cover image Full Throttle

Full Throttle

Joe Hill. Morrow, $27.99 (496p) ISBN 978-0-06-220067-9

Hill’s haunting second collection of short fiction (after 2005’s 20th Century Ghosts) contains 11 reprints and two new tales, many in homage to films and other stories that have inspired him. Echoes of Richard Matheson’s “Duel” ricochet from the terrifying “Throttle” (cowritten with Stephen King), which features a biker gang at the mercy of a relentless big rig driver with a deadly agenda. Shades of Narnia color “Faun,” in which a small door in a ramshackle farmhouse leads to a hunting ground. In “Thumbprint,” a veteran realizes that her disturbing actions in Iraq might not have been so out of character after all. In the visceral, horrifying “Dark Carousel,” a group of teens runs afoul of magic that animates the ragtag, bloodthirsty animals of a boardwalk carousel. The ghostly, achingly poignant “Late Returns” is a love letter to librarians and a haunting exploration of the transformative power of grief. Hill tackles his dark subjects with humanity and empathy, and his complex, fully realized characters leap into the imagination. This collection cements Hill’s reputation as a versatile master of scares both subtle and shocking. Agent: Michael Choate, Choate Agency. (Oct.)