Any book I buy twice is a good one, and Full Throttle lived up to my recollections as fast-paced, fun reading. This book collects of a bunch of Joe Hill’s short stories, and it’s a great representation of his work. Two stories in here are co-written with his father, but the bulk of the collection is Hill’s work alone, and he really knows how to write. Someone once said that Hill writes better King than King does, which is debatable, but I tore through this on two very long train rides up and down the East Coast and was fully entertained the whole time. I think I’ll add it to the permanent shelf, as I don’t want to have to buy it a third time!
It’s hard to pick highlights of the collection because I actually really like all of these stories, but I think the weakest one is “Twittering From the Circus of the Dead.” It feels a little dated and its gore sticks with me in an unpleasant way. And as much as I do like “You Are Released,” I think its portrayal of finding common humanity is a bit rushed and pat. Again, it’s hard for me to pick favorites, but I especially like “In the Tall Grass,” “Mums,” “Late Returns,” “The Devil on the Staircase,” and “Dark Carousel.” I think the thing that makes Hill a special writer is his ability to connect horror with humanity and emotional depth. He can get across a delicate emotional state in a way that I don’t think King always can. I’m sure he’s sick of being compared to his dad, but I’ll also say that his ability to write a story with his father where you can’t differentiate their voices is a real testament to his skill as well (vs Sleeping Beauties, where Owen King’s voice is very clearly distinct, to the book’s detriment). All in all, a highly recommended collection, especially if you’re looking to try his work.