What would happen if two of the best television shows on cable right now (Sons of Anarchy & Breaking Bad) were put into a blender by two of the best writers working right now (Stephen King and his progeny, Joe Hill), one of whom then hit frappe? Well, ladies and gents, you would get "Throttle," a visceral homage to Richard Matheson's "Duel" that, by God, is almost as good as the iconic short story it's aping.
Plot is fairly basic: A close-knit motorcycle gang called the Tribe, led by a constantly feuding father/son duo (think Jax Teller and Clay Morrow if the personalities were reversed), is making its way through the Southwest after a drug deal gone violently bad. They inadvertently offend a psychotic long-haul trucker, who then proceeds to pick the bikers off one by one using his massive eighteen-wheeler. Blood, guts, twisted metal, and foul-mouthed B-action/horror movie hijinks ensue.
"Throttle" is a fast, dirty piece of work that is just the perfect length. Is it the best thing these writers have written? Far from it. Then again, it's not trying to be. This is the literary version of "grindhouse," boys and girls; fun, gory entertainment. The only way it differs from those old, washed out drive-in movie blood-baths of the late 60s and 70s is that "Throttle", for better or worse, actually has somewhat of a heart, which just acts as a total cherry on the top of an already delicious sundae.
This story was originally published in an anthology paying tribute to the late, great Matheson, and is the only story in the collection which even a reader not totally familiar with Matheson's oeuvre can enjoy. It works as an homage, and as a stand-alone story too. Give this bad boy a download, and remember to always check your side-views. In the meantime, enjoy the ride!