Cover Image: Full Throttle

Full Throttle

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

This book was a good and quick read.  Would definitely recommend to anyone who enjoys this genre.  I would read something from this author again.
Was this review helpful?
Lemme start with my only negative:  that foreword was unnecessary my dude. So Mr. Hill definitely shares a weird ability with his father Mr. King, of which being his capability of humanizing awful characters. Among this collection was exactly zero duds, so as I would usually point out a favourite I just can't here. From grief to thrills and everything in between, this one's a must read.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you, NetGalley and HarperCollins Publishing for providing me with an advance copy of FULL THROTTLE in exchange for an honest review.
Great collection of short stories! Late Returns would have to be my favorite out of this collection but I honestly liked them all. My only complaint would be that some of them definitely left me feeling like they weren't finished and I wanted more!!
Was this review helpful?
Joe Hill does it again, folks. From the first story, I was absolutely glued to this book. I actually started it just before game 1 of the World Series and, uh, I really just had to finish that short story, y’all. To the detriment of me missing some incredible plays. I don’t know how the man does it -- the weakness of short stories is that sometimes it is difficult to develop a connection to the characters or to feel that the story itself isn’t quite fully-formed; this collection doesn’t suffer from either. I found myself gripping the book tightly, bent over it in anticipation as I waited to see what would happen next. Each story managed to elicit strong emotions: anxiety, grief, horror, or some combination of the three. And each story was completely different; I never felt like I would mix up plot or characters, and always felt like I was being given something fresh and original.

One of the things that really impresses me about Joe Hill is that he’s able to write such good bad characters. There were characters in this I truly despised, extremely bad people. But the way he writes them makes you truly interested in reading more about them. He humanizes them without justifying the horrible things they’ve done or asking you to forgive them. Sometimes you even root for them, but not always.

The foreword is not something I’ve really seen before in a short story collection and was a bit meandering, but since I’m biased and adore Joe’s writing, I didn’t mind it at all. I think once you’ve become so loyal to an author, learning about their history and writing process becomes much more interesting than it may have been otherwise. The story notes following were also insightful, although much briefer.

My ratings for each story are as follows:

Throttle (with Stephen King) 4.5/5
Dark Carousel 4.5/5
Wolverton Station 4/5
By the Silver Water of Lake Champlain 5/5
Faun 4/5
Late Returns 4/5
All I Care About Is You 4/5
Thumbprint 3/5
The Devil on the Staircase 3/5
Twittering from the Circus of the Dead 3.5/5
Mums 4/5
In The Tall Grass (with Stephen King) 3.5/5
You Are Released 4/5 

While that only comes to an average of 3.92, I was just so consistently impressed and haunted by this collection that I have to give it five stars. Even the stories that I didn’t feel rated highly stuck with me, which I think says a lot about Joe Hill’s writing and how he’s able to truly understand how good writing impacts the human psyche. This honestly may be my favorite book of the year — although we’ll see come December. I was constantly dropping this into my lap just to stare into the distance and contemplate how haunting some of the content was.

Overall, Joe Hill is incredibly talented. Please read this.
Was this review helpful?
Short Stories, some in collaboration with his father Stephen King.  Some I personally liked better than others but some (or not all) will resonate with all readers.  Definitely recommend!
Was this review helpful?
***2.5 rounded up to 3 stars***
Publication Date: October 1, 2019

This just wasn't for me.. probably unpopular opinion but these stories were just out there. Several stories I was just lost, and kept asking myself "what the heck is going on??"
I will say Dark Carousel was my favorite and legitimately scared me. 
Late Returns was also another story I enjoyed therefore I rounded from 2.5 to 3 stars. 
Maybe I'm just not a short story person, I like more character and plot development and I couldn't get invested in the story this way. 
I'm a huge Joe Hill and Stephen King fan so I may be the problem here. 

Thanks to NetGalley and Gollancz for allowing me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Great. Very nice collection of short stories, some a bit off the wall...but all are interesting. Love Joe Hill writing. His stories are different than Mr. King ( Joes father ), but every bit as entertaining. He has a very similar cadence to his writing. So glad he writes.
Was this review helpful?
I really enjoyed this collection of short stories, but then again, I'm a big fan of Joe Hill. Some of these stories were written with Stephen King and recently one of them has also become a film on Netflix (In the Tall Grass). I recommend checking this out if you're into horror.
Was this review helpful?
Full Throttle is a fantastic collection of short stories by Joe Hill (two stories, “Throttle” and “In The Tall Grass” are co-written with his father, Stephen King). 

I especially loved his introduction.  My only disappointment is that this isn't a whole novel but rather short stories.
Was this review helpful?
This collection was amazing. Every story left me wanting more and I had to pause at the end of every one to process and breathe. A lot of the stories left me with a deep sense of unease and lingering anxiety. I just wanted the monster to go ahead and get the killing over with just so I could get some relief. Some stories were heartbreaking yet hopeful, and others had my jaw dropping in shock at an ending I didn't expect. But every single one was different and fully engaging. I would definitely recommend this book and this author.
Was this review helpful?
Great short stories. The best of them really sit with you and are haunting. Joe Hill switches genres and tone masterfully between them, yet the collection flows well.
Was this review helpful?
Full Throttle is my favorite so far of Joe Hill's work. Most short story collections have some good and some bad stories, and that's no exception here. But when the stories are good, they're great! Hill is a master storyteller and that shows in this collection. Highly recommended!
Was this review helpful?
If you think Joe Hill is his father, think again.  He has a writing style and voice that is all his own.  And it shows in his new short story collection.

I have never read Joe Hill's previous work so it was a pleasant surprise reading Full Throttle.  I enjoyed most of the stories, but there were a few that made my skin crawl and had me scared to turn off the lights.  One story that really messed me up is called "Dark Carousel," which made me hate carousels even more.  What made it even worse was the psychological terror the main character endured because of his desire to be cool around his friends.  His lie caused a chain reaction that would haunt him (literally) for the rest of his life.  When I was done with that story, I was so messed up that I had to stop reading until the next day.  I still think about "Dark Carousel" and probably will for awhile.  

I really enjoyed this collection and plan to read more of Joe Hill's work.  Hopefully, I'll be able to sleep afterwards.
Was this review helpful?
Maybe 3.5 stars? I read this book over the course of a few days, finished yesterday, and I'm still trying to wrap my brain around what I thought about it. I think I liked it? While that may not be super helpful, I think it definitely says something. 

This is a twisty, turn-y set of short horror stories, and I really enjoyed how Hill makes EVERYTHING terrifying. In some of these stories, the scary thing is nature itself, like in one short story about a field of tall grass, or another one about a boy's mom, who says her ancestors are trees. In other stories, the scary thing is technology; a car, or even nuclear warfare. Hill can clearly make anything scary. 

And perhaps that's in his genes. I didn't realize before reading the intro to this book that Joe Hill is actually the son of Tabitha and Stephen King. Who knew! But I picked this up without knowing that, but knowing about Hill's reputation to write some awesome, intriguing, scary stuff, like NOS4A2 (which I loved). 

Spook-tober was the perfect time to pick this up, though I might recommend to others that you take your time with this collection. Read a story, and then take some time to think about it before jumping into the next one. I certainly liked some stories more than others, which is the case with ALL short story collections I've ever read, but some of these had a lot of meat to them, and a lot to consider. The story "Mums," in particular, I've been puzzling over ever since putting this down. It's a doozy.
Was this review helpful?
A collection of thirteen short horror stories. Well, mostly horror. A few are more literary than horrific. I really enjoyed Full Throttle; I seem to like Hill's writing better in short story form than in full novels, because this is my favorite book of his since 20th Century Ghosts.

Let me cover just a few of my favorite stories:
All I Care About Is You – in a not too futuristic sci-fi setting (with worldbuilding very reminiscent of the 1950s; I recognized a few elements taken almost directly from The Twilight Zone and Ray Bradbury) a newly poor girl whose friends are all still rich celebrates her sixteenth birthday alone, with only a robot for company. There's a twist at the end which I did not see coming at all and which fit well, but which might be too grimdark for some readers. I loved it.
Faun – what if the door to Narnia was discovered not by sweet innocent children but a venal big game hunter?
By the Silver Waters of Lake Champlain – a group of small children in the 1930s discover the dead body of a Nessie-esque lake monster. This story had a style different than most of Hill's writing: lovely and nostalgic and almost silver colored.
You Are Released – a random flight from LA to Boston is in the air over North Dakota when World War III suddenly begins and the nuclear weapons start falling. The POV switches between an assortment of passengers – an aging celebrity, a MAGA-hat-wearing news producer, a gay Jewish man, a young South Korean woman, a spelling bee champion little girl – as they slowly realize what's happening. This is another of the stories that's less horror and more just sad and tender.

There's also two stories that depend on a structural gimmick. In both cases I'm not sure the gimmick itself worked, but I liked each story, so meh.
The Devil on the Staircase – set in the steep cliffs of the Amalfi Coast in the late 1800s, this story concerns a laborer who spends his days carting loads up and down staircases until he discovers one particular staircase that leads to hell. The rhythm of the writing here wonderfully mimics the cadence of an authentic folktale, and the text is set to look like a series of staircases:
him of
He had his
cats and he
sang to them
and poured them
saucers of milk and
told them foolish stories
and stroked them in his lap
and when one time I kicked one–
I do not remember why–he kicked me to
the floor and said not to touch his babies.
So I
his rocks
when I should
have been carrying
schoolbooks, but I cannot
pretend I hated him for that.
I had no use for school, hated to
study, hated to read, felt acutely the
stifling heat of the single room schoolhouse,
the only good thing in it my cousin, Lithodora, who
read to the little children, sitting on a stool with her
back erect, chin lifted high, and her white throat showing.

Twittering from the Circus of the Dead – a teenage girl live-tweets her family roadtrip and their decision to check out a small town attraction starring zombies. The story is told as a series of actual tweets: timestamps, screennames, and all. It is unsurprisingly annoying to read 15 pages of tweets, but honestly I'm not sure how else the plot could work. This story is like the "found footage" genre done in writing.

One of my least favorite stories was In the Tall Grass (cowritten with Stephen King), in which a brother and pregnant sister get lost in a field of grass and discover that getting back out is more complicated than it seems. It was certainly brutal and gross, but there just wasn't much to the story outside of that. Of course, this is the story which has now been turned into a movie by Netflix; you can watch the trailer here.

But despite that complaint, even the stories that didn't stand out to me were better than average. Overall, a really excellent collection, especially for Halloween!
Was this review helpful?
Joe Hill published his Full Throttle story collection just in time for the haunting season. And haunt me it did! Hill begins and ends with some lovely notes on his craft, growing up with Stephen King, and story inspirations. Everything between those two chapters is genuinely intense horror.

Several stories had me covering my eyes (or wanting to hit pause when I was listening to the audio). Hill starts off with one of these, the titular Full Throttle. In it, a mysterious truck driver clashes with a dastardly motorcycle gang. And the result made me say, “Ewwwwww. Yuck,” in the best possible way.

Another gross-out story is In The Tall Grass, which has been adapted for Netflix. There are moments in this suspenseful story that border on barfy. But the way Hill builds to the highest height of suspense is nothing short of masterful.

All of us bookish folks will love Late Returns, a time travel story centered around a bookmobile. Hill takes this opportunity to churn out some quotable moments about the joys of reading. And it’s an enjoyable mystery as well.

Children and teens are the narrators of a few stories, and Hill realistically inhabits their thoughts. In one, the kids find a Loch Ness type monster on a lake shore. In another, a kid raised by radical, apocalyptic preppers comes to grips with drastic changes in his young life. A third only works in print, as it’s a social media-based account of visiting a horrific traveling circus.

My conclusions
I enjoyed this collection, from the nasty humans to the dastardly creatures. On the whole, Hill focuses more on humans inclined to do unsavory things. But, often enough, they get their just deserts. He also takes several opportunities to discuss the state of our world, imagining some even more scary possibilities.

Hill’s writing style is spare and readable. Where some authors might over describe or over emote, he uses admirable restraint. My imagination easily filled in around his vivid details of the story.
These stories have intriguing variety. Not one is a snoozer, instead they spark with the fires of hellish situations you’d never want to find yourself facing. I recommend for those who love some horror, gore, and a series of nail-biting narratives.

Many thanks to NetGalley, William Morrow and Random House Publishers, as well as the author for the opportunity to read a digital ARC in exchange for this honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Full Throttle is a collection of short stories by Joe Hill with two stories co-written with his father, Stephen King. Joe Hill is becoming one of my favorite authors and is fantastic with character development even with short stories like these. All stories in Full Throttle were rated between 3 and 5 stars. 

3 Star Reads: 
"By The Silver Water of Lake Champlain"
"The Devil On The Staircase" 
"You Are Released"

4 Star Reads:
"Throttle" (written with King)
"Wolverton Station"
"Twittering From The Circus of the Dead" 
"All I Care About Is You"

5 Star Reads:
"Dark Carousel"
"Late Returns" (my favorite!)
"In The Tall Grass" (written with King)

All of the stories are well-written and the different genres keep it interesting. This was a fun read and perfect in time for Halloween.
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an ARC! 
As a huge fan of Joe Hill and his father, Stephen King I was thrilled to receive an advanced ebook copy of this collection of short stories. I enjoyed reading Joe's insights into being the son of two creative parents. This collection of short stories was dark, but not the usual over the top horror in other Hill books. I still recommend it if you are a fan of this author..
Was this review helpful?
Full Throttle is a fantastic collection of short stories by Joe Hill (two stories, “Throttle” and “In The Tall Grass” are co-written with his father, Stephen King). I’ve been waiting for a full-fledged novel from Joe Hill but I’ll take what I can get. Some of my favorite stories of this bunch were “Throttle” which I felt gave the collection a great start and reminded me of the days of Sons of Anarchy, “Late Returns” and “In the Tall Grass” which I look forward to seeing on Netflix. “The book was better” is how I usually feel but the trailer looks pretty good so I’ll give it a go.

One of my favorite parts of this book was Joe’s introduction. I simply loved Joe sharing his honest and intimate early writing career in which he at times struggled to launch. It would be easy for anyone to say that his success in writing comes from being mentored by his parents. While his parents may have guided him over the course of his career, Joe provides insight into his journey to earn his way and develop his craft, after all, at the end of the day, nothing was handed to him. Joe earned every bit of his success along with the literary bruises and scars. I want to thank Joe for writing that introduction. It reminded me that even our heroes are human.

As much as I enjoyed these stories, I really hope that Joe’s next project is a novel. The worlds and characters he creates are brilliant and I look forward reading more. A full novel might be a while so I may have to check out his new DC Black Label/Hill House comics for now.
Was this review helpful?
It's not every day that you get to start an anthology of short fiction by reading about growing up with Stephen King as a father. This was what solidified my interest in what was about to become a wild ride.

This collection was gripping and intelligent. From the moment I read "Who's Your Daddy?" a nonfiction story about Stephen King, I was hooked. While only two of these are brand new stories, they are all new to me and I enjoyed them thoroughly. By far my favorites are "Dark Carousel" and "In the Tall Grass." Both left me afraid to sleep in the dark.

All of these tales share one interesting aspect in common. The protagonists are dubious characters. There is no doubt that they've done something wrong at some point in the story or in their backstory, yet I identified with them all the same. Joe Hill makes you root for the bad guys. Or at least feel sorry for them.

I highly recommend this for a pre-Halloween read, but be warned. If you are a fan of the author or of his father, Stephen King, you may have read most of these stories as they have been released in another form over the last few years and are simply compiled into this particular collection.
Was this review helpful?