In the Tall Grass by Stephen King and Joe Hill is a 62-page Kindle Single on sale at Amazon for USD 3.99. No option for a free Kindle Unlimited read. However, there is life before, during and after Amazon. I read this short novel as part of my Scribd subscription. The immediate attraction for me was the name Stephen King, a guarantee of good writing. The same is true for Joe Hill and I was curious to see how two excellent writers would collaborate in a mix of writing styles.
I am always pleased to get new information from reading, even when it might be the meaning of an offensive term. In this story, we learn that Calvin and Becky were called Irish Twins because they were both born in the same year and therefore less than twelve months apart. I had no idea why that was offensive. A quick check of Google put my Politically Correct Police on alert. I use them not to defend politically correct speech but to call out the ridiculousness of the doctrine/practice/belief system wherever I come across it. Basically, I am a “Sticks and stones …” type person and feel people should get over themselves.
For Becky, there was another social faux pas, getting pregnant while still unwed at age nineteen. What disturbed Cal and Becky’s parents was not the pregnancy … so much. It was Becky’s dismissal of the baby father as a “fool.” Becky decided it would be better to live in California with an aunt and uncle until the baby was born. She asked brother Cal, a university student to take time off to drive her to California. Cal was pleased to do so and even volunteered to temporarily leave school and stay with her in San Diego. A Road Trip was on.
It had to be Kansas. The AC was off, the windows were down, the radio was off. Cal and Becky were enjoying nature. (A note to self: When traveling through Kansas, turn the AC on, keep the windows up, play heavy metal music on the radio. That is what I will do after reading this story). Because of no distractions, Becky and Cal heard the calls for help from fields adjoining the roadway. Fields which had grass of amazing height. It was a young boy calling for help; both Becky and Cal could understand a boy getting lost in such tall grass. Their humanitarian concern forced them to try and help. Even when a woman’s voice also called out from the grass telling the boy, Tobin, to shut up.
What Cal and Becky could not understand was how they had gotten lost in the tall grass as well. They couldn’t find the boy. The woman had tried once more to scream “Get out now,” but was then silent. Cal and Becky even lost each other. And then they began to lose their minds. In attempting to get a fix on their positions, each of them had tried to jump above the height of the grass to focus on a landmark such as their car, the road, or a nearby church. The problem was that although they jumped from their same positions to examine their surroundings several times, the surroundings changed. One time they were looking at the front of the church, another time there would be a side view. One time they would see the front of a road sign, the next time the back.
And the grass became a malevolent entity. Could they still save the boy? Could they save themselves? Could the boy save them? This is a fun short read by two talented authors. I would give it five Amazon stars but I am not posting this review on Amazon as they don’t seem to like reviews which were not of a verified purchase from Amazon. Highly recommended, though.