HC last edited by dingleberry96 on 10/07/20 02:22AM View full history

The book you are holding is Joe Hill’s first short story collection since 2005’s 20thCentury Ghosts. It’s been a long time between volumes, but the wait is finally over. Full Throttle is quite simply a stunning collection, filled to overflowing with wonders, terrors, and pure narrative magic. It is the work of a profoundly gifted writer who has come fully—and memorably—into his own.

Full Throttle contains thirteen stories and novellas, along with extensive story notes and an illuminating introduction that explores the various influences that have shaped its author's life and work. The stories themselves encompass an impressive assortment of settings, ideas, and emotions. Each story, without exception, is a meticulously crafted gem.

Many of these stories concern journeys—some of them brief, some more extensive—that lead to unexpected, frequently lethal destinations. In “Wolverton Station,” an American executive boards a British train and finds himself faced with impossible—but very real—horrors. “Faun” takes its privileged protagonists through a “little door” that connects our world to. . . somewhere else. “Late Returns,” a gently affecting story with just a touch of Jack Finney, offers a fictional meditation on time, mortality, and the enduring importance of books. “Throttle,” the first of two notable collaborations, tells of an imperiled outlaw biker gang and offers a brilliant riff on the Richard Matheson classic, “Duel.” A second collaboration, "In The Tall Grass," follows a brother and sister off a lonely state highway and into the high weeds of an occult wilderness, where time and space have come apart, and only the mad can survive. In the closing story, “You Are Released,” a plane bound for Boston takes an abrupt detour through the geopolitical horrors of our age.

Taken both individually and together, these stories show us a writer in full, mature command of his considerable gifts. Full Throttle is, of course, a dark, unsettling book, but it is also a good deal more. Each story is filled with grace notes. Each is marked by compassion, empathy, and an underlying decency that lends an emotional weight to every page. These stories may have been a long time coming, but—like their author—they’re here to stay. Full Throttle is a gift to Joe Hill’s many readers, and a treasure trove of story worth returning to over and over again.

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