This collection of thirteen short stories, written over a thirteen-year period, showcases the many different aspects and styles of Joe Hill’s writing, ranging from supernatural to horror to fantasy and all points in-between. Only two of the tales are appearing for the first time though, the remainder having shown up over the years in various other collections and magazines, but it’s a bonus to have them collected together in one place at last. Two are collaborations with the author’s father, Stephen King, the strongest of which, In The Tall Grass, is soon to be available as a Netflix film. The other co-write, Throttle, is something of a twist on Richard Matheson’s story Duel, on which the early Spielberg film was based. The remaining stories are, as mentioned, a mixture of styles, some of which are more successful than others – a mobile librarian delivers books to the deceased, the body of a prehistoric animal is discovered on the banks of a lake by a group of children, a group of hunters find a door into a land of mythical creatures, a carousel owner is murdered with unforeseen consequences. The strongest story for me is You Are Released, a tale that is rooted firmly in this world, as a group of passengers are trapped on an aircraft mid-flight as nuclear war erupts below. Overall, the collection is something of a mixed bag, but it’s one that is certainly well worth investigating for fans of this genre, as the good stuff far outweighs the more prosaic efforts, and it does illustrate very well how the author’s writing has developed over the years.
Length of Read:Long
Might appeal to people who enjoyed…
Newcomers should also seek out the previous collections 20th Century Ghosts and Strange Weather, as well as full length novels such as Heart Shaped Box, NOS4R2 and, his best so far, The Fireman.
One thing you’ve learned
Like father, like son…..