source: Free ARC via LibraryThing
title: Strange Weather: Four Short Novels
author: Joe Hill/ Twitter
genre: short stories/science fiction/horror
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.
rated: 4 out of 5 stars
A collection of four chilling novels, ingeniously wrought gems of terror from the brilliantly imaginative, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Fireman, Joe Hill.
I read most of Strange Weather: Four Short Novels by Joe Hill as part of the October 2017 24 Hour Read-a-Thon. This is a nice set of four novellas, scary, sad, strange and entertaining. All four got under my skin a little.
In “Snapshot” Michael tells the story of when he was just 13 years old a strange man came along with what seemed to be a Polaroid camera and the weird series of events that followed. It is also a story about Michael’s childhood nanny and family friend who now suffers from Alzheimer’s. This one had rain and lighting as a backdrop. It was a moving story, I couldn’t help but like Michael’s character and the relationship he had with his childhood caretaker was sweet. It was something he took for granted until he reflected on it as an adult. His mother was absent most of his life so his nanny took her place. The Alzheimer’s was sad to read about and I felt like the author did a sympathetic job with this tough topic. It is just a sad and unfair situation. It was also creepy about the man with the camera. This one had an almost Twilight Zone feel to it. When this story was over I missed it.
I could see the awareness slip away from her, a light on a dimmer switch being turned down to a dull glow. -p. 7, Snapshot, Strange Weather by Joe Hill
“Loaded” was a sad one. It was a heavier story about gun violence. I didn’t think the timing was good for this subject matter, with all the gun violence we have going on in the world and with Vegas being so recent.
Natural forest fire in Florida was the backdrop here about a 20-year-old who shoots her 40 something year old married lover after he decides to leave her. The twenty year old’s rage was written well as was her married lover’s selfishness and indecency. The cover up he creates once he is tired of her pushes her over the edge. The plot thickens as the incident turns into an active shooting at the mall and someone tries to take credit for saving lives, when in fact they were taking more lives. As I said, it was heavy, but I wanted to see the truth finally come to light. Woven in the storyline are themes of gun violence, racism, marital abuse and mental illness. Hill picked heavy topics here and wrote an uncomfortable story but one that makes you think. This one was very messed up. I was stunned by the ending.
“Aloft” was a strange story about a guy named Aubrey who is in love with one of his female friends and as the two are on a plane about to skydive, the plane gives out. They have to do an emergency jump and when it is his turn to jump with this skydiving instructor, they land on a solid cloud. As Aubrey is left alone on this strange and animated cloud he has visions and flashbacks and wonders how he can escape. This was a really odd story. Very imaginative. I could easily see and feel the solid cloud he was on.
You knew what was real not by its qualities but by its imperfections. -p. 299, Aloft, Strange Weather
The final story was “Rain” and it was my least favorite. This one was about a sudden inexplicable rain shower consisting of large dangerous shards of crystals. The shower kills many and is considered a terrorist attack. The protagonist is a woman named Honeysuckle who sees her girlfriend and her girlfriend’s mother killed by the sudden deadly rainfall. She then decides to walk a 30 mile trip to find her late girlfriend’s father and tell him the terrible news in person. As the story flows and Honeysuckle takes her trip you see the aftermath of the deadly rainfall. This one was gruesome as far as the nail like rain that falls and kills and maims so many. It was a short, post apocalyptic story. I just felt like it could have gone in a different direction.
It is odd how much we want to be in love when you think about how much anxiety comes with it, like a tax on money you won in the lottery. -p.340, Rain, Strange Weather
Overall, Strange Weather: Four Short Novels was very entertaining and I enjoyed it. The writing was fast paced and the stories really took off. As usual with short stories or novella collections, I enjoyed some more than others. It goes without saying that Joe Hill is a talented writer and it is nice to see the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree in the Stephen King household.
The sky to the west was a bright burning gold, darkening to a deep red along the horizon-a hideous shade, the color if the human heart. -p.62, Snapshot, Strange Weather
Disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. I am under no obligation to write a positive review. I received by free ARC of Strange Weather via LibraryThing.