Like Father Like Son?

I am embarrassed to admit that even though I work in a library, surrounded by the best books and thousands of thoughtful reading recommendations, that I did not realize that popular author Joe Hill was even more popular author Stephen King's son until Hill's latest book, The Fireman, was released in May of this year.  (You didn't know either?  Oh wonderful, we can form a support group!  And don't feel too bad, even Mr. Hill's agent was in the dark for quite some time.)

I read two novels, one from King and one from Hill, back to back, and I appreciated the opportunity to compare and contrast the two authors -- even though I realize this is exactly why Joe Hill changed his name in the first place!

From Joe Hill, The Fireman describes a world obliterated by a spore based plague, named Dragonscale, that sets its victims and the world aflame.  The survivors of the first wave of the illness must decide if Dragonscale is something to be eradicated, or celebrated.  Aside from an awkward depiction of a dysfunctional marriage, Hill's characters are genuine and believable.  The book ends with a set up for a sequel, but, it could just as well be a one book story.

From Stephen King, End of Watch is the last book in the Bill Hodges trilogy, a departure from King's tradition of horror and the occult.  Or, at least that is what everyone thought after reading the first book.  By book two there were hints of the supernatural and sure enough, number three turned those hints into solid plot points.  But even though the second and third installment of the trilogy veer back towards the paranormal, at heart, these books are detective novels.  King delights at painting a detailed picture of Hodges' post-retirement life, and his inability to forget one particular case he was never able to close.   Readers who don't normally like King's novels, especially the Dark Tower series and apocalypse tales like The Stand , will be pleasantly surprised by this trilogy.

The Fireman

End of Watch


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