Miscellanea, Reviews

Throttle by Stephen King and Joe Hill

(Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)

Do you want to know what’s disappointing? Reviews, in general, are the least popular posts I write, yet they by far require the most thought, time, and effort to put together. If you’re curious, lists are by far my most popular, followed by bookish thoughts and literary mixtapes, with reviews scraping the bottom of the popularity barrel. This is disappointing, because aside from literary mixtapes, they are my favorite to write. But I also like people to read what I write, so…

What’s to be done about it? Do I add in more about television? (Because Sons of Anarchy fans would like the following story…) Do I add in more about films? (Because Steven Spielberg’s first film is involved.) What about classic authors? (Because Richard Matheson’s short story was integral to the creation of this novella.) Or classic rock? (AC/DC…) In short, I really don’t know. Anyway.


What do you get when you combine Sons of Anarchy, Richard Matheson, Stephen King and Joe Hill? Throttle, a short story/novella written for the He Is Legend: An Anthology Celebrating Richard Matheson. The story is simple enough, a father and son duo lead a tightly-knit motorcycle gang home after a badly botched drug deal. The relationship between the two – think Clay Morrow and Jax Teller, though reversed – is bitter, caustic, and divisive within the club. At a truck stop diner, they unknowingly offend a long haul trucker. On the desolate highway outside of town, the enraged trucker begins to pick off the bikers, one by one. It’s visceral, bloody, foul-mouthed, and gory. It’s not written to be great literature, it’s written for entertainment. And in that it succeeds.

Throttle was the first collaboration between Stephen King and Joe Hill and is a tribute to Matheson’s Duel  – they’ve since written the fun, yet repulsive In the Tall Grass. Duel, Matheson’s classic story of a psychotic trucker trying to run down a Plymouth Valiant, later became Steven Spielberg’s first film – it was made for television, but well received. Throttle works well as a standalone and while it’s not quite as good as the iconic original, it works well as an homage too. At 47 pages, it is the perfect length, with the  gut-churning action tempered with a bit of heart. For .99 cents, it’s absolutely worth reading. 3.5/5, cover art by Adam Johnson and illustrations by Nelson Daniel. If it’s a story you’ve already read and loved, you might want to check out the comic book adaptation Road Rage: Throttle.

If you blog about books, how do your review posts fare? Which types of posts seem to be your most popular? And finally, did you know that both a homage and an homage are acceptable? The two variants are (currently) equally common.

(Also, is anyone else excited about the rise in biker fiction? I have to admit, despite never having been on a motorcycle, I am appreciative and fascinated.)


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