Just in time for Halloween, Joe Hill has come out with a new horror book, Strange Weather, which is actually four novellas in one volume, for those of us who don’t necessarily have time to read a whole novel at a time but who want something more than just a short story or two.
Joe Hill needs no introduction to horror fans. Not only is he the son of the Grand Master, Stephen King, but his own books have won him fans and followers in the horror and dark fantasy community. One of his previous books, Horns, was made into a movie starring Daniel Radcliffe, and his other novels, Heart Shaped Box, NOS4A2, and The Fireman, have all been bestsellers (I wrote about The Fireman here ).
One of the novellas, “The Snapshot,” has at its heart a truly disturbing idea: a camera that can erase a person’s memories. Naturally, if there is such a camera, there’s someone who’s going to use it, and, this being a horror story, the person who’s using it is using it to hurt people. In this particular case, the person is a nasty guy with tattoos (not that there’s anything wrong with tattoos in general, of course), known as the Phoenician, and he is stalking and terrifying a teenager from Silicon Valley with that sinister camera.
Another novella, “Aloft,” starts with something a little out of the ordinary, though still in the realm of what people have experienced, a man taking his first parachute jump. Then it all goes awry, because instead of falling toward the ground, he finds himself caught on a bizarre solid cloud which seems to have a mind of its own.
Then we travel to Boulder, Colorado, for the novella, “Rain,” where, instead of the ordinary liquid water, shards of crystal fall from the sky and shred people who aren’t under cover. If that weren’t terrifying enough (where did the crystals come from? Why are they falling here?), then this new apocalyptic rainfall begins to spread to other places. Is this the end of the world as we know it?
Hill turns to current events (sort of) in the novella, “Loaded.” It’s the NRA’s dream: a mall cop stops a mass shooting with his own gun, and becomes an instant hero and media darling. But maybe the truth isn’t what it’s been represented to be, and his story starts falling apart, as does his sanity (here’s where we get into classic horror territory). He turns to the gun again in the face of an out of control fire, and comes to his final reckoning.
These are not your ordinary horror stories any more than Joe Hill is your ordinary horror writer, but if you want some spooky chills at Halloween, check out Strange Weather.