Full Throttle by authors Joe Hill and Stephen King
Full Throttle is a collection of short stories written by Joe Hill. Two of the stories feature his father, Stephen King as co-writer.
Collections of short stories can be very hit or miss. You get one really good story in the bunch, a bunch of mediocre ones, and maybe even one awful one to pad the page length. Well, this is not the case for Full Throttle.
This is the only collection of short stories I can think of in recent history that is worth reading cover to cover. Every story has its merits. Every story stood out.
I kept waiting to get to a bad one. Even the ones that started off a little outside of my typical taste ended up with such a surprise or such emotion that I was converted by the end. This book is truly impressive!
Hill opens with an introduction explaining his love of writing and horror. But he also explains how the road wasn’t as easy as people think. Joe Hill wanted to do things the right way. He didn’t just want to be published because of the name King. And it took decades.
Some of the stories in Full Throttle are ones that had been previously published in smaller collections. The only things of Hill’s that had been worth publishing up until his first novel that finally hit.
It’s a testament to how good a short story collection can be when it takes decades to write it. These stories are the best of his stories. Finally collected after a lifetime of improving and learning. These stories are not just churned out to fill pages in between novels and it really shows.
Many of the stories had a strong emotional bent or a triggering reality to them. Hill maintains a good balance between the horrors of real life and supernatural horror.
He’s highly imaginative and each story is completely different than the others. Most of the individual stories take about an hour to read so they’re not just a few pages with zero character development. Within an hour he had me feeling for these small tales.
One of the stories, the second one with King, entitled In the Tall Grass is downright terrifying. I never say that about books. Books are rarely scary to me but this one had me gripping my kindle. It masterfully combines the real life horror of feeling lost and feeling like you’re slipping into madness with the supernatural horror of this patch of grass that will not let you leave.
I can highly recommend this collection to any fans of horror, Hill, King, or anyone who just wants to be taken through fantastic storytelling.
5/5 trucks about to run you off the road 🚚🚚🚚🚚🚚
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Full Throttle, Brief Summaries
If you want to jump to the story that sounds most interesting to you here are the brief summaries of each story in the book.
A collaboration between Joe Hill and his father Stephen King Throttle is about a biker gang called The Tribe who find themselves targeted by a menacing truck on a deserted stretch of highway. A high-speed chase ensues, fueled by vengeance and the ghosts of their pasts.
A group of teenagers at a local carnival becomes entranced by a mysterious yet beautiful carousel. They soon discover its horrifying secret, it takes them on a ride they’ll never forget.
A train conductor encounters a peculiar young woman at Wolverton Station, this sets him off on a supernatural adventure that challenges his perception of reality and tests the boundaries of life and death.
By the Silver Water of Lake Champlain
Two young friends stumble upon a washed-up corpse by the lake. As they investigate further, they uncover a massive and extraordinary creature that changes their lives forever. When you saw Lake Champlain and thought cryptid you were right.
A grieving widow encounters a mystical creature in the woods near her home, leading to a haunting and transformative encounter that offers a chance to heal her pain. This one is more fantasy and supernatural than horror. Not every Joe Hill story is scary.
A bookmobile driver begins receiving books that are decades overdue. These are left by the spirits of the deceased former library card holders. As he embarks on a quest to return these books to their rightful resting places, he finds closure for both the living and the dead.
All I Care About is You
A bizarre and unsettling journey takes place aboard a sentient, malevolent RV that craves company, but its intentions are far from friendly. Reminiscent of the classic King novel, Christine, but more empathetic.
Haunted by her past actions during a military deployment, Mallory Grennan receives disturbing letters and thumbprints, leading her to confront the dark secrets she buried long ago.
The Devil on the Staircase
Presented in a unique format which sets it apart from the rest of Full Throttle, this story follows a man’s descent into a nightmarish staircase, where he strikes a deadly deal with the devil.
Twittering from the Circus of the Dead
Told through a series of tweets, a teenage girl documents her family’s trip to a circus, but the circus turns out to be far from ordinary, revealing chilling secrets. Original, but not my favorite of the bunch.
In the Tall Grass
Siblings Becky and Cal hear cries for help from a boy trapped in a field of tall grass. Once inside, they discover an evil force that distorts reality, making escape impossible. The longer short story explores isolation, fear, and the horrors lurking in ordinary places. My favorite of the book by far.