THROTTLE by Stephen King, Richard Matheson, Joe Hill and Adam Johnson
Throttle is the first fiction I’ve seen that was written by horror writer Joe Hill and his father, Stephen King. It’s an interesting bit of fiction because one of the primary issues in the story is the relationship between fathers and sons, and it was written for the newest venue in literary entertainment, the ebook. So the story offers a lot of new things.
Not only that, but the story also dips back and offers an homage to Steven Spielberg and Richard Matheson. Duel, Spielberg’s first movie venture when he was just a kid, relatively speaking, was a masterwork of terror that featured Dennis Weaver and an eighteen-wheeler that scared the bejesus out of me when I was also a kid. It was an awesome, white-knuckled watch that played out in an hour and a half and left me exhausted.
Spielberg worked with author Richard Matheson, who adapted his own short story into the movie script, and produced one of the most iconic pieces of celluloid ever made. The story was about a man pursued, for unknown reasons, by the driver of an eighteen-wheeler who uses his vehicle as a weapon.
The same set up is in play for Throttle, but the characters being chased in this story are outlaw bikers that call themselves the Tribe. The disparity of ages spreads the characters from the Vietnam War to the War on Terror. This military background comes up as bedrock for the characters and the story, providing a glimpse into those separate generations and how things were handled.
With such a short length, and so much of the story action or relating to past, horrific events that the reader isn’t witness to, I found it hard to lock into most of the characters. I really liked Vince, the father, and wasn’t so generous when it came to Race, the son. The other bikers stand out a little because the authors paint them authentically enough. I’ve met guys like Doc and Peaches, guys who didn’t fit because they were smart or just couldn’t get it right in life. You put a group of outsiders together, generally you end up with those people too.
The story has a familiar feel to it, which is rewarding and at the same time doesn’t promote the overall suspense which should be intact. Or maybe it was that the action plays out over the open road. I was really looking forward to buildings getting run down or crashed through, more explosions than there were.
I enjoyed the story for the short time that it took to read, and was enamored enough by the pacing to bang right through it. The art provided by Adam Johns is a colorful approach of comic book styled illustration that fits the over-the-top action in the story perfectly.
IDW Comics Publisher is presently releasing a mini-series of the short story.