Fearless: Ashley Lister
Reviewed By Steve Stred
Sometimes the synopsis of a book from an author you’ve not read before is enough of a hook to draw you in. This one certainly caught my attention and I was more than happy to have an ARC emailed over when it was offered in the Kendall Reviews Group Chat.
What I liked: Fearless itself is marketed as a book about two professors who’ve developed a way to rid people of their fears. It’s partly true. I was expecting something significantly different when I started this novella.
In truth, we have three narratives. The first is of Doctor Ellie Greene who wakes up at the university. She’s fallen asleep while working on a project. While leaving, she stops an assault in progress from a deranged Professor Walker. This begins a storyline where Walker is trying to kill Ellie. The second plot point is Robert and Graham trying to showcase their experiment that has stopped peoples ability to have Fear. The third is a trio of random people who’ve received a message from a ouija board for Ellie.
Lister keeps the three narratives weaving back and forth and it was interesting seeing how some of the puzzle pieces worked together and how they clicked into place.
What I didn’t like: For most of the novella I found that the story of Walker was a poorly executed bumbling police procedural. It was tough to get a read on it when Walker seemingly escaped the cops and then hid in the university. As well the trio and the ouija board frequently disrupting the rest of the story and I didn’t see any point for them to even be there. The random sex scene was completely unnecessary and really created a strange roadblock for the overall flow.
Why you should buy this: The premise was intriguing but I think for me this suffered due to the small page count. Plotlines didn’t get the room to breathe that I think they should’ve. Saying that, some of the ideas in here were great and I was riveted throughout wanting to see how it all came together.
Mileage may vary on this one, but if you’re looking for a fast, single sitting tension-filled novella, this will tick all of those boxes.
Innsmouth University is a place with a sinister past and a terrifying present.
Two brilliant students, involved in illicit and unethical practices, believe they have found a cure for fear. The unwitting subjects of their experiments are subjected to a range of horrors as the students try to discover if it is possible for any individual to be truly fearless.
Steve Stred is the author of a number of novels, novellas and collections. He has appeared in anthologies with some of Horror’s heaviest hitters.
He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada with his wife, son and their dog OJ.
You can follow Steve on Twitter @stevestred
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