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Book Review: Full Throttle by Joe Hill



To say I was excited to read and review Full Throttle is an understatement. I'm a huge fan of Joe Hill thanks to the graphic novel series Locke and Key (still waiting on that perfect adaptation for it!) So when I learned that he was releasing a short story collection, and some of the stories were co-written with Stephen King, I was ecstatic.


This was my favorite book I read this month, and one of my favorites for the year, too.


*Thanks to William Morrow and NetGalley for providing an advance review copy in exchange for my honest review. You made my dreams come true.


Synopsis from the publisher:

In this masterful collection of short fiction, Joe Hill dissects timeless human struggles in thirteen relentless tales of supernatural suspense, including “In The Tall Grass,” one of two stories co-written with Stephen King and the basis for the terrifying feature film from Netflix.


A little door that opens to a world of fairy tale wonders becomes the blood-drenched stomping ground for a gang of hunters in “Faun.” A grief-stricken librarian climbs behind the wheel of an antique Bookmobile to deliver fresh reads to the dead in “Late Returns.” In “By the Silver Water of Lake Champlain,” soon to be an episode on Shudder TV’s Creepshow, two young friends stumble on the corpse of a plesiosaur at the water’s edge, a discovery that forces them to confront the inescapable truth of their own mortality . . . and other horrors that lurk in the water’s shivery depths. And tension shimmers in the sweltering heat of the Nevada desert as a faceless trucker finds himself caught in a sinister dance with a tribe of motorcycle outlaws in “Throttle,” co-written with Stephen King.


Replete with shocking chillers, including two previously unpublished stories written expressly for this volume (“Mums” and “Late Returns”) and another appearing in print for the first time (“Dark Carousel”), Full Throttle is a darkly imagined odyssey through the complexities of the human psyche. Hypnotic and disquieting, it mines our tormented secrets, hidden vulnerabilities, and basest fears, and demonstrates this exceptional talent at his very best.

My thoughts: While I've enjoyed Joe Hill's previous because of his ideas and world-building, I don't do well with super-long books. That may just be my preference, but I always think they can be more concise. Because of this, I truly think Hill excels at short stories. He has brilliant, creative ideas, and he can craft a horror scene like no one else (except maybe his father.) I’ve been put off by short stories before because they end abruptly or feel unfinished or somewhat unrealized. That doesn’t happen with any of the stories in Full Throttle. Each story is addictive and easily digestible; some may leave you wanting more, but in a good way.

There’s something for every reader in this collection. Dark fantasy. Dystopian sci-fi. Apocalyptic suspense. Time travel. And of course, horror: creature horror, supernatural horror, psychological horror, and the horror in realizing that people are what you should be afraid of most. One story in particular, "In the Tall Grass," actually made me a little sick to my stomach. Of course, that's the one that's been adapted into a horror movie by Netflix. As someone who loves horror books but stresses out too much when watching horror movies, I'm glad other people will be exposed to Joe Hill's work thanks to Netflix, buuuut I probably won't be watching it. But I wholeheartedly recommend that others do, to get a taste for Joe Hill's stories.


Anyway, a few of these stories have been published before in other anthologies or on their own, so if you’ve read his work elsewhere, you may come across them again. But Full Throttle is a must-read for any horror fan, or someone looking to start reading horror.


Rating: 5/5 stars


Full Throttle releases on October 1, 2019!

Denver, Colorado

©2018 by Jessica Hammons