Snapshot: An Unique Tale About a Supernatural Camera
Snapshot by Joe Hill
So I have really been enjoying the work of Joe Hill. He made one heck of an first impression with Horns. And even though I did not enjoy N0S482, he won me back with the first Locke and Key book so hard, that I had to read the whole series. And after I finished that Amazon had one of his newer books Strange Weather on sale. So I began reading it and quickly found that it is a collection of short stories. So as with the tradition of all the other reviews done so far, I review short stories by themselves unless the book uses the stories to episodically tell an story arch in a TV show like fashion (such as the Witcher books) or if the stories are about characters who ultimately start intertwining by the end. So here is the review of the first story in the Strange Weather collection by Joe Hill called Snapshot.
So what is it about? It’s about thirteen year old chubby boy name Mike. One day while tinkering in the garage trying to build a ray gun for the science fair, he sees Shelly Beake standing at the end of the drive way staring at him. The old woman is bare foot, dirty, and ragged. Shelly is his neighbor and used to be his nanny for a huge chunk of his life (taking the place of his always overseas mother) before she got dementia. Mike escorts her back to her home. As they walk Shelly rambles on about a man with acamera. She says he’s out there trying to find her and take away her soul. When he returns her home, her husband asks if he could help watch Shelly sometime as he is literally pulling his hair out trying to run his gym and take care of his wife. Seeing how shelly was once like family Mike agrees.
But then things get strange. Mike does meet a shady looking man in a fancy Cadillac with one of the most bizarre cameras he ever seen called a soleroid. Mike’s mind begins to race. He becomes scared of the man. He worries If he may be the one that may be after Shelly and fears for her. As much as he wants to push it to the side as nonsense, he can’t get the fear out of his head.
So what’s the good? The characters are likable. The story’s concept is a very unique take on the myth that a camera will steal your soul. It does twist that story on its head and runs with it. But the best thing this story does, is build up tension. Much of this story is Mike’s overactive imagination and fear raising the stakes and making the bad guy seem like ghostly apparition than a man. This was wonderfully done.
The bad? The ending was a little disappointing. There somewhat of a lengthy epilogue about what happens to Mike years later showing what sort of person he became and ultimately, its depressing. He comes off as a very depressed man living in a vacuum existence and that was just sad. Maybe the author wanted to make a point of Mike chose a non evil path, despite how mundane it may be, but it just came off as depressing. I feel it would have been better it the story was just cut after the whole incident that happened in his childhood.
Overall. The story is pretty good read. It’s a nice spin on old folklore. The characters are strange and the story surprisingly as a lot of heart to, but it does lose all that heart with the epilogue. It’s not a must read, but if you stumble across this story, it’s most definitely worth the read.
2 ½ smoothies out of four
Overall Rating: An Unique Tale About a Supernatural Camera.