Joe Hill published his Full Throttle story collection just in time for the haunting season. And haunt me it did! Hill begins and ends with some lovely notes on his craft, growing up with Stephen King, and story inspirations. Everything between those two chapters is genuinely intense horror.
Several stories had me covering my eyes (or wanting to hit pause when I was listening to the audio). Hill starts off with one of these, the titular Full Throttle. In it, a mysterious truck driver clashes with a dastardly motorcycle gang. And the result made me say, “Ewwwwww. Yuck,” in the best possible way.
Another gross-out story is In The Tall Grass, which has been adapted for Netflix. There are moments in this suspenseful story that border on barfy. But the way Hill builds to the highest height of suspense is nothing short of masterful.
All of us bookish folks will love Late Returns, a time travel story centered around a bookmobile. Hill takes this opportunity to churn out some quotable moments about the joys of reading. And it’s an enjoyable mystery as well.
Children and teens are the narrators of a few stories, and Hill realistically inhabits their thoughts. In one, the kids find a Loch Ness type monster on a lake shore. In another, a kid raised by radical, apocalyptic preppers comes to grips with drastic changes in his young life. A third only works in print, as it’s a social media-based account of visiting a horrific traveling circus.
I enjoyed this collection, from the nasty humans to the dastardly creatures. On the whole, Hill focuses more on humans inclined to do unsavory things. But, often enough, they get their just deserts. He also takes several opportunities to discuss the state of our world, imagining some even more scary possibilities.
Hill’s writing style is spare and readable. Where some authors might over describe or over emote, he uses admirable restraint. My imagination easily filled in around his vivid details of the story.
These stories have intriguing variety. Not one is a snoozer, instead they spark with the fires of hellish situations you’d never want to find yourself facing. I recommend for those who love some horror, gore, and a series of nail-biting narratives.
Many thanks to NetGalley, William Morrow and Random House Publishers, as well as the author for the opportunity to read a digital ARC in exchange for this honest review.