Loaded: A horror Tale about Mass Shootings That Suffers from a Terrible Timing
Loaded by Joe Hill
So I have been reading a lot of Joe Hill over the last couple of years and have been enjoying pretty much all his work with the exception of N0S4A2. And now I am reading the short story collection of his called Strange Weather and this is a review of the second story in the collection called Loaded.
So what is Loaded? It’s a horror short explaining themes of gun enthusiasts, mental illness, and mass shootings. The story focuses on Kellaway who is a short tempered mentally unstable man, who loves guns. When he threatens his family with one, a restraining order is filed and he is no longer allowed to possess a weapon. Despite what the laws says though, he gets his hands on one illegally and decides to carry it on him, especially to his job as a security guard at the local mall. One day an employee tries to kill her boss, and he rushes in. He guns down a Muslim woman with a child assuming they were terrorist before shooting the actual shooter and another innocent who may say something about him shooting the woman and child.
It all seems good for Kellaway though as he spins a story that the city believes and he is painted as a hero. The mayor loves him. The news can’t get enough of his story. And there’s even talks he may receive the key to the city. But a reporter for a small paper named Aisha found some things that don’t add up and begins to print the truth. And the truth is something Kellaway cannot afford.
The good and bad? Let’s start with the bad. The story seems to have a political bent which is okay to express in any form of art. But story is engineered to make you either super uncomfortable or just anger you depending on your beliefs are concerning the second amendment and the mass shootings that are plaguing this country. I like escapism and this story hit too close to home for me and I’m sure it will others as well. It will get under your skin especially if know a victim or survivor in the current mass shooting epidemic. And I can’t imagine how a survivor of a mass shooting would feel while reading this. Then if you love your guns and the second ammendment, this story is really painting gun owners as serial killers in a way. So this really can get under the skin of those folks as well. It’s all very strange for the whole story. Also this story is dark. It’s has the darkest ending imaginable. As the reader goes down this rabbit hole of everything wrong with America, you should know there is no happy ending. It’s just a gut punch. It’s just a depressing as what’s been on the news lately.
The good? The story is well written. The pacing and action is well done.
Overall, this was a difficult read. Maybe years down the road in America when we have long fixed this issue of mass shootings, this story can be looked at in a different light. But for a lot of people including me, it will not be an enjoyable read at all. If you are one those people who can disconnect from the world entirely and read this without thinking about real life then by all means read it. But from my point of view (and maybe a little of bias) I cannot recommend this to anyone because after reading it most people just feel awful. It’s engineered to trigger people regardless what side of the politics you stand on, yet has a lot of frightening truth to it at the same time.
1 ½ smoothie out of four
Overall Rating: A Horror Tale about Mass Shootings That Suffers from a Terrible Release Window