Yes, Joe Hill is the son of Stephen King. And yes, he’s a chip off the old block and this apple landed pretty close the King tree. But Hill is his own writer, and although his genre is similar to his famous father’s, he is unique and a master of the craft of short stories in his own right.
20th Century Ghosts is a short story collection that’s just awesome. Every story is different, but all of them are page turners. There’s something for everyone here- from the Kafka lovers (You Will Hear the Locust Sing), to those that like a little bitter with their sweet (Pop Art), super hero with a twist (The Cape), or your standard thriller (The Black Phone). I can honestly say that Hill has written some amazing short stories, and even the ones that fall short of amazing are still pretty damn good. I dare you to read Pop Art and not cry. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
I told you it’d make you cry. Don’t let the name of the book fool you, there’s so much more than ghosts and horror (and I use the term loosely, it’s no late night slasher film on Fear Net) here, there’s a lot of dark beauty. Writer’s will tell you, short stories are hard to write. Joe Hill makes it look easy. Add it to your TBR pile, move it to the front, thank me later. Or wait for October’s readathon, if you can, because the tales 20th Century Ghosts will blow your mind and you won’t be able to put it down.
20th Century Ghosts gets a Midnight Book Rating of full on, breathless reading, Midnight. The clock has struck the hour and you’re under you blanket reading with a flashlight held in trembling hands.