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Hornsby Joe Hill
After reading Joe Hill's newest novel, Horns, I am vastly relieved: there is a successor to Stephen King. I've spent a few traumatizing moments wondering what I'd do should there not ever be another King novel or short story. Well, as long as his son continues to produce stories like Horns, I'll relax. Hill's characters are as interesting and deeply drawn as King's and his storytelling skills make the reader hungry for each new revelation in the tale.
Horns is the story of Iggy Perrish, who stands accused of the heinous murder of his high-school sweetheart. After a night of heavy drinking on the anniversary of her death, Iggy wakes up with some unusual abilities and a pair of horns sprouting from his head. Using his new "powers," he goes on a journey of vengeance, uncovering the truth about the murder while revealing more about the people around him than he ever wanted to know.
Horns is the story of Ig Perrish, who wakes up after a night of debauchery to find himself saddled with a pair of horns. It's a fantastic, genre-busting hybrid that twists and turns like a thriller, but has the character development and nuanced dialogue of literary fiction. Horns is so good, I wish I could read it again for the first time.
I expected to like this book as a guilty pleasure. I was hungry for a fast-paced read, something that would effortlessly draw me in, but wouldn't require a lot of heavy thinking. I was so wrong: Horns is highly literary, in addition to all the other qualities I was craving. Joe Hill managed to create a world so ugly, terrifying, and heartbreakingly beautiful that I desperately didn't want to leave.
"This second novel opens as 26-year-old Ignatius W. Perrish, "Ig" to his friends, wakes up with a homicidal hangover, dim notions of what he did the night before and a pair of demonic horns sprouting from his receding hairline. None of this strikes Ig as entirely inappropriate because it is the first anniversary of the brutal rape and murder of his sweetheart, Merrin Williams." Katherine Dunn, The Oregonian (read the entire Oregonian review)
Synopses & Reviews
Joe Hill has been hailed as "a major player in 21st-century fantastic fiction" (Washington Post); "a new master in the field of suspense" (James Rollins); "one of the most confident and assured new voices in horror and dark fantasy to emerge in recent years (Publishers Weekly); a writer who "builds character invitingly and plants an otherworldly surprise around every corner" (New York Times).
This gifted and brilliantly imaginative author catapulted to bestsellerdom with the chilling Heart-Shaped Box and cemented his reputation with the prize-winning volume of short fiction 20th Century Ghosts. At last, the New York Times bestselling author returns with a relentless supernatural thriller that runs like "Hell" on wheels...
Ignatius Perrish spent the night drunk and doing terrible things. He woke up the next morning with a thunderous hangover, a raging headache...and a pair of horns growing from his temples.
At first Ig thought the horns were a hallucination, the product of a mind damaged by rage and grief. He had spent the last year in a lonely, private purgatory, following the death of his beloved, Merrin Williams, who was raped and murdered under inexplicable circumstances. A mental breakdown would have been the most natural thing in the world. But there was nothing natural about the horns, which were all too real.
Once the righteous Ig had enjoyed the life of the blessed: born into privilege, the second son of a renowned musician and younger brother of a rising late-night TV star, he had security, wealth, and a place in his community. Ig had it "all," and more — he had Merrin and a love founded on shared daydreams, mutual daring, and unlikely midsummer magic.
But Merrin's death damned all that. The only suspect in the crime, Ig was never charged or tried. And he was never cleared. In the court of public opinion in Gideon, New Hampshire, Ig is and always will be guilty because his rich and connected parents pulled strings to make the investigation go away. Nothing Ig can do, nothing he can say, matters. Everyone, it seems, including God, has abandoned him. Everyone, that is, but the devil inside...
Now Ig is possessed of a terrible new power to go with his terrible new look — a macabre talent he intends to use to find the monster who killed Merrin and destroyed his life. Being good and praying for the best got him nowhere. It's time for a little revenge...
It's time the devil had his due...
"In bestseller Hill's compulsively readable supernatural thriller, his second after Heart-Shaped Box, dissolute Ignatius Perrish wakes up one morning to find a pair of satanic horns sprouting from his forehead. To the residents of Gideon, N.H., this grotesque disfigurement only confirms their suspicions that Ig raped and murdered his girlfriend, Merrin Williams, a crime for which he was held but soon released for lack of evidence. Ig is also now privy to the deepest, and often darkest, private thoughts of anyone he touches. Once Ig discovers through this uncanny sensitivity the true killer's identity, he schemes to reveal the culprit's guilt through natural means. Toggling between past and present, and incidents that range from the supernaturally surreal to the brutally realistic, Hill spins a story that's both morbidly amusing and emotionally resonant. The explanations for Ig's weird travails won't satisfy every reader, but few will dispute that Hill has negotiated the sophomore slump. 6-city author tour. (Mar.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Mr. Hill writes with such palpable enthusiasm that he has no trouble hooking readers....[He] is able to combine intrigue, editorializing, impassioned romance and even fiery theological debate in one well-told story." Janet Maslin, The New York Times
"Hill has written a novel that is all his. Highly recommended, particularly for fans of Clive Barker and Christopher Moore." Library Journal (starred review)
"Hill has emerged as one of America's finest horror writers....That empathy with the Devil — taking a despicable character and slowly bringing us around to his side — is the sort of thing Hill does best. It's also what's missing from so much of the girl-meets-vampire gruel that dominates the genre these days." Time Magazine
"Horns isn't a perfect novel, but it's devilishly good....Hill is a terrific writer with a great imagination. He has a special talent for taking us and his characters to very weird places." USA Today
"Hill proves again that he is running on his own steam....The wise guys point out that the literature of horror fantasy tends to be both romantic and conservative. Normalcy is idealized and so precious that its violation is the essence of horror. Joe Hill's sweet, fanged demonology takes us there." Katherine Dunn, The Oregonian
"Horns is more confident and unexpected [than Heart-shaped Box), taking risks in chronology and perspective....Hill's willingness to run with a supernatural concept without falling into predictable patterns keeps what could've been a simple revenge story from becoming stale. (Grade: A-)" The Onion AV Club
"Richly allusive, Horns references not only classical mythology, but Biblical texts, pre-Christian folklore, and such rock 'n' roll legends as Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels....Though [Hill] never lets us ignore the sound of cracking bones and the smell of rotting offal endemic to horror, he explores large swathes of metaphysical territory, too." Seattle Times
The New York Times-bestselling author of Heart-Shaped Box — "a major player in 21st-century fantastic fiction" (Washington Post) — returns with a relentless new supernatural thriller.
Joe Hill's critically acclaimed, New York Times bestselling, Bram Stoker Award-winning debut chiller, Heart-Shaped Box, heralded the arrival of new royalty onto the dark fantasy scene. With Horns, he polishes his well-deserved crown. A twisted, terrifying new novel of psychological and supernatural suspense, Horns is a devilishly original triumph for the Ray Bradbury Fellowship recipient whose story collection, 20th Century Ghosts, was also honored with a Bram Stoker Award—and whose emotionally powerful and macabre work has been praised by the New York Times as, "wild, mesmerizing, perversely witty…a Valentine from hell."
About the Author
Joe Hill is the author of a previous novel, Heart-Shaped Box; a story collection, 20th Century Ghosts; and an occasional comic series, Locke and Key.
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