There are four novellas in this rather impressive collection. Here’s my reviews of each of them.

Snapshot

A strange story that starts out bright and brilliantly and then fades away – almost as if it is itself an old polaroid photo.

Back in the 1980s, a young boy encounters a now senile woman of his acquaintance. Her mind is gone, but she claims it’s because of a mysterious being she calls The Polaroid Man. Desperately, she urges the boy to avoid him. But of course. it isn’t long before he encounters this awful man and his terrible camera…

It has a lot of interesting things to say about how we treat old people and is a very compassionate piece of writing, but once the big crescendo happens there’s still a lot of story left and rather than build to something else, the momentum just collapses. A good novella, but one that needs more of a third act.

Loaded

I’ve never read King senior’s anti-gun manifesto, but it surely can’t be as powerful a piece as the one Joe Hill has written here. Real, affecting, bloody and as forceful as a smack in the face. It’s a truly brilliant diatribe.

Three characters who have all had experience with guns find their fates intertwined in a terrible way.

I don’t want to say more as I don’t want to ruin anyone’s enjoyment, but suffice to say that this might not be straightforward horror, but it is absolutely terrifying.

Aloft

A young man attempts a parachute jump, but instead of reaching ground finds himself stuck on a strange alien cloud. This is a distinctly odd tale, one which seems like it might have started life in one of Joe Hill’s dream journals. There is character growth, but there’s not really much substance to it. In a few days I may feel that it is itself as ephemeral as a cloud. But fresh after reading it, I find it quite mesmerising. I liked the strange logic, the imagery and the way its quietly haunting. I don’t think it’s brilliant, but I know I’ve never read another story quite like it.

Rain

A shower of sharp diamonds falls on Boulder, Colorado and kills thousands – including our narrator’s beloved. Our narrator sets out to travel twenty miles to tell her beloved’s father the news, and so begins a journey which has echoes of Dorothy’s in THE WIZARD OF OZ. 

Part horror, part sci-fi and containing more than a few swipes of political satire (it shouldn’t be surprising that Donald Trump gets a kicking from the King family). The protagonist takes a journey with plenty of scares, and discovers that home might be the most terrifying place of all.

My debut novel, THE WANNABES – which has been out of print for a little while – is now available for free. A supernatural thriller of beautiful actresses and deadly ambition in London town, it’s well worth your time. You can get your copy here!

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