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Publisher's Summary

A 2020 Audie Awards winner - short stories/collections

The number one New York Times best-selling author of The Fireman and Strange Weather returns with a dark and ingenious collection of 13 compelling short stories that showcase his ability to “push genre conventions to new extremes” (New York Times Book Review), performed by a stunning multi-cast featuring Zachary Quinto, Wil Wheaton, Kate Mulgrew, Neil Gaiman, Ashleigh Cummings, Joe Hill, Laysla De Oliveira, Nate Corddry, Connor Jessup, Stephen Lang, and George Guidall.

In this masterful collection of short fiction, Joe Hill dissects timeless human struggles in 13 relentless tales of supernatural suspense, including “In The Tall Grass”, one of two stories cowritten with Stephen King, basis for the terrifying feature film from Netflix.

A little door that opens to a world of fairy-tale wonders becomes the blood-drenched stomping ground for a gang of hunters in “Faun”. A grief-stricken librarian climbs behind the wheel of an antique bookmobile to deliver fresh reads to the dead in “Late Returns”. In “By the Silver Water of Lake Champlain”, two young friends stumble on the corpse of a plesiosaur at the water’s edge, a discovery that forces them to confront the inescapable truth of their own mortality...and other horrors that lurk in the water’s shivery depths. And tension shimmers in the sweltering heat of the Nevada desert as a faceless trucker finds himself caught in a sinister dance with a tribe of motorcycle outlaws in “Throttle”, cowritten with Stephen King.

Featuring two previously unpublished stories and a brace of shocking chillers, Full Throttle is a darkly imagined odyssey through the complexities of the human psyche. Hypnotic and disquieting, it mines our tormented secrets, hidden vulnerabilities, and basest fears and demonstrates this exceptional talent at his very best.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio. 

©2019 Joe Hill (P)2019 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic Reviews

"A terrific cast of narrators lend their voices to 13 stories by Joe Hill, two of which are cowritten with his dad, Stephen King.... Listeners will find their own favorites. However, booklovers may agree that 'Late Returns,' narrated by Wil Wheaton - about a librarian slipping through time to offer the dead one last great read - is the gem of this collection." (AudioFile Magazine)

Editor's Pick

A collection you don’t want to miss!
"Christmas must be in October this year because in the spooky spirit, Joe Hill has spun and gifted me with thirteen genius tales of horror that have been audibly amplified by a spectacular cast of performers from Zachary Quinto (*internally screams*) and to another favorite narrator of mine, Neil Gaiman. Joe even pairs up with the king of horror himself, Stephen King, to gift us with the short story “Throttle,” where one truck driver must defend himself against a motorcycle gang gone rogue in the middle of the desert. If that doesn’t entice you enough, Hill includes never-before-published stories, just in time to get you into the Halloween spirit."—Nicole R., Audible Editor

What listeners say about Full Throttle

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A Strong Collection

Vary rarely do I review the audio of a book. Though I’m a big audiobook reader/listener, I tend to swap between the physical and audio versions of I’m reading and generally just review the actual book itself, not the audio production. There have been a few notable exceptions, most especially Daisy Jones & The Six, but those exceptions are few and far between. Today, I have another exception to add to the list with Joe Hill’s most recent short fiction collection, Full Throttle. And it was such a strong collection! There were only two stories that I really didn’t care for and two that I felt were just okay, as opposed to the nine stories that were either 4, 4.5, or 5 star experiences.

In my opinion, short stories are the fictional form most well suited to an audio format. A short story on audio is often the perfect length for a long walk or a traffic jam or chores on a Saturday morning. And there is something about being read to that brings me right back to childhood, even if the stories I listen to as an adult are far removed from those that my mother once read to me. There was only one aspect of this particular collection that drove me crazy; a lack of information on which reader narrated which story. There is of course a list of narrators, but I couldn’t find a breakdown of stories paired with their readers ANYWHERE. Amazon, Audible, AudioFile Magazine, Harper Collins’ website, and even Goodreads reviews got me nowhere. And I read every single review! So I took it upon myself to research and match up the narrators with their stories to the best of my ability. Seriously, this is the most research and legwork I’ve ever put into a review. If you happen to notice any errors in my pairings, please message me and I will correct said mistake posthaste.

Below you’ll find micro reviews for each short story. But before I get into the tales themselves, I’d like to say a bit about Hill’s opening. I absolutely adore the forward of this book: Who’s Your Daddy? Getting some background on Hill’s relationship with his famous author parents and how he grew up to be a writer himself. How could he not be compared to the King of modern horror when that King is his dad? And honestly, how both he and his father handled rejection is so inspiring. I love that Hill decided to follow in his father’s footsteps but didn’t want to get there riding said father’s coattails. And now, without further ado, here are my thoughts on the stories in this collection.

Throttle (with Stephen King), read by Stephen Lang: 3 stars

Not super original, but a story well told. I found it an interesting departure from the relationship Hill described having with his own dad in the forward. There was nothing wrong with this story, but it felt decidedly more King than Hill. While the trappings were different, this is a story I’ve heard before.

Dark Carousel, read by Nate Corddry: 4.5 stars

I really loved this one. I don’t think a scary story involving a carousel can exist without making me think of Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes, and I was glad Hill gave him a nod with the mention of The October Country. There was also a quick reference to NOS4A2 that was fun to catch. The story itself was engaging and tense, and I didn’t fully predict the outcome. There were a couple of horrifying moments that I could actually visual, and they totally creeped me out in the best way. This is a story I’ll happily read every October.

Wolverton Station, read by Neil Gaiman: 4 stars

Honestly, that fourth star is for Gaiman. The man has an exquisite reading voice. The story itself was as tense as the previous story, but had an absurdity to the concept that was almost funny. I love the thought of dapper werewolves, and sports bro werewolves, and other classes of werewolf all sharing a train.

By the Silver Water of Lake Champlain, read by Kate Mulgrew: 4.5 stars

This little story was sweet and heartbreaking, and it’s easy to see that Hill can write compelling and tangibly real children just as well as his father. I wish I could adopt Gail. She’s insanely smart and creative and has an imagination second to none. I would’ve come to see your find, Gail. I promise.

Faun, read by Zachary Quinto: 4.5 stars

This gave me serious “The Most Dangerous Game” vibes, but the fantasy edition. It was inspired by Bradbury’s “A Sound of Thunder” but managed to never feel derivative. It also paid homage to fantasy tales like Lewis's The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, but with a very dark twist. In my opinion it was one of the most original and least King-ish of the stories in the collection. Also, don’t hunt what you don’t understand. And don’t be a dick, because sometimes it’s fatal.

Late Returns, read by Wil Weaton: 5 stars

A time traveling book-mobile that gives those nearing their deaths one last, great read from the future? YES PLEASE. Books are the best thing in the world for bringing people together, and I can’t think of any parting gift from the world as wonderful as a chance to read a perfect-for-me book that won’t be written until long after I’m gone. Also, Hill found a way to namedrop himself and it made me smile. Very poignant, and definitely my favorite. It’s a story I would happily buy a physical copy of and which I would love to find a way to give to my bookwormy friends.

All I Care About Is You, read by Ashley Cummings: 4 stars

The most sci-fi story of the collection. Iris felt very real, and struck a perfect balance between snotty, selfish teenager and tired, philosophical young adult who has had to grow up before her time. The future Hill crafted for this story is incredibly intriguing, walking a line between a fantasy world and a world so overly saturated in entertainment that it borders on a dystopia. It’s a ferocious life, and Iris is definitely cut out for it. It was sweet and thoughtful, sad and horrible, all in turns.

Thumbprint, read by Laysla De Oliveira: 1.5 stars

One of my two least favorites of the stories. I can’t put my finger (or thumb) on what it was that I hated so much. Every character is either a horrible person or pitiable. It did nothing for me, except make me doubt that humanity is in any way redeemable. It felt oddly preachy, even though I can’t nail down what exactly was being preached. I just didn’t like it.

The Devil on the Staircase, read by George Guidall: 3.5 stars

There was something fairy tale-esque about this story that I really enjoyed. It felt like a fable made real. This was the shortest story in the collection and I think it suffered for it. With just a bit more information this could have been at least a 4 star tale, but it ended up feeling a bit rushed.

Mums, read by Connor Jessup: 4.5 stars

Well, that was absolutely terrifying. By far the scariest story in the collection. There were some images evoked that I’m pretty sure are going to haunt my dreams for a while. It’s amazing to me how significant the mom’s name turned out to be, and I’m still not positive what was real and what was dreamed. I don’t think I’ll ever plant anything on a grave; precut bouquets will just have to do. *shudders*

In the Tall Grass (with Stephen King), read by Stephen Lang: 4 stars

Very creepy. And scary. While different in plot, the setting brought to mind another classic King short story, "Children of the Corn." Stories like these are why I have no desire to go through corn mazes at Halloween time. No thank you. Pregnant women, steer clear!

You Are Released, read by Joe Hill: 1.5 stars

My other least favorite. Too realistic to be enjoyable. I read to escape, so I was immediately turned off by the real politics and the plausible danger. I also found it very forgettable; the story is already fading away in my mind. It did nothing for me. Except for the spelling bee girl. She was adorable. Half a star for her.

Twittering From the Circus of the Dead (read by no one, as it was included as a PDF): 4 stars

I totally understand why this wasn’t recorded as part of the audiobook, but was instead included as a PDF. The tweet format would have lost its power if spoken instead of visually read. The format worked incredibly well for this story. I’m always on the lookout for good circus stories, scary or otherwise, and this was a good one made more interesting through its formatting.

Overall, I found this to be an incredibly strong collection. While I think that Full Throttle would be worth purchasing for “Late Returns” alone, there are a host of great stories here. And they’re varied enough that there’s something here for just about everyone.

70 people found this helpful

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Just in Time for Halloween

Audiobook Review: Full Throttle by Joe Hill
Oct 04, 2019
by Victor Dima in Audiobook Reviews


Joe Hill is the Best-selling author of Nos4a2, The Fireman and other novels. He has just released a short stories collection, called Full Throuttle, and I listened to it for the last two days.

I can tell you from the begining that all of them are excellent! Filled with Hill’s trademarked chills & thrills, this collection has arrived just in time for Halloween. Ranging from Thrillers, to Dramas and from Fantasy to Horror, there’s a story or two in Full Throttle for each of us.

Written with passion by the author and delivered with talent by the great narrators, Full Throttle delivers a more immersive narrative experience as an audiobook than if you were to read it in print.

Household names like Zachary Quinto, Wil Wheaton, Kate Mulgrew, Neil Gaiman, George Guidall, Ashleigh Cummings, Joe Hill, Laysla De Oliveira, Nate Corddry, Connor Jessup and Stephen Lang bring each of the stories to life with their unique voices and accents.

If you pick up Full Throttle prepare yourself to be scared, horrified, terrified, haunted, hunted, but more important of all, you’ll be filled with adrenaline and entertained to the max!

Two of the stories in this collection are co-written with the author’s father, the amazing Stephen King, but all Joe’s works are proof enough that this particular good apple didn’t fall far from the tree. I enjoyed each and everyone of them, but you should be warned, these adventures are not for the faint of heart!

Please vote Helpful below if you like this review and find more of them here and on theAudiobookBlog.
Sometimes, I post reviews at the Author / narrator / publisher's request. You can get in touch with me for more details.

40 people found this helpful

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Two stories without anti-conservative theme

Turned each story off when the author voiced his obvious anti-conservative leanings. Made it completely through two stories out of the eight or ten that the audiobook contained. One story set in the future and one set in fairyland were the only ones that the author could not work some anti-conservative theme into. Decent character development, but anti-military, anti-American, and anti-conservative themes wind their way into almost every story. Should be in political books rather than fiction.

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Trick... or Treat?

Anthologies are almost always a mixed bag of hit or miss, so it sometimes makes it hard to rate them on a whole. Especially with a writer like Joe Hill whose stories have such a wide array of themes and ideas. On top of that, you have the fact that every story is read by a different narrator, and suddenly its success relies largely on personal preference. Not only do you have to rate the written word, but one bad performance can ruin the entire experience.

You also cannot delve into any anthology with the mindset that every story should feel like a novel. They're not meant to. Luckily, Joe Hill is a skilled enough writer to give us a beginning, a middle and an end that is short and sweet and to the point. And I feel like in this case, he mostly pulled it off. I was, however, thoroughly unsatisfied with Wolverton Station, which I had read a while back on my Kindle when it first came out. I had also physically read a few of the others, but listening to them is a different experience, so I wasn't too disappointed with the repetition. I had also already read Twittering from the Circus of the Dead, which is by far my favorite, as it's exactly the right kind of dark and creepy that I hope for. I'm glad they included it in print only, because let's face it, audio could never do it justice.

Hats off to the narrators, too. They were well chosen, except for George Guidall whom I personally cannot stand. (I can already imagine the boos I'll be getting for that one since he is so highly regarded... but like I said it all boils down to personal preference. Give me RC Bray any day!!)

All in all I think it was better than I expected, but not quite as good as I had hoped for. Still, its worth a credit if you're looking for something different, or if you need an escape from that 700 page novel you've committed yourself to.

23 people found this helpful

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Embarrassingly political

There are a handful of good stories in this book, but unfortunately many are marred by the authors attempt at political commentary. Politics are fine when the author is well informed on the topic, but when it’s just pandering with wrong facts it’s enough to make you cringe within your soul.

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Brilliant stories from a brilliant writer!

Predictably, every one of these stories are brilliant. Each of the narrators are at the top of their game.

If there was one complaint I have for this book (and Joe Hill in general) is that his disdain for anyone right leaning is tiresome and insulting. According to Mr Hill, anyone who votes Republican are evil, horribly racist and uneducated. And of course, anyone left leaning are the brilliant, blinding light of all that is good in the world. From a writer who, in all other respects, has no problem creating well defined and complex characters.. it's insulting and an obvious case of an author cramming his political beliefs down our throats. In an era of corrosive devisiveness.. can't we just leave the political rhetoric out of it?

8 people found this helpful

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Did not live up to hype

Didn’t like any of the stories honestly. I usually love joe hill and king but their last few books have just been plain horrible. It’s a hard pass, not worth the credit at all. Will return if possible.

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Don’t bother

One sided political commentary masquerading as short stories. I won’t be reading any more Hill or King stories. It’s a shame I’ve been a fan of the latter for 40 years.

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Hit or miss, with only a few good stories

Wrote a shorty review of each story as I read them:

INTRODUCTION: WHO'S YOUR DADDY?- One of the few introduction I genuinely found interesting. Joe Hill’s take as a writer living in the tall shadow of his dad. Honestly, I think he should have kept the name “Joe King” as his writing style is so inspired by his father it’s right to pay homage.

THROTTLE (4 stars)- Great introductory story that really got me excited for the book. I like the fiction with just the hint of mysticism. I could really see the voice of Stephen King getting mixed in, the similarities between the biker dad and Roland The Gunslinger from The Dark Tower Series. The analogy between son and dad in real life. Honestly, I would have this story as the whole book.

DARK CAROUSEL (2.5 stars)- From the start I was skeptical just from the cliché name and predictable premise. My skepticism was well founded. This story was weak and only somewhat entertaining.

WOLVERTON STATION (2 stars)- I listened to this in Audiobook and was very excited that Neil Gaiman narrated this story as he is one of my favorite authors and audiobook performers. Sadly, the story didn’t hold up again. It felt unfinished with the pieces not quite working together. The main character was a wolf in business and then eaten by wolves? The backstory was overly long and unrelated. It would have been better to focus more on the wolves on the train. Taking longer for the man to figure out they were wolves- I liked that part in the original story but the transition was too quick.

BY THE SILVER WATER OF LAKE CHAMPLAIN (3.5 stars)- A different kind of story than the rest of the book about children who find a sea monster. The author really developed each the children’s voice and character. The ending was predictable but the journey there was delightful.

FAUN (5 stars)- Wow! This story fully engaged me, and I couldn’t stop until I had finished. An eerie tale with lots of twists and turns that I didn’t seeing coming. This was the first story in the book I could guess the ending or what would happen. The creativity of Joe Hill was on full display in the perverted Narnia world at the other end of a little door. Including imagining the type of dishonest people who might exploit such a place.

LATE RETURNS (4.5 stars)- A retro time-travelling book mobile that delivers books to people just before they are going to die. One of my favorites so far! The story dealt with loss, depression, and the effects a good book can have on your soul. I was expecting some M. Night Shyamalan twist at the end but ending was still very solid.

ALL I CARE ABOUT IS YOU (5 stars)- A futuristic sci-fi about a teenage girl who is dissatisfied with her lack of wealth. She befriends a robot and takes quite the journey. I loved it from the start. Like Late Returns & Faun, it really drew me in and captured my full attention. Another short story which I thought cold have been a full book.

THUMBPRINT (1 stars)- I really hated this story. The worst in the collection so far. The story is about a lesbian solider who returns from Iraq after becoming a torturer. All the characters are unlikeable, not that they are developed enough to even be unliked. The Thumbprint thing in story is silly. The author didn’t develop any part of the story for the reader to care about anything that happened.

THE DEVIL ON THE STAIRCASE (4 stars)- This story read like a fable written long ago. It was much shorter though with much less fluff than the other stories. The take on “selling your soul to the devil” premise. Everything worked perfectly together in the story and the prose flowed smoothly. Kind of like the sweet song of a mechanical bird telling lies to the world. George Guidall narrated the audiobook which I also thought was the perfect choice. His voice is exactly what I imagined the story

MUMS (2 stars)- This was not my thing. Came off as a campy 80s B-horror movie. Including the gore and slasher bits. I understand this is a big inspiration for Joe Hill but it came off as cheap.

IN THE TALL GRASS (5 stars)- The best in the book. Very dark, very disturbing. Could really see the voice of Stephen King shining through- the pop culture references, the disturbing uncomfortable imagery, rhyming limericks. A master in horror for sure.

YOU ARE RELEASED (1.5 stars)- Imaging what the start of a nuclear war might be while in a plane. Too many political references (Trump, MAGA, etc.). Keep these out of fiction, I want fiction & escape. Plus, a weak story where nothing really happened. Not sure if I hated this story or Thumbprint more.

Overall, I had a rather polar reaction to each story in the collection- either loving or hating each story. Unlike other short story collections, this one didn’t seem to have a common theme or cohesiveness. The variety was entertaining but I could never really figure out the author’s voice or style. (One thing he adamantly pointed out in the introduction that he had found.) “Full Throttle” was the first thing if picked up by Joe Hill and I’m not sure I’d pick up any of his works in the future.

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Why all the southern and Christian bashing Joe?

If he'd leave the pompous, liberal preaching and conservative bashing out of his writing it would be a good book. Literally every villain in the book is a back woods, hick, Christian and apparently Rachael Maddow is brilliant and gorgeous....who knew? I'll never understand why some fiction authors insist on alienating 50% of their audience for no apparent reason. Either he isn't talented enough to develop the story without the political digs, or he's arrogant enough to think his personal beliefs are more important than most and should be shoved down everyone's throat while they chant, "thank you sir, may I have another". It's clear he lives entirely in a bubble of like minded drones and has no contact ever with people he even slightly disagrees with. It's one thing to promote your own belief system within the storyline, but it's another thing to consistently and childishly vilify half the country just because they have a different point of view. You don't have to agree with someone in order to understand and respect them, you just have to remove your head from your a** long enough to hear them. I liked and respected Joe Hill before reading this book; even knowing how liberal he is personally. I've read them all and gave him great ratings. Now though, he's just another ignorant, spoiled, elitist putting down what he doesn't understand for pats on the butt at the local coffee shop.

6 people found this helpful

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