Author: Joe Hill
Published by: William Morrow
Publication Date: October 24, 2017
“Snapshot” is the disturbing story of a Silicon Valley adolescent who finds himself threatened by “The Phoenician,” a tattooed thug who possesses a Polaroid Instant Camera that erases memories, snap by snap.
A young man takes to the skies to experience his first parachute jump. . . and winds up a castaway on an impossibly solid cloud, a Prospero’s island of roiling vapor that seems animated by a mind of its own in “Aloft.”
On a seemingly ordinary day in Boulder, Colorado, the clouds open up in a downpour of nails—splinters of bright crystal that shred the skin of anyone not safely under cover. “Rain” explores this escalating apocalyptic event, as the deluge of nails spreads out across the country and around the world.
In “Loaded,” a mall security guard in a coastal Florida town courageously stops a mass shooting and becomes a hero to the modern gun rights movement. But under the glare of the spotlights, his story begins to unravel, taking his sanity with it. When an out-of-control summer blaze approaches the town, he will reach for the gun again and embark on one last day of reckoning.
I am always eager to read anything by Joe, so of course, I immediately grabbed Strange Weather. This book contains four short stories that showcase Joe’s talent. Despite the reduced word count, each one is done really well and doesn’t feel lacking at all.
• Snapshot: This is the shortest of the four, I believe. It’s a strange story that reinforces why my aversion to having my picture taken is just. They steal your memories! Kidding. Maybe. Anyway, this definitely has a creepy vibe and an old-school feel that I ate up. I do have to say that the constant mentioning of the main character’s weight/looks is annoying, though. Otherwise, it’s a thumbs up.
• Loaded: This is a highly disturbing tale of a madman and a mass shooting. What makes it so disturbing is how it is so relevant and could easily be taken from the news. Joe really does a fantastic job with it, but it was a little hard for me to read. It was a timing thing for me. I don’t get all into the whole “trigger warning” thing, but this might cause some discomfort for certain people. I’m the type that welcomes that kind of stuff, though, and like to work through it. But like I said, it’s done disturbingly well.
• Aloft: Ha! Okay, this is a weird one. A good weird. I mean, who wouldn’t want to ride a cloud? Well, this specific cloud … no, thank you! It definitely fits under the “strange” category. It’s a unique and interesting story but feels a bit slow at times. Totally worth it, though.
• Rain: Best of the bunch! Imagine rain clouds rolling in but instead of water, needle-like objects come pouring down causing mass death and destruction. I realize this could sound a bit cheesy, but I promise it isn’t. The story follows Honeysuckle, the heroine, on her journey to inform her girlfriend’s father of her death. It’s during her trek where she has some interesting encounters and discovers that she’s in danger from more than just the deadly weather. While reading it I thought about how I would love a full-length novel surrounding this story, but once I finished I realized that it’s perfect the way it is. Seriously, this story is worth the whole book.