Throttle

by Stephen King, Joe Hill

A father, his headstrong son, his old war buddy from Vietnam and seven other road brothers of The Tribe (Live on the Road, Die on the Road) get mixed up in a deal that goes bad. Very bad. While discussing the matter in a restaurant parking lot they become aware of a nearby trucker who promptly leaves the lot only to terrorize the family of bikers when they move out. The tale is homage to Richard Matheson’s “Duel” where an unstoppable king of the road must be stopped, and the novelette Throttle originally appeared in the tribute anthology He Is Legend.

This one reads like lightning as you might expect from collaboration between these writers. Even the conversation leading to initial action is fast and brutal and you learn a bit of character backstory on the road. Once it really gets going there’s no stopping the momentum.

Despite honoring the framework of an outstanding story, the collaboration of extremely gifted authors and a killer pace, this one doesn’t quite go where it needs to go for 5 stars but comes close on speed alone. It’s riveting but doesn’t match the desperate tension of its predecessor even if its stakes are higher.

Throttle is about 14,000 words to the 10,000 of “Duel” and is over well before you know it.

“You couldn’t drive a man’s family to earth and expect to live.”

4 stars

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