The Fear in Yesterday's Rings
Comments from George C. Chesbro
An apt example of how bad things happening to writers can be a very good thing.

One evening I was on my way, on foot, to a party hosted by friends who lived in a rented bungalow on a rather large estate. I was walking across the landlord's property on my way to the bungalow when two white, spectral shapes bounded off the porch of the mansion's entrance, glided through the moonlight and proceeded to circle me. The dogs did not bark, indeed made hardly any sound at all (however, by then my internal sound card may have shorted out, so I can't be sure). I stopped walking and stood very still. The dogs made no move to attack, did not even growl; they just kept circling me. A few moments later a man carrying a shotgun appeared out of the darkness to challenge me. I explained I was on my way to a party in a tenant's bungalow and held up my gift-wrapped bottle of wine. His response was to chuckle and ask me if I had been frightened. I honestly didn't know; what I did know is that I was mighty pissed, and wasn't about to give him the satisfaction of telling him I'd been frightened by his dogs. I told him no, that his dogs were obviously well trained, and I went on my way.

At the party I related the incident that had just occurred, and one guest's face went pale. He asked me if I knew what kind of dogs I had encountered and I replied, well, no. The dogs were, it was explained to me, Kuvasz, specially bred over centuries by sheepherders to protect sheepdogs from wolves. In my friend's opinion, I was lucky not to have had my throat torn out.

Now that, I thought, was good stuff indeed. That encounter formed the germ of the idea that developed into The Fear in Yesterday's Rings.

A rash of hideous killings throughout the Great Plains seizes the imagination of the more lurid tabloid newspapers, which bray WEREWOLF! Hunters and gun buffs have been torn to shreds and partially devoured.

Mongo finds himself in the heartland on a mission of mercy for old friend Phil Statler, former owner of the Statler Brothers Circus. Many years ago, Phil spirited young Robert Frederickson away from a painful childhood in Nebraska and secured him fame as the star acrobat "Mongo the Magnificent." Mongo, now in league with Harper Rhys-Whitney, a snake charmer of seductive beauty and diminutive stature, backed financially by an entire Florida town of wealthy ex-circus freaks, hopes to buy back the circus from the mysterious new owners and restore Statler as its head.

But the trail of the circus and the trail of the "werewolf" cross. Behind the scenes at the big top, Mongo encounters a pair of outlandish international criminals---a brilliant genetics scientist and a wild animal trainer of uncanny talents. Surely it's not a coincidence that corpses, not just handbills and popcorn boxes, are left in the wake of this traveling show.

Once the star, Mongo finds himself back in the center the Deadliest Show on Earth.

---From the dustjacket of the Mysterious Press edition
Quotes from the novel
  • I'd definitely had just about enough of dread and circuses... -Mongo
  • "I think somebody here woke up on the wrong side of the elephant." -Garth

  • "Mongo always acts like this when he thinks there's some beastie that wants to eat him. He can't take pressure." -Garth

  • "With all the remarkable things you've accomplished in your life, don't you think it's past time you stopped worrying about being a dwarf?" -Harper Rhys-Whitney

Copyright © 2018, Hunter Goatley. All rights reserved.
Last updated 25-MAR-2018 21:42:05.67.