To say that I was excited to get my grubby mitts on Mr. Hill’s new novel would be a gross understatement. Having thoroughly enjoyed- and, quite frankly, having had the bejeezus frightened outta me by- his debut novel Heart-Shaped Box, I have high expectations for Horns. Joe Hill is an incredibly gifted writer, and though I’m only a few chapters in, so far so good.
This is what I had to say about Heart-Shaped Box in the Weekly Planet in October 2008:
Heart-Shaped Box: A thoroughly creepy, downright scary, and deftly crafted ghost story. I haven’t gotten chills like this from reading prose since I was a teenager. Having had dealings with the paranormal myself (that’s not the shrooms talking… promise), I can honestly tell you- Mr. Hill describes the pulse pounding terror, the vacuous chill of such encounters so well I only read this book on the train, or otherwise in public… so that when I look up from my book I’m reminded I’m still in the real world….
Also new and recommended from Joe is a lavish hardcover reprint of his sleeper-hit comic series from IDW Locke & Key.
Put both books on your Halloween reading list. Then move them to the top of that list.
Here’s the publiher hype for Horns:
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. . . .
The author has also posted a playlist of music (mostly rock) he penned Horns to, titled Iggy Perrish’s Rock Bible. It serves well as a soundtrack when reading. “Hasn’t rock n’ roll always been the devil’s music?”