleak, dark fiction. I live in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, where I’ve now been for just over 3 years. I was born in a very small town in remote British Columbia. I’ve only been focusing on my writing for the last 4 or so years after my athletic career ended. My day to day job is that of a Certified Canadian Pedorthist. What this means is that after graduating with my Bachelors Degree in Kinesiology, I did another 3 years specifically being trained to assess peoples lower body mechanics and foot mechanics so that I can assess, design and manufacture Custom Made Foot Orthotics, Custom Made Shoes and Custom Shoe Modifications. I’m married to my fantastic wife Amanda and we have a 10-year-old fur kid named OJ and a 3-year-old human kid named Auryn!
DP: Ah, sounds a busy life. And your Short Sharp Shocks!?
SS: The One That Knows No Fear is a dark coming of age story set in the 70s about a young kid who wants to connect with his stepdad. They find this connection watching a Daredevil stunt TV show. When the show comes to town, they go to watch it. I really love this piece.
DP: Yes, we could tell that for sure and we think that many readers will really connect with it. Who is your protagonist?
SS: This story really focuses on our young main character. This is a boy who wishes for that father figure to be in his life and because it’s not there, he attaches to this specific Daredevil, the one they call ‘The One That Knows No Fear.’ He is really an innocent kid who just wants to believe that adults are saints, which we all know is far from the truth.
DP: That’s true…did you have to do much research?
SS: Not to any extent. I did do some searching on well-known stunt people from that era. Everyone knows Knievel, but who else was out there risking it. The 70s were many years before 24-hour news channels, X-Games, the internet – these were really figures who risked it without ever really being known.
DP: Yeap, they did, that’s so true. Perhaps there’s a documentary idea there…did you find any of the scenes difficult to write?
SS: One in particular. Staying spoiler-free but there’s a moment where our young one experiences a moment of horrible internal pain because of his stepdad and that choked me up. Kids are kids. Having a three-year-old, I see already just how much he’s put his trust and love into me and my wife. So, that was a tough one.
DP: I bet, I bet. Creatively what would you say was your biggest success?
SS: Two things easily. The first is the Ladies of Horror Fiction Writer’s Grant that I was able to help develop and facilitate this past year. It’s working towards an annual thing and behind the scenes I’m already working to get the next book completed to help offset costs. The first winner, Carina Bissett, messaged me to tell me what she was doing with the cash and I was blown away. She used the money she was awarded to host a writing seminar so other women writers could work towards achieving their dreams. The second is through writing, releasing and reviewing books, I’ve connected with a lot of great people and been able to work hard to support them, lift them up – create a positive environment. The world of athletics can be very hard and isolating. When my time ended there, I made sure to keep focusing on building people up!
DP: Yes, and you’ve certainly been successful there – we were certainly aware of Steve Stred before we actually started communicating! What books (or authors) have influenced you?
SS: I read a lot! As of writing this I’ve read 180 books this year haha! I don’t think anything I read influences me. I think I’ve developed my own writing voice and really just work hard to refine and get better all the time. I have a really solid team behind me – David Sodergren copy-edits, Mason McDonald does 90% of my covers and my sister Jodi typically reads my stuff first to let me know if it sucks – so they all help to keep me improving. From the authors I read, I look for how the person acts in the social media world. I’ve made some outstanding friends through this journey, all of whom are themselves world-class writers.
DP: Is there a book/film which you’re looking forward to seeing / reading?
SS: Right now – Andrew Pyper’s next release! Pyper is my all-time fav author and through social media, I’ve had the great fortune of even connecting with him. He’s indicated a new release next year so I’m down-right giddy. Otherwise – also looking forward to what David Sodergren, Andrew Cull & JH Moncrieff have in the pipeline!
DP: Again, some great names. Finally then Steve, what does ‘horror’ mean to you?
SS: Everything. An escape. Hurt, sorrow, fear, being unnerved, turning on the lights, bawling your eyes out after the author kills a character, not seeing stuff coming, watching an idea be implemented and then executed with joy and gusto. Horror, to me, is the glue that connects me to the best people in the world.
Steve Stred writes dark, bleak horror fiction.
Steve is the author of three novels, a number of novellas and four collections.
He is proud to work with the Ladies of Horror Fiction to facilitate the Annual LOHF Writers Grant.
Steve is also a voracious reader, reviewing everything he reads and submitting the majority of his reviews to be featured on Kendall Reviews.
Steve Stred is based in Edmonton, AB, Canada and lives with his wife, his son and their dog OJ.
You can follow Steve on Twitter @stevestred
You can follow Steve on Instagram @stevestred
You can visit Steve’s Official website here
I’m living in the South-East of England between London and Brighton. I’ve been married to Laura since 2000 and have two daughters. (Emily & Freya). I’ve always had a passion for horror and decided, as a hobby, that I’d like to create a blog to showcase this fascination with the darker genres.
I started Kendall Reviews in January 2017, initially to host my reviews of books and music that I had in my sizeable collections. Pretty quickly, this became a passion project and morphed into a blog that wanted to help PROMOTE HORROR.
I want to thank all the people that interact with the blog and of course to the rest of the Kendall Reviews team.
Please find all my contact details here