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Friday, April 01, 2022

Reader's Diary #2297 - Joe Hill: The Black Phone Stories

Originally published as 20th Century Ghosts, this collection of mostly horror stories from Joe Hill was renamed The Black Phone Stories to promote the upcoming movie starring Ethan Hawke. The marketing must have worked as that's totally why I picked it up. 

I'm left a little anxious about the film though. The story is super short, and while I quite enjoyed it, there's definitely not enough there for a whole movie. And if cinematic adaptations of Stephen King's (Joe Hill's father) short stories has taught us anything, it's that the likelihood of pulling it off is at best a crap shoot.

Anyway, speaking of King, I'm sure Joe Hill must hate comparisons to his father but honestly I think I'd be making them for this book even if the two authors were completely unrelated. Hill captures the same great qualities that I love about King's better books and short stories: grounded, realistic characters, great atmosphere and build-up, slight doses of nostalgia, and of course a whole lot of dark imagination. As in most collections, some stories are better than others. Some feel undercooked, etc. However, the majority here are gems.

So, even if the movie doesn't wind up working, the book is worth it. 


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