Cover image for You don't scare me
You don't scare me
Farris, John.
Personal Author:
First hardcover edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Forge, [2007]

Physical Description:
302 pages ; 22 cm
General Note:
"A Tom Doherty Associates book."
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FICTION Adult Fiction Open Shelf

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Jubilation County, Georgia, Ten Years Ago:  Chase Emrick was fourteen when her mother married Crow Tillman. Maybe it was his creepy name, or his sinister good looks; maybe it was the glass eye with the bolt of lightning for a pupil that he kept covered with a black eye patch, or maybe it was the rattlesnake tattoo that curled around his left wrist onto his hand, but for some reason, Chase never trusted Crow. Then one terrifying night of horror proved what Chase had felt all along . . . Crow Tillman was pure evil. New Haven, Connecticut, Present Day: Crow Tillman is ten years dead, but he hasn't stopped haunting Chase Emrick. Everyone she's ever been close to suffers horrible fates, leaving Chase all alone in this world. Haunted by Crow, she has spent the last ten years of her life proving mathematically that a dimension lies unseen in our reality - one where the dead can inflict their will on the living: a netherworld of horror where Crow Tillman is in complete control.            Adam Cameron is a campus cop, and he's utterly smitten by Chase's frailty, beauty, and genius. But getting close to Chase drags Adam into a world he didn't bargain for and head to head with the essence of evil and the reality of death. There is only one way to get Crow Tillman to leave Chase alone: To battle him, you must first die. 

Author Notes

John Farris was born in Jefferson City, Missouri in 1936. He attended Southwestern College in Memphis. He sold his first novel the summer after he graduated from high school, in 1955. His other books include King Windom, The Long Light of Dawn, The Captors, Nightfall, Dragonfly, Elvisland, Phantom Nights, and Before the Night Ends.

Many of his books were adapted into movies. Harrison High was adapted into the film Because They're Young in 1960 and When Michael Calls was adapted in 1969. The Fury was the basis for the 1978 film, which Farris wrote the screenplay. He wrote and directed the film Dear Dead Delilah in 1972.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Mama has been widowed for three years when she marries twice-divorced druggie and domestic abuser Crow Tillman in a casino, literally sickening her 14-year-old daughter, Chase, and throwing younger son Jimmy into a tailspin retreat to his tree house. Ten years after Crow tragically goes off the deep end, former New Haven Divinity School student-turned-campus-cop Adam Cameron crushes big time on math grad student Chase, whom he rescues from an oncoming bus. Chase has fits of blepharospasm--dangerous, post-traumatic episodes that leave her unable to open her eyes for two or three minutes. The long-dead Crow haunts her, and that has induced her to formulate mathematical theories of unseen dimensions that control reality. When the only way to loosen Crow's hold on Chase is to battle him in the netherworld, Adam takes up the gauntlet. Veteran horror master Farris puts new readers and established fans on the edge of their seats via compelling characterization and ratcheting up the tension at every turn of a well-crafted plot. --Whitney Scott Copyright 2007 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

A young woman's tussle with a malignant predator from beyond the grave drives this bold new supernatural thriller from bestseller Farris (Phantom Nights). In the early chapters, which crackle with electrifying suspense, Chase Emrick recounts her terrifying childhood abduction by her creepy stepfather, Crow Tillman, who commits suicide and nearly takes her to the afterlife with him. Now a math student at Yale, Chase finds herself constantly fending off attacks from Crow as he distills his evil essence into a variety of menacing forms in order to reclaim her. Realizing her only hope is to beat him on his own turf, Chase debarks for the Netherworld of the dead for a final showdown. Once in the Netherworld, the narrative shifts into film-script form, an audacious but not entirely effective trick, and it nearly dissipates the story's hitherto relentless momentum. To Farris's credit, he redeems the tale with a killer ending that shows why he's still one of the most dependable writers of horror working today. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Chase Emrick is a young woman haunted by the spirit of her dead stepfather, the terrifying Crow Tilman. Adam Cameron is a Yale campus cop who falls for Chase and tries to free her from Crow's malevolence. Despite blurbs from Dean Koontz, Stephen King, and F. Paul Wilson, this Southern Gothic novel transplanted to New York and New Haven, CT, would not be a good choice for a first-time reader of the award-winning Farris's horror novels (e.g., The Fury). From the over-the-top villain to the strangely inconsistent protagonists, the characters are poorly realized. An entire subplot regarding mathematical proof of the existence of the afterlife seems to exist solely as an excuse to show that Chase is at Yale. Farris's purple prose distracts from the tension of key scenes, as does his use of literary tricks. He eschews quotation marks in chapter-length flashbacks and the climactic confrontation in the Netherworld, and the latter is sprinkled with confusing screenplay-style camera angles and scene transitions. Readers new to Farris will certainly be skittish about sampling any of his other works. Not recommended.-Karl G. Siewert, Tulsa City-Cty. Lib., OK (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Chapter One The first time Mama brought Crow Tillman around to the house, about three weeks after she'd met him, it was clear she already was head-over-heels. He hugged her a lot and gave her little kisses that had her simpering and said how glad he was to finally meet us. Us being me and my brother Jimmy. This was October, and about three years to the day they'd put Daddy in the ground. I didn't know what to think of Crow Tillman at first. Didn't much care for his name, that was for sure. "Crow." Wasn't short for anything, or if it was, he never said. That's the name went on their marriage license later on. Too soon to suit Jimmy and me. Anyway, he was tall, maybe six-two. Raven hair that he wore like an Indian, combed straight back and down over his shirt collar. Thick enough that he didn't have to gel or spray it. Said he had Choctaw blood. No reason to doubt him. He was plenty good-looking. The black eye patch didn't detract from his looks. He was lean and looked strong. A sharp dresser except for a ratty Richard Petty-style rancher's straw with a couple kitchen matches stuck in the band. He wore starched pressed Wranglers and rattlesnake-skin boots. There were little gold chains across the insteps. He wore gold chains around his neck and three gold rings. Only one tat, unless there were others in places I'd never see. But that tattoo was scary. What happened to your eye? I asked him right off. Mama just took a deep breath and held it. But I'd always spoke exactly what was on my mind, and at fourteen I wasn't about to change. Lost it when I was ridin bulls in the PBR, Crow said. Did I say he smiled a lot? Too much, I was thinking. People who smiled all the time, in my estimation, didn't have a lot of humor in them. As we all learned later, that went double for Crow. And, as I heard later, he never was a bull rider. It was the point of a bowie knife in a bar fight that took out his eye. That's the way we learned about Crow, too late to save any of us: bits and pieces, rumors vague and rumors far-fetched. But they were all Jimmy and me had to go on; he wasn't forthcoming about any aspect of his life. What's the patch for? I said. Don't you have a glass eye? Now Chase, Mama pleaded. Crow's smile got bigger. Surely do. Want a see it? Jimmy and me both nodded. Mama halfway turned her back. He raised up the patch. Now that was the damnedest sight I'd seen in a long while. Jimmy gasped. It was a round glass eye; not much eyelid to cover it. So the eye just stared at you. The pupil was yellow. And on it, like a white scar, there was a bolt of lightning engraved. I looked at Mama like, Get rid of him, fast. I mean what kind of man spends money on an eye like that? Same kind, I suppose, has a coiled rattlesnake tattooed on the back of his left hand. That moved like it was fixing to strike when he made a fist a certain way. Mama looked anxious to get Crow out of the house now that the formalities were out of the way, go someplace where she could dote on him in private. I knew he had to be screwing her silly. Maybe I was only fourteen but I already knew how it went. I felt cold in the pit of my stomach thinking about that rattlesnake hand on her. What kind a work do you do? I asked. I own some properties, Crow Tillman said. Pays me a tidy sum. If it hadn't dawned on me before this, I sure had him pegged now. What he really wanted with Mama, what he truly was looking for. Turned out I was only half right. Before they went on their way for a night of line dancing at Cowboys and then to whatever motel Crow was staying at, we had to go outside to see his new truck, then admire his damn dog that was tied in the truck bed. Tied for a good reason. It was a scruffy mean-looking cuss. Black and tan with a chow ruff and probably weighed close to eighty pounds. What's his name? Angel, Crow said, and laughed. Then he said, Angelpie's what ye call a three-chaw dog. Yeah? Meanin if he bites ye three times you're as good as dead. Then he called me honey. I hated for anybody to call me that. Well I won't be too late, Mama said, and she got into the quad cab of Crow's Silverado first. Like she couldn't wait to separate Crow from us. Although he didn't appear to mind our company all that much. My company. I was a little slow to catch on. Maybe because I was so upset with Mama and not knowing what I should or could do about her crush on him. I mean, properties! He wasn't but a cut above a drifter, and I already sensed he could be lowdown as snail shit from that signal in his good eye when he looked at me for too long a time. I When they were gone and the sun had set, me and Jimmy had ice cream on the screen porch and listened to blackbirds settling down for the night like dark rain in the sweetgums out back of the house, neither of us talking right away but thinking hard on this development in our lives. Well I guess he's all right, Jimmy said. Well I guess he's not. What did you think a that belt buckle a his? What do you call those blue stones? They're turquoise. I had a second helping of ice cream. I'd grown four inches since eighth grade. Coach Marr put me at outside hitter on the varsity when Tangie McCullers sprained her ankle so bad. Ice cream never gave me zits and I needed to maintain my weight with volleyball not half over yet. You don't think she's all that serious about him do you, Chase? Oh come on Jimmy. You know that look. Yeah like you get when Casey Shields comes around. I swatted the back of his head. Don't you smart off at me. We're just good friends. Uh-huh. Do you think Claire Condra's a virgin? None a my business and she's too old for you. You a virgin? And I plan to go on bein one. I swear to Jesus, that all you got on your mind? Can you help me with my math homework tonight? They loadin it on already. Wisht I wasn't all that smart sometimes. No you don't. Smart's the best thing you can be. Except good-looking, where you got no chance. Jimmy grinned and punched my arm. He knew he was good-looking. He had Daddy's eyes. Then he wanted to do something he hadn't wanted to do since he was maybe six, or during those weeks after Daddy died. Hold my hand. I guess I wanted to hold his hand too. Because I had this sense of dread, kind of like foretelling. I imagined Crow Tillman in our house of an evening, stretched out in Daddy's favorite chair with his boots off and a newspaper, or watching football on TV. And I kept seeing that buglight-yellow eye of his with the bolt of lightning grooved in it. You know I'm always going to look out for you, I said to Jimmy. Because I thought he needed to hear it again. Maybe, I thought, Aunt Tilly James and me could gang up on Mama--what did they call it when they snatched a soul from one of those religious cults? Deprogram her. Because in my estimation she definitely was that far gone over Tillman. Claudelle Emrick was probably the most even-tempered human being I ever met. So good-hearted. Shamed to say Jimmy and me took advantage of her sometimes. We were nowhere near Crow Tillman's league, as it turned out, when it came to taking advantage of people. But, even like the most docile and sweet-natured hound it was possible to rile Mama. She didn't have a bad side and grudges were foreign to her nature. She did have a stubborn streak, and when it came out then it was time just to button up and leave her alone. I didn't know what to do. I got Jimmy started with his pre-algebra. He caught on right away. They had him fast-tracked in every subject. Like me. I wished Daddy could have seen the grades we were bringing home. Daddy was an engineer who worked for the Highway Department. They double the fines for speeding in work areas along the roads but there's always some asshole. Daddy was in a coma for three days, then he died. Never opened his eyes. Not a word of good-bye. I Casey came by in his Jeep Wrangler, limping a little after football practice. We went for a walk anyway around our place and I kissed him a lot. I'd been planning to stay a virgin until I was eighteen but now there was Case so I was pretty sure I wasn't going to make it that long. I told him everything that was bothering me about Crow Tillman. Casey's second-oldest brother was a Jubilation County sheriff's dep and I hinted to Case that it would be a big favor to me if Von could find out about Crow. Who had said when I prodded him that most of his people were from down around Bainbridge. Properties, I said to Casey. Yeah I'll bet. Casey had a look around. The hoot owls were starting up. There was a big Hallowe'en moon, two weeks early. The air was nippy. I had my arms around him inside his letter jacket. How many acres yall got here? Casey asked me. Twelve. Five on the lake. Figure what? Figure two hundred thousand easy, I said. That's right now. Five years from now who knows? Casey whistled. Well that's it then, reckon? Maybe, I said, but Daddy wasn't dumb. He knew better than leave it all in Mama's hands. Look, you know Mama. Bank teller don't mean she has a head for business. And other ways she's never been the sharpest knife in the drawer, God bless her. So Daddy had the property divided up and all twelve acres put in trust, eight of them for me and Jimmy's college. Want to go in now and I'll make some hot chocolate? Sure. I A week later Mama took a couple of days at the bank and sneaked off to Cherokee, North Carolina, where she married Crow Tillman at Harrah's Casino and Hotel. Probably the most thoughtless thing she could have done to us. Aunt Tilly James and Uncle Wren were just slack-jawed. It was Crow's doing, of course. The son of a bitch had her hypnotized. Mama was all apologies when they got back from their wedding trip, promised to do it again for our benefit in church. Like that made it okay. Jimmy said to me he felt like she had spit on Daddy's grave. Spit was not the word I had in mind. Jimmy climbed up in his old treehouse that overlooked the lake. I spent hours coaxing him down, Jimmy crying most of the time. The whole thing gave me such a migraine I had to miss the match with Pickens County. Just laid there in the training room throwing up in a wastebasket. We lost. Everything was just turned-turtle in my life. I got a B minus on a pre-calculus test. First time ever. Crow had given Mama a half-carat diamond ring he said had been a treasured family heirloom. In his family more than a hundred fifty years. I'd've liked to got that ring appraised myself. He'd won close to twenty-five hundred dollars playing blackjack at Harrah's. Feeling real good about that. He gave me and Jimmy each a hundred-dollar U.S. savings bond. For our future education, he said. Crow also said he didn't intend to make a big thing out of being our stepdaddy. We were a family now (going on and on about that) and all he asked for pitching in to help support us was some respect. I treat people how they treat me, was the way he put it. Well not exactly as I soon learned. I I met Casey and Von at the Burger King after volleyball the week Crow moved in. Von Shields said to me, Well he's got a sheet. Kind of expected that, I said. I reached for Casey's hand to get ready for the worst. A goddamned jailbird sleeping with my mother in Mama and Daddy's old bed. But what Von showed me first wasn't so bad. Crow had been in the military (before acquiring the glass eye I supposed) and had done some kind of shady dealing. They'd busted him down two stripes but gave him an honorable discharge anyway. So much for his army career. Then there was something to do with defrauding migrant workers down there in South Georgia, but how do you find a migrant worker to testify in court? Charges dismissed. After that, bar fights, ADW dismissed, possession dismissed (twice). Domestic violence three times, but neither Vernelle Cotter, seventeen, or Lacey Ann Spokes, nineteen, had been willing to take him to court. I didn't have much trouble picturing what those two must be like. I went to school with plenty of them. They did go to the trouble to get divorced from Crow. I sat there looking this stuff over, keeping a tight grip on Casey. Lost my appetite so he finished my cheeseburger for me. Copyright (c) 2007 by Penny Dreadful Ltd. All rights reserved. Excerpted from You Don't Scare Me by John Farris All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.