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Full Throttle: Stories (2019)

by Joe Hill

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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4702338,989 (4.16)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 Featuring two previously unpublished stories, and a brace of shocking chillers, Full Throttle is a darkly imagined odyssey through the complexities of the human psyche.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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Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
Really enjoyed these stories !

One of the best collection of short stories I have read. Simply loved them. So different from each other and covering so many genres. Can’t recommend this book highly enough. ( )
  Fawntree | Feb 19, 2021 |
There were some standouts and some mediocrities in this volume of short stories by Joe Hill. His horror stories were pretty eccentric - I mean, I guess many horror stories are, but some of these were kind of over the top. Still, it was, for the most part, an enjoyable read. ( )
  flourgirl49 | Jan 30, 2021 |
I "discovered" Joe Hill somewhere back around 20th Century Ghosts or Heart-Shaped Box. I don't recall which I read first but I think I read them pretty close together. I've eagerly snatched up his new books as they're published ever since, which isn't something I do with most authors. I'm a library girl and have been all my life; I'm generally happy to wait until I stumble on a book in the stacks, either virtual or physical. But I'm always eager to see where Joe Hill is going to take his readers in his latest book and so I get my name on his hold list ASAP. I even requested copies of his Locke & Key graphic novels from across the state when I realized my local system didn't have the entire series. I can't say I've loved everything he's written (I'm looking at you, The Fireman), but by and large I enjoy myself thoroughly when I'm lost in a new Hill read and find myself impatiently awaiting the next.

Full Throttle did not disappoint.

Any collection is going to have stories that appeal to specific readers more than others but this was remarkably consistent. There's a lot of creativity here, a heckuva of lot of good writing, and some genuinely disturbing stories. The entries that appealed less to me were still strong but they were either too disturbing for my taste or I just didn't like a character who was written to be unlikeable. What can I say? I'm largely a character-driven reader.

That's a good stopping point, so move on if you'd like, but I always like to include short reviews for each story as well.

"Throttle" (with Stephen King)--I read this years ago in He is Legend: An Anthology Celebrating Richard Matheson. I found it to be the standout story of that collection and it stood up well to a re-read. The suspense was there even though I remembered a lot of details, including the ending.

"Dark Carousel"--Hill says this is the most "shamelessly Stephen King thing I've ever put down on paper" and then says it's "practically a cover of 'Riding the Bullet' or 'The Road Virus Heads North.' I wouldn't go that far. I still get worried about The Road Virus every so often when I'm home alone and in the shower, but "Dark Carousel" was creepy enough in that same looking-over-your-shoulder way.

"Wolverton Station" was probably one of my least favorite stories mostly because it was more of a vignette than a story with a strong plot. It is a very visual story though and those images may stick with me for a while.

"By the Silver Water of Lake Champlain" was written for an anthology honoring Ray Bradbury. I haven't read that much Bradbury (I know! I know! But he's on a lot of school reading lists and, despite enjoying English classes themselves, I disliked almost everything that teachers made me read. I'm contrary that way. I'll get around to giving him another try someday), but from what I remember, I see where Hill was coming from here. This is the story that I've already re-told my husband as we were hiking by a river and heard something big splashing in the water.

"Faun"--It's impossible for me not to say this is Narnia gone wrong, and Hill does mention that legendary land in his story notes, but he feels it is influenced more by Lawrence Block, who I'm not familiar with at all. It was a bit of a mind-blower for me (I couldn't help thinking of Mr. Tumnus) but I liked that.

"Late Returns" was a story with a concept that will appeal to most readers. This is in the vein of the "20th Century Ghost" story.

"All I Care About is You"--I enjoyed this while I was reading it and even chewed over the ending for a bit after finishing it. Yet when I got to the author's notes on each story at the end, I had to go back to remind myself which one it was. This was probably the weakest entry for me.

"Thumbprint"--Joe Hill understands that sometimes--often--reality is scarier than fiction. This was the one with unlikeable characters doing despicable things. While I can't say I enjoyed it, that wasn't the point.

"The Devil on the Staircase" may read better in print than on an ereader. The actual print is apparently laid out in a pattern like a staircase. This was another weak story for me. I enjoyed the imagery and the concept, something about it just didn't appeal very strongly to me.

"Twittering from the Circus of the Dead" got progressively more and more horrifying. Holy smokes.

I'm going to say that "Mums" is another one of those reality stories that is scary as hell. There are some supernatural elements to it, but this is inspired by today's lunatic fringe groups.

"In the Tall Grass," also written with Stephen King, was just plain disturbing. I haven't watched the Netflix movie yet and after reading this, I honestly don't know if I will. I can see that it would make a great movie but I'm a great big chicken when it comes to watching horror movies. If the movie follows this story, I wouldn't sleep for a month after watching it.

"You Are Released" is the last story and the last one that is firmly anchored in today's world. I found it strangely bittersweet, despite the fact that it made me think about how easily civilization as we know it could collapse. ( )
  JG_IntrovertedReader | Jul 21, 2020 |
Per usual I am grading the anthology as a whole with star reviews for the short stories. I thought some of the stories were quite brilliant and others I hard passed on due to how they were formatted. I tend to be fussy about things like that when reading a hardcover, I end up getting a headache most of the time. Two stories I previously read in other anthologies though which was kind of annoying. I prefer it if I am buying a new hardcover it's all new stories.

Throttle (3.5 stars)-This wasn't a bad short story, but reading about a biker gang and a trucker gone astray was weird. I think it's the problem that the tone was wrong in this one. If Stephen King had written this, it would have made more sense to me. I think the voices in this just didn't "feel" right to me while reading.

Dark Carousel (5 stars)-Yeah, I still say carousel rides are the creepiest thing on this Earth and this story has cemented that to me. Reading about a group of teens who are not wholly bad, or wholly good, pay consequences when they do something terrible to a carousel operator. I loved the ending of this one too.

Wolverton Station (3 stars)-Yeah this was just weird to me and I think I was supposed to be scared of think deep thoughts about this, but I just kept going, is this weird? Yes.

By The Silver Water Of Lake Champlain (4.5 stars)-I honestly really loved this one. It takes a while to build up. You have a young girl who is what you would call a "dreamer" when she and the boy she loves (and who she sees a future with) find what they consider a dinosaur on the beach of Lake Champlain. I felt so bad at the ending of this story. I think Hill writes kids very well, and this short story showcases that.

Faun-(5 stars but only after re-reading)-This was so damn slow and boring. I was wondering whether to pitch the book after this, but then things pick up halfway through and by the ending my jaw dropped. I do have to say that this needed to be edited a lot more tightly. It just drifts and you jump around to other POVs and I was confused about who was "speaking" at times.

Late Returns (5 stars)-Every reader out there should read this short story. All I am going to say.

All I Care About is You (5 stars)-Gut punch I was not expecting. This one is truly straight up horror and I would love to see it get the Dark Mirror treatment. No spoilers on this one. It was just so surprising.

Thumbprint (3.5 stars)-Honestly this one dragged for me. The ending was interesting though.

The Devil on the Staircase-Can't rate cause I skipped over it due to how Hill decided to tell the story. He had the sentences formatted as staircases. Gimicky as heck and it drove me up the wall and I quit after trying to read and follow 2 pages.

Twittering from the Circus of the Dead-Can't rate due to reading tweets is not my favorite thing to do on my freaking phone. Trying to read them in a book was worse somehow.

Mums (5 stars)-Wonderful story from beginning to end. I think this one would have been a better anchor story.

In the Tall Grass (5 stars)-Re-read. I previously read this before in November 2018, see my review, https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2584567581?book_show_action=false&from...

You Are Released (5 stars)-Re-read. Previously published in Stephen King's short story collection that he edited, "Flight or Fright." I gave this 5 stars before, so gave it 5 stars again, you can see my review, https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2522435151?book_show_action=false&from... ( )
  ObsidianBlue | Jul 1, 2020 |
This is a fine, fine collection of short stories.

When I decided I wanted good, traditional horror with fantastic characterization and full-hilt (or throttle) gore, I knew I couldn’t go wrong with Hill.

It’s not like this is all he does, but when I just want that visceral surprise death after getting to know some rather interesting folk, I found myself laughing out loud in a good number of these.

Maybe it says more about me than I intended. *shrug* Oh, well! Obvious modern morality plays are FUN.

I think I loved the first five of these stories best. My ABSOLUTE top story now makes me wish I had a job driving a bookmobile truck. I mean, seriously, I LOVE this story.

My least favourite story happens to be Hill’s SF foray. Sadly. I mean, I’m a big fan of SF in general and Hill is obviously a fan of the genre, as seen from his many literary references, but it just didn’t do anything for me.

But when he goes right for the jugular of either fantasy through tiny doors, including big game hunters, or a Sons of Anarchy treatment by way of Duel, I’m all over it. :) ( )
1 vote bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
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Joe Hillprimary authorall editionscalculated
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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