In the Tall Grass by Stephen King @StephenKing and Joe Hill @joe_hill @gollancz #BookReview #TheHorrorWithin

Posted March 13, 2021 by Zoé in Book Reviews, The Horror Within / 1 Comment

In the Tall Grass by Stephen King, Joe Hill
Published by Gollancz on October 9, 2012
Format: eBook
Source: Bought
Genres: Horror
Pages: 51
Also by this author: UR

Mile 81 meets N. in this e-book collaboration between Stephen King and Joe Hill.

In the Tall Grass begins with a sister and brother who pull off to the side of the road after hearing a young boy crying for help from beyond the tall grass.
Within minutes they are disoriented, in deeper than seems possible, and they’ve lost one another.
The boy’s cries are more and more desperate.

What follows is a terrifying, entertaining, and masterfully told tale, as only Stephen King and Joe Hill can deliver.

In the Tall Grass was originally published in two parts in the June/July and August 2012 issues of Esquire magazine. This is their second collaboration since the novella Throttle, published in 2009.

A novella that starts off with two undescriptive people dubbed the “Irish Twins”, Becky and Cal are on a journey across the country to stay with their Aunt and Uncle. Why? Well, Becky is pregnant, so she decides to stay with them while she has the baby. Her brother Cal, well where one goes the other one goes.

The scene is set quickly, in a car, no music and windows are down because of the heat. Straight away you know something will happen, I mean this is a King/Hill collaboration. As they are driving, somehow they hear the sounds of a boy crying out. Ok, so here come the chills. I think we have all read enough horror books to know, if you hear a kid crying out, you just run, it will never come to any good. Well, surprise surprise!

We are literally surrounded by this tall grass, I am already feeling claustrophobic. We are turned back to front and in circles. Sounds are never that close by, or they are so close you can touch them but you definitely can’t see them. While the boy is shouting for help, his mother is telling you to stay away. But who do we trust? The innocent voice crying for help, or the adult voice telling us to stay away? Who needs help?

Each step we take into the grass feels like another step to our death, the unknown. I am suffocated by all the fricking grass, it is unbreakable, it is fire resistant, it is almost as it is fighting back our efforts to escape. There are no sounds in this grass, apart from the shouts, it just amplifies the isolation and adds to the fear. This maze is one I fear we will never solve.


Cal and Becky, although separated meet 2 different people and it feels like salvation. Although it feels malevolent, this is not the joy I thought we would get. I mean again, who am I kidding, I mean remember who wrote this snappy story! The tale turns dark and grim so quickly as we realise there is no escape from the grass….well unless we do something….but we don’t want to do that something….do we? It calls us…. but no we have to stay away. However, things get grimmer and desperate for Becky she is with the wrong person in this tale and her scenes were graphic and terrifying. I dread to be in her situation, it was not a good one. And yet, we feel hope at a reunion. The only problem is we know what happened before Cal and Becky see each other again. And this reunion is one I do not want to think about again it was just plain awful and if I let it bother me, so gut-wrenching and disgusting. But we won’t think about that, I can’t think of that. All I will say is thank god I will never be pregnant again and therefore I know this will NEVER happen to me!

In true King style, we have an ending that will leave us screaming! So many emotions are packed into 51 pages and it is enough to have you screaming next time you see grass. I know that this book has made sure I never let my grass grow any bigger and to stay away if it does! I love that in this novella I felt so many emotions and I flew through it. I loved the mix of King and Hill, the gore mixed with the intensity of the dire situation we are in. The scare factor with the unrelenting isolation.

Now I am off to see how the Netflix adaptation fares up, I have purposely not looked at who is playing whom in the film so as not to have my thoughts determined beforehand. I have no idea to whom I might want to play Becky and Cal as we have literally no description of their characters. They are faceless people, just impressions of what they might look like! I am looking forward to seeing how this translate and I am dreading that scene that I can’t tell you about, because well….it is AWFUL! It is definitely worth a read and with only 51 pages it won’t take you long to feel the dread, the fear and the tickling of the grass on your neck.

I will be back with my review of the movie!

Until next time xxx

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