A fat boy takes on a polaroid-snapping, spirit-sucking menace in “Snapshot.” A reporter tries to find the truth within a gunshot filled “Loaded.” Skydiving takes a strangely unique turn in “Aloft.” In “Rain,” a perfect summer day turns deadly, as a deluge of needles murder much of Boulder, Colorado. This was the horrific collection I did not know I was waiting for!
More below on Strange Weather: Four Short Novels by Joe Hill.
Chills are what I got with these novellas. Joe Hill’s cliffhanger style gives new meaning to “page-turner.” It almost feels like a commercial interrupted the words for a “brief word with our sponsor” at crucial moments. And he’s completely unpredictable. One chapter could be its own short story, while another is a couple of sentences.
Surprising (not surprising) is his ability to build compelling characters in so short a time, so that we are completely invested. My favorite of the stories, “Loaded,” destroyed me at the end. I got annoyed when my reading was interrupted – my personal barometer for a good story.
One cannot help but compare him to his father, but hey… talent follows nature/nurture, right? He certainly has his own uniqueness, but there is a hint of Stephen King behind it all, much like inheriting his father’s eyes.
The ending of one of the stories completely surprised me and the ending of another did not.
Hill fans and King fans and horror fans will gobble this up.
A collection of four chilling novels, ingeniously wrought gems of terror from the brilliantly imaginative, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Fireman, Joe Hill.
“One of America’s finest horror writers” (Time magazine), Joe Hill has been hailed among legendary talents such as Peter Straub, Neil Gaiman, and Jonathan Lethem. In Strange Weather, this “compelling chronicler of human nature’s continual war between good and evil,” (Providence Journal-Bulletin) who “pushes genre conventions to new extremes” (New York Times Book Review) deftly expose the darkness that lies just beneath the surface of everyday life.
“Snapshot” is the disturbing story of a Silicon Valley adolescent who finds himself threatened by “The Phoenician,” a tattooed thug who possesses a Polaroid Instant Camera that erases memories, snap by snap.
A young man takes to the skies to experience his first parachute jump. . . and winds up a castaway on an impossibly solid cloud, a Prospero’s island of roiling vapor that seems animated by a mind of its own in “Aloft.”
On a seemingly ordinary day in Boulder, Colorado, the clouds open up in a downpour of nails””splinters of bright crystal that shred the skin of anyone not safely under cover. “Rain” explores this escalating apocalyptic event, as the deluge of nails spreads out across the country and around the world.
In “Loaded,” a mall security guard in a coastal Florida town courageously stops a mass shooting and becomes a hero to the modern gun rights movement. But under the glare of the spotlights, his story begins to unravel, taking his sanity with it. When an out-of-control summer blaze approaches the town, he will reach for the gun again and embark on one last day of reckoning.
Masterfully exploring classic literary themes through the prism of the supernatural, Strange Weather is a stellar collection from an artist who is “quite simply the best horror writer of our generation” (Michael Koryta).