It’s officially Spooky Season, and I had the pleasure of reading Joe Hill’s short story collection, Full Throttle. And folks, some of these stories kept me up at night.
This is my first time reading any of Joe Hill’s work and I’m glad I started with this collection. The stories range from action-packed, to creepy, to so fucked up I wondered what was in his mind when he came up with them. One story in particular, “Dark Carousel,” made my fear of carousels even worse. The story was full of horrors all caused by one white lie, but it was the psychological terror that messed me up after reading. Joe Hill knows how to scare you, as he did to me when I read “Wolverton Station.” That story was my nightmare come to vivid and terrifying life. I honestly don’t know what I would have done had I been in the main character’s situation. That’s not true. I know what I would have done. I would have died on the spot, plain and simple.
Joe Hill may know how to scare us, but he also knows how to throw readers off our game. In the story, “All I Care About Is You,” I fell for the okey-doke, feeling all warm and fuzzy while reading what I thought would be a pretty tame tale. It definitely was tame in terms of horror, but the ending was still messed up. There are no happy endings because the world in that story, and many others, is not a happy one. In the story “Faun,” a magical door leads to a place of wonder but also death to those who go through it. The creatures there do not believe in forgiveness or redemption, only vengeance. “Faun” has a bit of that Narnia magic to it, but darker and more interesting, at least for me. I would love to see this story expanded into a full novel because I had so many questions about that world.
Another story that had my scalp tingling was “In The Tall Grass,” which I just found out has been adapted into a film on Netflix. I’ve always been a punk when it came to tall grass and sunflower farms. I find them terrifying and was never one to venture into them whenever my family went on road trips. Reading this story (which was written with Stephen King) was a reminder of why you don’t go into the tall grass, no matter what. Just keep driving.
Full Throttle is out now, so make sure to purchase a copy using any of the links above or borrow it from your local library. I highly recommend it.
I received an advance copy of Full Throttle from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.