Review: Strange Weather by Joe Hill

9781473221185Joe Hill follows up his brilliant epic The Fireman (one of my favourite books last year) with a collection of four novellas guaranteed to enthrall, and in one particular case, utterly chill its readers.

Strange Weather highlights a terrifying truth: real world terrors far outweigh the horrific manifestations of our nightmares. Three of the stories in this collection, linked thematically by diverse weather phenomena affecting their worlds, demonstrate Hill’s peerless imagination and uncanny ability to make the impossible scary as hell, chill the blood of his readers, and make their hearts race with fear. In Rain, a blissful Colorado day turns into Hell on Earth when needles begin pouring from the sky in place of rain. In Snapshot, an elderly neighbour warns a young boy about “the Polaroid Man” whose camera seems to be stealing memories. In Aloft, instead of rocketing through sky and clouds, a sky-diver find himself stranded on an alien cloud on which his memories and desires come to life in ephemeral form.

But it’s the second short story, Loaded, that proves the most resonant and disturbing, and oddly enough, free of any semblance of paranormal trappings. It’s real, and its terrifying. Recounting his almost-palpable disgust for America’s gun laws, Hill’s tale  recounts a decade-long history of gun violence and racism and domestic abuse in a Florida town through the actions of a mall cop. It’s an utterly creepy, horrific story, and its ending made my stomach lurch. It’s Joe Hill writing at the peak of his powers.

The four novellas that comprise Strange Weather are dark, unpredictable, and altogether entertaining. After the gargantuan The Fireman and NOS4A2, it’s a treat seeing Hill excel at the shorter form.

ISBN: 9781473221185
Format: Paperback (232mm x 154mm x 32mm)
Pages: 448
Imprint: Gollancz
Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
Publish Date: 31-Oct-2017
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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