Full Throttle is a collection of 13 (heh) short stories penned or co-authored by Stephen King’s spawn, who goes by ‘Joe Hill’ in an admiral attempt not to trade of his father (and mother’s) name.
The stories within range from disappointing, to confusing, to middling, to verging on brilliant. It’s an uneven achievement and overall I found it disappointing. The quality of each story was so uneven, I’ve tackled a very brief review of each below…
Hill’s answer to a modern retelling of Steven Spielberg’s Duel, the source material being a masterpiece in tension and faceless fear. Full Throttle pits the giant, menacing truck against a group of murderous drug-pushing bikie gang members. It is a pale imitation of it’s inspiration.
You cannot have a creepy collection of short stories without a creepy fairground, right? This story of a haunted carousel and it’s vengeful characters was just a little too silly for my taste. I liked what it was going for, but it just didn’t quiet work.
What on earth did I just read. A story about a man, sitting on a train, but WAIT all the passengers are actually wolves. No no WAIT. EVERYONE is actually wolves! Huh? Yeh.
By the Silver Water of Lake Champlain
A big loch-nessie type washes up on a lakeside. But then it is gone. And some kids are around. I don’t know, it was just a bit of a wash really (hahaha sigh).
Now THIS was almost good! It was a bit of a Narnia situation, but what if instead of some cute kids finding the door to a magic kingdom, an enterprising hunter found it! This intriguing premise got lost in the characters, each of which blended together making the ‘twist’ ending a bit hard to follow. Great idea, less-than-great delivery.
This was a solid read, not exactly creepy but still.. unsettling. Library books are always a little creepy, right? Who borrowed it before you? How long will it be in circulation after you? And is there anything worse than dying before the Next Great Story is published?
All I Care About Is You
Hill decided to throw some random Sci-Fi into the mix, and I was HERE for it. A weird little story of a bratty kid’s disappointing birthday, and how she teams up with a hire-a-friend AI to make the best of it. Great world-building and solid landing.
An ex-military women’s past comes back to make to her pay for her war crimes. But everyone is unlikeable and the story moves at a glacial pace. Not nearly as menacing as it wants to be.
The Devil on the Staircase
This was written in a tiny font that I couldn’t read on my Kindle, and I couldn’t increase the size no matter how many times I tried. I eventually gave up. No idea what this was about and pretty ticked off that 1/13 of the short stories I paid for was render unreadable because of Hill getting experimental with his word processor.
Twittering from the Circus of the Dead
Loved this story, told entirely from quippy teenager tweets. She’s dragged along by her parents on a roadtrip to a ‘Circus of the Dead’, and live-tweets the horrors that follow. Very tense and excellent use of the 140 character limit gimmick.
A thirteen year old boy comes to grips with his Mother’s death and his Father’s role in it, by planting some seeds from a weird old lady… and the seeds are malicious, or maybe not? Or maybe the kid is just a bit crazy? But it ends in an explosion, so that’s fun.
In The Tall Grass
Look, I watched the awful Netflix Original so I should have known better than to expect a decent story here. This is the second story I’ve read in the past year that has involved the consumption of a fetus… and this realisation is honestly making me question my life choices.
You Are Released
This was a good note to end on, watching the idiots in charge of an arsenal of military might press buttons and start wars from a cruising passenger plane. It ended too soon, I would have liked to keep reading.
Overall, this was a big ol’ mess really. I think I’ll be giving Hill a wide berth in future…
2 Taxi-Driving Wolves out of 5.