By ALLANAH PINHORN
Macabre man Stephen King and son Joe Hill have teamed up to write two novellas guaranteed to please even the most steel-hearted phantasmagoria fans. Available for the Amazon Kindle for under $10, In the Tall Grass and Throttle are both journeys into America’s hidden hallows of horror.
In the Tall Grass
Cal and Becky DeMuth are Hansel and Gretel for a modern age in a tale of an endearing, if not slightly unhealthy, relationship between two college-aged siblings that turns into a nightmare.
In the Tall Grass, the first of two collaborations, is an endless span of shifting grass and corn that keeps you turning the pages.
While living in a world of GPS and encroaching cities leaves the readership almost immune to basic fears like the simple act of becoming irrevocability lost, King and Hill do a remarkable job of inventing a confusing world of crunchy and brittle cornstalks; the only thing worse is the wet and sticky insanity within.
In their second story, Throttle, King and Hill call up memories of the Wild West and again bring the past back into the present: long and lonely, dusty highway stretches of desert where there are no witnesses and no law.
In what is pure homage to King’s biggest influence, author Richard Matheson, the two create a slaughter of a story centred around a group of bikers and the 18 wheeler that is intent on running them down.
Creating fresh visages out of canonical characters – the meth heads as bandits, the Tribe (bikers) as outlaws and Laughlin the truck playing the lawman – this is really a tale of father and son survival on the mesa, which is a nice tie-in for those who know that Hill is King’s second child.
Of course there is gore, and plenty of it, but more unsettling is the overtones of dread that the authors invoke in these short tales of lost lives.