the Little Red Reviewer

Archive for the ‘Joe Hill’ Category

nos4a2NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

published 2013

where I got it: purchased new



Let’s get the crux of this novel out of the way right away:  Charles Manx is one creepy motherfucker.  Driving across the country in his Rolls Royce, he promises to take good little boys and girls to Christmasland where they will always be happy and every day is Christmas morning. Manx’s henchman Bing gets to take care of the mothers.

And then there’s Victoria McQueen. She is hella awesome. And unusually talented at finding lost things.  She can hop on her bike, travel across a rickety magical bridge, and find herself wherever she needs to be to find the lost item.  Her parents are half convinced she’s been stealing trinkets all this time and “magically” finding them as a way to get attention.  One day she hops on her bike angry, looking to find some trouble. She finds Charlie Manx instead.

At seventeen years old, Vic becomes the only child to ever escape Charlie Manx. She hopped on her bicycle in Massachusetts, and was found terrified and babbling days later in Colorado. Knowing  no one would ever believe her story about a magical bridge, she lied to the authorities and said she’d spent two days locked in the trunk of Manx’s car.

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If you like contemporary horror/suspense, you’ll probably enjoy Joe Hill’s Horns.  The prose is smooth, the characters are interesting (if a little stereotypical), and that secondary reveal will just kick you in the head.

Ig really misses his girlfriend Merrin.  High school sweethearts, he was a better person when he was with her.  It’s been about a year since he lost her.  About a year since they had a heated, drunken argument, and he left her, crying, in the parking lot outside the neighborhood bar.  The next day her broken and mutilated body was found in the woods.  A year later Ig is still a person of interest, and he tells himself that people believe him when he says he loved Merrin and would never do anything to hurt her.

And then he wakes up with horns.  Little devil horns that encourage people to tell Ig their deepest darkest secrets, things they want to do, things they wish they did.  Random people tell him they have been cheating, have been lying. His parents tell him he should kill himself. The local priest happily admits to indiscretions. After reading Horns, you’ll never again wish you had the power to read people’s minds.

The first hundred pages or so of Horns was the best part for me.  Ig tries to figure out who can see his horns and who can’t, why people are telling him strange things. I expect many readers will  get out kick out of some of these conversations. I know I did.  He is the son of and brother to a trumpet players, and there is a few plays on words regarding How to Play Horns. I was suddenly interested to see how far Joe Hill was going to push this.  Ig has become some kind of demon creature,  he can influence people to say and do things they would never do. Imagine the possibilities!!

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 A fter their guidance counselor father is brutally murdered by a deranged student, the Locke siblings Tyler, Kinsey and Bode move cross county with their mother from California to rural Massachusetts. The family mansion, known as Keyhouse, sits on the end of the island village of Lovecraft. The children explore their new home, and try to come to grips with their father’s death. 

Key house is full of magical doors. There is a door that makes you old, and one that makes you young. A door that changes your sex, and one that lets you teleport. But the doors are hidden, and some of them require a key. Bode finds a door that turns him into a ghost, and meets his echo in the wellhouse. Of course his older brother and sister don’t believe him. Everyone just thinks he’s acting out. His only friend is his echo, and she promises to be his friend, if he’ll help her with just a few little things.

Meanwhile, back in California, Sam Lesser, their father’s killer, escapes his mental hospital prison, and begins hitchhiking across country. He’s got a job to finish, and the means to do it. Someone has promised Sam eternal freedom, if he brings her two very specific keys, both of which are hidden somewhere in Keyhouse. 

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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.