"[A] fast and precise thriller". Kirkus
"Short but powerful, Cook takes the reader on an action-packed, tension-filled ride....A page-turner." BookMooch
"A true dark classic of Australian literature."J. M. Coetzee on Wake in Fright
"A kind of outback Lord of the Flies." Crime Time UK on Wake in Fright
From the author of Wake In Fright comes this chilling short novel that's part Wolf Creek and part Duel .
A young man driving from Sydney to Adelaide for work decides to take a short detour into the desert. He turns his hatchback on to a notoriously dangerous track that bisects uninhabited stone-covered flats. Out there, under the baking sun, people can die within hours.
He's not far along the road when a distraught young woman stumbles from the scrub and flags him down. A journalist from Sydney, she has just escaped the clutches of an inexplicable, terrifying creature.
Now this desert-dwelling creature has her jeep. Her axe. And her scent . . .
Fear Is the Rider is a nail-biting chase into the outback, towards the devil lurking at its centre. Previously unpublished, the manuscript of this 1980s novella was recently discovered among Kenneth Cook's papers.
Wake In Fright was made into a film in 1971, arguably the greatest film ever made in Australia. Lost for many years, the restored film was screened in 2009 at New York's Film Forum and at Cannes, winning rave reviews in the New Yorker and elsewhere. Nick Cave called it "the best and most terrifying film about Australia in existence."
|Publisher:||Text Publishing Company|
|Product dimensions:||5.10(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.60(d)|
About the Author
Kenneth Cook’s classic novel Wake in Fright was published in 1961 and later made into an acclaimed film. Cook wrote more than twenty books in a variety of genres, and was well known in film circles as a scriptwriter and independent film-maker. He died in 1987, aged fifty-seven. Fear Is the Rider is a previously unpublished manuscript from the early 1980s that was recently rediscovered among his papers.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
“Shaw could see the town for half an hour before he arrived, far across the morning sun-washed plain of sparse saltbush. From a distance, resting in the shimmering heat haze it looked exotic and interesting, but as he drove in it became the usual dull, dirty, despairing outback township” Fear is the Rider is the 16th novel to be published by Australian journalist, film director, screenwriter, TV personality and novelist, Kenneth Cook. While the novel was written in 1982, starting off as a television script which never went to air, the novel’s manuscript was only recently discovered among his papers. John Shaw is driving his Honda Civic along a remote unsealed desert road somewhere between Sydney and Adelaide when a young woman, obviously distraught, runs toward him from the scrub. She flings herself into the passenger seat and urges him to drive away. Katie Alton tells him of her escape from a fearsome attacker, her tale borne out by the state of her clothing. Suddenly they find themselves speeding along the deeply rutted track between Yogabilla and Obiri, pursued by a ferocious madman in possession of, not only her axe, but more importantly, her (much superior) 4WD vehicle. In this short but powerful novel, Cook takes the reader on an action-packed, tension-filled ride. The premise (innocent protagonist/s on the run from an anonymous threat) may not original, but the execution of it is skilfully done. The characters are barely described; it is their reaction to their situation that is given prominence. Cook adeptly uses them to demonstrate the effects of fear and desperation on judgement, values and priorities. Cook’s descriptive passages are marvellously evocative: the heat and dust are almost palpable. “If you got out of the car the heat fell on you as though someone had thrown a bucket of dry hot water at you” and “The sand ridge ran from north to south, from horizon to horizon. To the west the plain spread like a giant half-plate. The sky, white with heat, lay clamped over the earth like a vast lampshade, the light at its centre the impossibly brilliant, burning lethal sun” are examples. Cook manages (perhaps unintentionally) to include some (blackly) humorous moments: several of the shotgun scenes as well as the travellers cheque debacle spring to mind. This adrenaline-fuelled drama builds to a heart-thumping climax. The era precludes the mention of mobile phones and GPS, but this would still make an excellent tele-movie. Definitely a page-turner.