Full Throttle by Joe Hill is an interesting collection of short stories that range from heartfelt to pure terror.
I had pre-ordered this from the Water Street Bookstore in Exeter, New Hampshire. I was so pumped when it came in! I love when local book shops have signed copies! In this case, things were taken a step further, and Joe Hill personalized them!
Let’s dive in!
My Thoughts on Full Throttle by Joe Hill
Per usual with most short story collections, there were some in this book that I loved and some that I didn’t like. The tales I did like though, those are tales I’ll be coming back to for sure!
The book began with a lovely introduction which held wonderful stories about Joe’s childhood with Stephen King, growing up around horror, and creating his own path.
From the intro I had to pick out this line that I loved:
The day ends so quickly, and the roads are so confusing, and there are things out there in the dark with teeth. To survive we might have to show some teeth of our own.
Then we dove right into the stories!
Throttle – 4 Stars
Phew! What an intense tale to kick off this series!
In this story we join a group of bikers that have just left a situation that took a turn that they weren’t expecting. Struggling with processing what they just experienced coupled with the tension between father and son, this crew is at their limit. When the hot-headed son talks openly in a parking lot and then throws his booze at a truck, he unknowingly makes an enemy. Later, when the crew is riding, the trucker begins executing his revenge.
The gore in this one was rather quick, but intense! I totally flinched during one description.
Dark Carousel – 4 Stars
Oh Lordy! What is it about carousels that makes them so spooky?! This one exceptionally so… Phew, what a dark and terrifying tale!
When the story begins we meet our four main characters. They are hanging around a pier while one member of their group finishes work. Afterwards, they all ride a carousel. The ride is intense but they all leave and head back to their car. When one character realizes she has lost her money, they try to go find it. When it can’t be found, one character remembers seeing a carnival ride worker reach into his pocket after helping one of them on the ride. But did he actually see what he thought, or was that just his beer haze getting the best of him? The crew goes back to get the money and then finally leaves. On their drive to a cabin is when the things of nightmares arrive…
Loved the little nod to NOS4A2 at the beginning of this one!
Wolverton Station – 2 Stars
The idea behind this one was interesting but it unfortunately didn’t keep my interest. I think that was mainly because I didn’t care for the main character in the slightest.
By the Silver Water of Lake Champlain- 4 Stars
Woah! I loved this one. This tale was about two kids that find a creature washed up on the beach. The two try to get their siblings to go get an adult to see what they found. While they wait, they brainstorm what they could do; sell it to PT Barnum or a museum. Either way, they can’t wait to get their photo in the papers and get a reward. But no adult comes until it’s too late…
Faun – 4 Stars
Phew! I really didn’t care for the beginning of this one because of the entitled characters. Seeing them hunt big game was wonderfully written but man, oh man, they were annoying.
But toward the end… I fell in love! I mean, a little door that opens to a different world where fairy-tales are alive?! Of course this crew would pay an wicked high amount to hunt the creatures here. And then once the line up for a shot… I couldn’t stop reading at that point. What an intense tale!
Late Returns – 5 Stars
Oh, I loved this one so much! This story is about a man that learns that both of his parents have passed. When he arrives in town to clean out their house, he finds an old library book. When he goes to return it, one thing leads to another, and before he knows it, he’s the new bookmobile driver! However, there’s something special about some of the patrons that come to check out a book…
This story was equally heartbreaking and heartwarming. I loved the idea behind it. This one needs an adaptation!
All I Care About Is You – 3 Stars
While I thought a lot about this tale was neat, I just can’t do the entitled brat trope anymore. I was so bummed that this story ended how it did as I thought we were finally getting somewhere…
This story was about a girl who isn’t going to get the birthday party she wants. On her way home, she puts a coin in a Clockwork, who she learns is names Chip. The girl and Chip go on an adventure, where Chip helps her fulfill her birthday wish.
I would love another tale about Chip and who he helped before this brat.
Thumbprint – 1 Stars
Nope, didn’t like this one at all. The idea with the thumbprints was creepy, but that’s all I enjoyed. The rest was not for me.
The Devil on the Staircase – 3 Stars
The format of this was very interesting!! I loved that it kept up as the boy climbed the stairs and then changed when his legs gave out. But then picked back up as he continued on. This was an odd little tale about hard work, jealousy, murder, and lies. I enjoyed it, but I wouldn’t read it again.
Twittering from the Circus of the Dead – 4 Stars
Woah, the format of this one was perfect for this tale. What a good idea! I love how simple the premise was but how dark things got at the end.
And then that ENDING!! Phew! I’ll never think of live Twitter feeds the same way again.
Mums – 4 Stars
This tale was about a family with all kinds of secrets. When we begin, we learn a tiny bit about the way the family operates. Then the mother is leaving the house with the little boy to go on a trip. During their “trip,” the father catches up to them. The boy is brought back home and the mother is brought to the police station.
Over the course of the story, we slowly learn more about the family history and what they’re plotting next. I couldn’t stop reading this one. I just had to know what would happen next! I loved this tale because it made you second guess everything.
In The Tall Grass- 5 Stars
This is a story that I actually bought separately. Click here to read my full review.
You Are Released – 5 Stars
I feel like I’ve read this one before… or perhaps Joe Hill read from it at one of the sessions I saw him at.
This tale is about a bunch of different people aboard a flight. Halfway through they got news of a “flash” in Guam. As just a short amount of time passes, the situation has progressed in a way that has made the people on board go from upset and nervous, to full blown terrified.
This story is really terrifying.
Then book closes with story notes and acknowledgements. I love when things like this are included because I love hearing where the stories came from!
My Final Thoughts on Full Throttle
All in all, I did enjoy this one! There are a few stories I could have done without, but I really loved most of them. I cannot wait to see which of these get an adaptation on Creepshow! I hope it’s more than just the one Joe mentions in the story notes!
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Thanks for reading!