Joe Hill, in case you don't already know, is Stephen King's son. He's also a talented writer. Which isn't surprising. Either it's in the genes, or, more likely, Joe Hill grew up with the world's greatest writing teacher at his beck and call. What writer wouldn't benefit from having Stephen King as his live-in editor?
Anyway, In The Tall Grass is a short story co-written by father and son: by teacher and pupil. And it's a good one.
Reminiscent of King's earlier work Children Of The Corn
, it's the story of a sister (pregnant) and her twin brother who find themselves in the middle of nowhere, wading into a field of tall grass to save a lost child and his mum. Before long they realise they can't escape the grass. No matter how far they walk in one direction, they don't get any closer to the road or their car. Every time they jump up to look for the road it's either in a different direction or further away. They're stuck.
And the story goes from there.
It's a simple idea, but King and Hill milk it efficiently, constantly cranking up the tension and mystery of the tall grass.
The writing's fluid and engaging, although a couple things niggled at me, especially the references to current-day celebrity gossip and TV shows. King's known to drop in stuff like that, but it's usually a little subtler, or it's something vague such as mentioning Will Smith or Tom Cruise as a star, rather than a specific titbit of time-sensitive relationship-or-TV show gossip. This seemed more of a Hill affectation than anything. And it grated at times. Not a lot, but enough for me to notice it. It also makes the work, by default, anachronistic.
But that's just if I'm looking for flaws.
Other than that, it's an interesting horror story and worth the 99p. Check it out.