A disappointing collection from one of my favourite authors who freely acknowledges in the opening "About The Stories" section that he does not usually write short fiction and is not particularly enamoured by it.
Now I'm all for a bit of transparency when it comes to authors and their work. But in this case, it really shows that Smith had to be talked into this collection.
Smith is renowned by writing pulpish horror with beautiful femme fatales who will kill anyone and anything that get in their way, hapless males who get led around by one of their organs, and fantastic creatures which bring mayhem and death to anyone they happen across. And while Highways to Hell is replete with plenty of the first two types of characters, the fantastic elements i enjoy about much of his longer fiction was largely absent.
That alone would not be enough to sully a collection for me. But what does are stories which are too repetitive to be distinguishable a day after completing them, and numerous typos and errors not picked up by editors before release. Highways to Hell, sadly, suffers from both of these problems.
That said, there are two very good stories which stood head and shoulders above the rest here: JARHEAD and TRUTH. Both were varied enough to be memorable, one contained an excellent twist, and the other was disturbingly entertaining. If only the other tales contained within had have been of the same calibre...
Time to pick a Bryan Smith novel to read to restore my fanboy love for his work.
2.5 Women as Beautiful as They Are Lethal for Highways to Hell.