Throttle * Joe Hill & Stephen King

In the Stephen King Universe, there are a few stories, like In the tall grass which has both him and his son, Joe Hill, as co-authors.

“They rode west from the slaughter, through the painted desert, and did not stop until they were a hundred miles away.”

Motorcycle-Truck-crash-head-onSo begins Throttle‘s terrifying odyssey down desolate Route 6, a long stretch of road in Nevada’s empty desert. Vince, his son Race, and his pack of bikers, The Tribe, are on the run, but it’s not long before the group is chased by something far more frightening and relentless than the memory of their own crimes.

In Throttle, Stephen King and his son, novelist Joe Hill, have paired up to write a suspenseful novella in homage to Richard Matheson’s famous “Duel,” a story which also features a mysterious driver with deadly road rage. In both works, the driver is faceless, a senseless source of terror that feels almost machine-like, inhuman: King and Hill reveal only his arm hanging out of his window, “a cigarette smoldering between two fingers.” Throughout, the story is enlivened with vivid illustrations, and the prose is quieter and more lyrical than we’ve come to expect from King, full of visual detail: the desert cliffs “striped in chalky shades of yellow and red,” the “tires churning up a fog of dust that turned the blue sky white.”

It seems Hill may have had a strong hand in the prose, but a father-son team is definitely behind this: amid its horror, the real heart of Throttle is the complex, thorny relationship between Vince and his son. Nothing is black and white in this horror story. The reader will no doubt root for The Tribe in Throttle‘s battle, but as the curtain closes, everyone has blood on their hands. —Simone Gorrindo


I really liked Vince, the father, and wasn’t so generous when it came to Race, the son. The other bikers stand out a little because the authors paint them authentically enough. I’ve met guys like Doc and Peaches, guys who didn’t fit because they were smart or just couldn’t get it right in life. You put a group of outsiders together, generally you end up with those people too.


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