The Black Phone [Movie Tie-in]: Stories - book cover
  • Publisher : William Morrow; Media tie-in edition
  • Published : 28 Dec 2021
  • Pages : 480
  • ISBN-10 : 0063215136
  • ISBN-13 : 9780063215139
  • Language : English

The Black Phone [Movie Tie-in]: Stories

Joe Hill's award-winning story collection, originally published as 20th Century Ghosts, featuring "The Black Phone," soon to be a major motion picture from Universal Pictures and Blumhouse Productions

Jack Finney is thirteen, alone, and in desperate trouble. For two years now, someone has been stalking the boys of Galesberg, stealing them away, never to be seen again. And now, Finney finds himself in danger of joining them: locked in a psychopath's basement, a place stained with the blood of half a dozen murdered children.

With him in his subterranean cell is an antique phone, long since disconnected . . . but it rings at night anyway, with calls from the killer's previous victims. And they are dead set on making sure that what happened to them doesn't happen to Finney.

"The Black Phone" is one of fifteen stories in Joe Hill's first story collection, originally published as 20th Century Ghosts-the inventive and chilling compendium that established this award-winning, critically acclaimed, and bestselling author as "a major player in 21st-century fantastic fiction" (Washington Post).

Editorial Reviews

"Hill's best stories veer away from the well-trodden creep shows and back alleys of genre writing into more dangerous territory: suburban basements, ball fields and schoolyards." -- Washington Post

"[An] inventive collection . . . brave and astute." -- New York Times Book Review

"Fully developed characters with complex emotional lives enhance the 14 stories in Joe Hill's extraordinary collection,20th Century Ghosts. There's not a false note or disappointing effort in this volume." -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"The collection of short stories ranges from creepy to sweet, with an impressive arsenal of tactics to attack your psyche." -- Boston Globe

"20th Century Ghosts is Hill's first collection of short stories and displays consummate skill in a variety of genres . . . Amusing, moving, horrifying-Ghosts runs the full spectrum." -- USA Today

"Alternately sad, scary, strange and at times even sweet, these tales will haunt you long after you've read them." -- Parade

"[A] lovely, earnest collection of short fiction." -- Village Voice

"[O]ne of the best [horror] collections of the year. Hill is a relative newcomer who consistently creates creepy, very disturbing stories." -- Locus

"Each tale is unique, and the collection proves that Hill's talent is not limited to horror, but extends well into the mainstream." -- Denver Rocky Mountain News

"[A] new take on the fantasy-horror genre...Highly recommended." -- The Sun Herald (Sydney, Australia)

Readers Top Reviews

The ParagonWill Flit
Finney is a young lad, recently turned thirteen, waiting for his father and drinking grape soda. When the man across the street staggers about, overladen with shopping and struggling with his car keys, an almost comic scene ensues, with the fat man dropping his shopping and taking a tumble. But it’s just the beginning of a sudden and shocking kidnapping. The writing was sparse, with not a word wasted, but it was really rather beautiful. The characters were well-drawn and sympathetic. The scenery was poignant and powerful. This was my first time reading Joe Hill and he did not disappoint. I found the opening scene very evocative. It put me in mind of the snatch-scene in ’The Silence of the Lambs’ mixed with a dash of ‘IT’, although that was probably due to the presence of balloons. The biggest surprise is this: it’s only twenty-six pages long. If you're looking for something quick and creepy, this is it.
G. BledsoeSpike
I'm delighted to see that short story material is finding new distribution methods. A well crafted short story has become too rare a thing. If Kindle can successfully distribute short fiction and people will buy it, then more authors will work within the genre. Joe HIll's "The Black Phone" isn't the best short story I've ever read. It wasn't something that my mind returned to over and over after finishing it. But it wasn't supposed to be. It was part of a collection and taken in that context I'm sure it served its purpose. Hill does have the distinctive King "touch," of course.
Cathy MillsMark Abra
At the beginning of this (very) short story, I was intrigued, drawn in, and curious about where it was going. The young man who was abducted was an appealing character, and I really was rooting for him to escape the danger he'd gotten into. The setting was well-described and the room where the victim was "stashed" was eerie enough to to almost be another character in the book. So, it started out really grabbing my attention and making me want to know what happens next. The ending . . . . well, left me a little cold. Too abrupt, too disjointed, and frankly, the bad guy didn't get everything he deserved. I was just left with too many questions. Letting a reader come to his/her own conclusions is one thing - but this story just stopped. I've read one other thing by Mr. Hill and have at least one more in my queue, so I'm not giving up on him. But it'll probably be awhile before I try another of his singles.
Geraldo Hanna
My introduction to Joe Hill was good. And when I say good that's not in anyway a criticism of his writing - Hill's anthology of stories are like any collection. Some you love, some you like, some you don't quite know where they're trying to say or evoke. But overall I loved reading a few out of the collection. This is my first book by Hill and it certainly won't be my last.
That phone is ringing, but you know it's not supposed to. You are pretty sure you heard it, and just when you've convinced yourself it was just in your mind, you hear it again. Joe Hill explores some of our worst fears in this short. I think as a child we hear stories of abduction and children that are murdered and it really is something that seems far and away and unbelievable. When I was really little, they had the whole milk carton thing going on, you remember, with the "Missing" in bright red and the picture of a kid that you didn't know, but could imagine knowing. This short really explores what could happen, what might have happened to those "Missing". It's a creepy, uneasy feeling to be held, to imagine what is going to happen to you, knowing the person who has you, who took you, isn't right. It has tension, great descriptive writing and I imagined what I would be doing, I'd be looking for something to use as a weapon too wouldn't I? Wouldn't I try to crawl up to the window? It's a tense thriller that explores fears we've all had at one time or another. So far, Joe Hill has never disappointed.