Try and contain your shock, but a book by Joe Hill is dark.
I’m used to the horror author writing books that have a macabre bent, but this was less “skeleton and ghost dark” and more “I’m gonna curl up on the couch and remind myself that this is fiction dark.” The collection is four novellas connected loosely by abnormal weather – lightning storms in “Snapshot,” a firestorm in “Loaded,” an unusual cloud in “Aloft” and fulgurite rain in “Rain.” But the darkest part of each of the stories is the people, not the supernatural elements. “Snapshot,” “Aloft,” and “Rain” were what I was expecting from Hill, where there’s a Black Mirror-ish tinge to the stories, the unusual circumstances of an amnesia inducing camera, an alien craft masquerading as a cloud, and a storm raining crystal needles serving to highlight the tragedy of their real life counterpoints – Alzheimer’s disease, the isolation of loving someone who can’t love you back, and the way the world attacks the vulnerable. But “Loaded?” “Loaded” messed me up.
If the collection is the literary equivalent of Black Mirror, then “Loaded” is Crocodile. It’s bleak as hell. The fire that creeps further into the city is kind of a slow burn in the background and by the end I just wanted the whole world on fire. My heart sank every time I figured out what was going to happen next; basically any time anyone innocent showed up in the story I just mentally painted a target on them, and I wasn’t wrong. I don’t want to spoil anything, because as hard as this was to read, I think it’s absolutely worth having your heart broken by this story. So I’ll just leave this quote here.
“All it took to turn a CD into a knife or a tape gun into a .45 was a little imagination, a little panic, and a lot of prejudice.”
Definitely recommend, but prepare yourself.