First Lines: Strange Weather

Joe Hill just keeps getting better. I keep on liking every one of his books more than the previous one. Strange Weather is no exception. It collects four short novels, which are all quite, quite good.

It starts off with “Snapshot”, where there is this guy stealing memories with some sort of Polaroid camera, and a kid stops him. It would have been a decent middle-of-the-road story, if not for the underlying humanity of it that just kinda twists your guts.

Next is “Loaded”, which is probably my favorite. It is the all-American story of what happens when the good guy with a gun turns out to be a trigger-happy asshole. There is no spooky or supernatural angle, but it is truly horrific. It is goddamn bleak, and the ending … it may be the only fitting ending, but goshdarn, that’s some bleak stuff.

“Aloft” is a kinda weird, ridiculous sci-fi story, that is made so much better by the interwoven guy-likes-girl-but-girl-does-not-like-boy story.

Finally, the second highlight: “Rain”. It is a sunny day in Boulder, Colorado, when all of a sudden it starts raining glass shards. It caught thousands of people by surprise, ripping them to bloody shreds. In the aftermath of that, Hill lets more shitty things happen to good people, lets them have a little justice, and works to an ending that caught me by surprise. And in between all that, he throws in a couple of heart-wrenching scenes.

If you haven’t read anything by Joe Hill yet, and don’t want to start with one of his doorstoppers (good as they might be), this would be an excellent place to start.

Book read
Joe Hill — Strange Weather: Four Short Novels
First line
Shelly Beukes stood at the bottom of the driveway, squinting up at our pink-sandstone ranch as if she had never seen it before. (from “Snapshot”)