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Full Throttle: Stories (2019)

by Joe Hill

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5602834,976 (4.09)3
"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, 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," 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. Featuring two previously unpublished stories, and a brace of shocking chillers, Full Throttle is a darkly imagined odyssey through the complexities of the human psyche.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"--… (more)
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» See also 3 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
He's writing more and more like his father, which I actually don't love. Keep your own voice, Joe. ( )
  maryellencg | Jan 8, 2022 |
Not sure why I'm seeing so many "this anthology let me down" reviews. Yes, there were a few retreads here (the two stories co-written with his father, Dark Carousel, You Are Released, and the Twitter one, for starters), but I have to say, this is the strongest book Hill's put out since [b:NOS4A2|15729539|NOS4A2|Joe Hill|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1369591617l/15729539._SX50_.jpg|21408527].

Each story here is wildly different from every other one, yet each one works exceedingly well. My biggest complaint with Hill is the cloying sweetness he often busts out when he gets into romantic relationships, but there's absolutely no evidence of that here. It could have gotten ugly with Late Return, but instead, that turned out to be the best story of the bunch.

Truth be told, after the disappointing one-two punch of [b:The Fireman|25816688|The Fireman|Joe Hill|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1469316385l/25816688._SY75_.jpg|40296144] and [b:Strange Weather|34066621|Strange Weather|Joe Hill|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1493845147l/34066621._SX50_.jpg|50720361], I was starting to wonder if I was going to really every enjoy anything of his again. This took away all doubts. ( )
  TobinElliott | Sep 3, 2021 |
So many brilliant stories in this collection! "Late Returns" is now one of my favorite short stories of all time. The print version of "By the Silver Waters of Lake Champlain" is far superior to the version filmed for Creepshow. And I cried while reading "You Are Released." Joe Hill really does take readers on a dark and twisted road with this one. ( )
  SeanBoley | Jun 5, 2021 |
A big letdown after reading the author's [Strange Weather]. Some stories I either skipped or started but never finished; they were too gruesome. Others were mediocre.
My favorites:
Dark Carousel: Merry-go-round animals take revenge on a group of teenagers.
Late returns: a bookmobile driver checks books out to dead people.
The devil on the staircase: A murder leading to the devil giving the hero in Fascist Italy a tin bird that will only sing for him if he tells lies. When he hears Mussolini speak, he's sure he hears a tin bird singing in the background. ( )
1 vote janerawoof | Mar 20, 2021 |
As I get older, I find that I give fewer books the full five-star rating and review treatment. Whether it's because I'm just more tired these days or more curmudgeonly about my entertainment, I don't know. There have been exceptions recently. My [b:Full Throttle: Stories|47770521|Full Throttle Stories|Joe Hill|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1565719889l/47770521._SX50_.jpg|66041568] review is going to be one of those exceptions because the collection is exceptional.

Like many horror fans, I grew up reading Stephen King's work. It is from a combination of reading Edgar Allan Poe in school and the collections of Joe Hill's dad that I learned to love a macabre short story. More than that, I learned to love single-author collections of short tales. It was because of King that I ended up reading and rereading collections of [a:Richard Matheson|8726|Richard Matheson|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1200467797p2/8726.jpg]'s work.

King once contrasted short stories to novels as a kiss from a stranger in the dark versus a long love affair. Although I enjoy reading horror novels, I suppose I have always been more attracted to the mystery of that stranger in the dark. More than that, I love returning to visit my favorites in short story collections for an occasional tryst. I can't count the number of times over more than three decades that I've reread King's [b:Night Shift|10628|Night Shift|Stephen King|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1342215309l/10628._SY75_.jpg|2454497] and [b:Skeleton Crew|13440|Skeleton Crew|Stephen King|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1271861632l/13440._SY75_.jpg|1814] stories "Jerusalem's Lot," "Sometimes They Come Back," "One For The Road," "The Mist," Mrs. Todd's Shortcut," "The Jaunt," "Gramma," and "Ballad of the Flexible Bullet."

Similar to his dad's collections, Joe Hill's Full Throttle is a book I plan to revisit in pieces (after I buy the Kindle edition; this is a review of the audiobook). The collection as a whole is a lovely mad romp through the mind of a man not only inspired both by his father and the passion of special effects artist Tom Savini, but who has also grown into his own man with his own ideas and his own appealing style. I don't want to dive into details on every story in the book, but I will point out some particular favorites that I know I will return to over time:

Wolverton Station -- werewolves in London? Well, not exactly, but this is the first story in the collection that really grabbed me and dragged me along by the ear holes. Something about imagining werewolves in business suits just got me smiling a big old canine smile.

By The Silver Water of Lake Champlain -- an imaginative tale of mystery and disbelief that had me begging the characters to not leave each other alone with the dead beast. If you watch Shudder's new Creepshow series, expect to see an adaptation of this story somewhere near the end of the first season.

Late Returns -- Great Scott, do I love time travel stories, especially ones where the science fiction aspect of the travel is downplayed so that the effects on the characters is in focus (think King's [b:11/22/63|10644930|11/22/63|Stephen King|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1327876792l/10644930._SY75_.jpg|15553789] or Audrey Niffenegger's [b:The Time Traveler's Wife|18619684|The Time Traveler's Wife|Audrey Niffenegger|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1380660571l/18619684._SX50_.jpg|2153746]). This is a beautifully crafted character-driven story. I was surprised that Hill didn't devote more time to discussing it in his afterword.

In The Tall Grass -- Remember King's "Children of the Corn?" This is not that. However, this was a story on which Hill and King collaborated. Before GPS on mobile devices, getting lost was one of the biggest anxiety producing things that could happen to me. I like to know where I am at all times. This story plays well on that old fear and I found myself wishing the protagonists had tied some rope around their waists before they decided to venture into that field. Of course, the field probably would've foiled that effort to trip it up as well. This story has been recently adapted into a Netflix original.

My one criticism about the audiobook edition of Full Throttle is that "Twittering From the Circus of the Dead" is missing (actually, it is provided as a free PDF download). Although I understand the difficulty of narrating a piece that consists of nothing but social media posts, I also know from experience that it can be done and done well. If a new audiobook edition of Full Throttle is released in the future, I hope the producers find a narrator who is comfortable with performing social media posts. It has been done in other audiobooks.

Speaking of the narration, this audiobook is full of stars, all of whom were perfectly cast for the tales they read. Including Hill himself, you'll get to hear from all of the following names: Zachary Quinto, Wil Wheaton, Kate Mulgrew, [a:Neil Gaiman|1221698|Neil Gaiman|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1234150163p2/1221698.jpg], Ashleigh Cummings, Laysla De Oliveira, Nate Corddry, Connor Jessup, Stephen Lang, and George Guidall.

If you're a King fan and you've never read any work by Joe Hill, you might ask the obvious fan question: will I like his work as much as I like Stephen King's? I can't answer that for you. I can say that King coauthored two of the stories in the collection ("Throttle" and "In the Tall Grass"), so there's the familiarity you want if you need it. I can also say as a fan that I now know that the "is it like Stephen King?" question is the wrong question to ask. You should not go into a Joe Hill book (or an [a:Owen King|218826|Owen King|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1352054111p2/218826.jpg] book, for that matter) expecting nostalgia for the youth you spent reading the works of his dad. You won't find that nostalgia (although you'll sometimes find some Easter eggs), but you will be entertained.

Finally, I can say that if I had read Joe Hill's short story collections entirely separate from the knowledge that he is Stephen King's son, I know I would have added Full Throttle to my stack of rereads anyway. And that is the biggest compliment I can give to any single-author short story collection. ( )
  Isaac_Thorne | Mar 12, 2021 |
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Dingman, AlanCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"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, 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," 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. Featuring two previously unpublished stories, and a brace of shocking chillers, 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"--

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