Thursday, February 11, 2010
Taken by the Horns
That's generally as scary as I want anything I read to be. I am not brave. It has only been in the last two years that I have slept with the lights off. So what am I doing reading a book by the hot new writer of horror/suspense, the author of the bestselling The Heart-shaped Box, the man that babies are named for and critics adore, Joe Hill? With the lights now off at night I should be baby stepping my way into watching Scooby Doo without getting anxious (more true than I would like anyone to know) about those pesky kids pulling the mask off Swamp Thing only to discover that it's Old Charlie who runs the mill rather than letting a terrific writer put pictures in my head that I cannot erase.
Woe is me.
The novel that is doing all this damage is Horns. When our hero Ignatis Perrish wakes up after a night of bad behavior he's got regrets, a hangover and devil horns. Quite the triple threat. Ig soon realizes that the horns are no hallucination and in fact like a good lipstick they have come with a gift. The initial discovery of the gift is a sarcastic crack up but that doesn't last long. Ig discovers there is a very dark awareness that he now has to navigate. As unwanted and icky as the horns and the G.W.P. are this isn't the worst thing that has happened to Ig. A year ago he went from being the young man with a good back ground on his way up in the world to the un-prosecuted but publicly convicted and shunned rapist and murderer of his beloved sweetheart , Merrin. Since Merrian's death Ig has been treated like the devil in his small town and now he looks the part. Ig decides to try and use his new power to find Merrian's real killer and make that person confess.
The unexpected, sarcastic humor that Hill laces through Horns is what I enjoyed the most. The suspense and bizarre experiences of Ig are what kept me reading. As Ig begins his quest for justice and a way out of his year long private hell you are immediately captured. The novel goes back and forth between then and now and the truth is cleverly exposed. Hill writes this novel with a kind of telling you a story over the backyard fence chattiness which offsets the horrific events perfectly. You are surprised every time and you are completely stuck. You will have to get to the end of this invention to see it all play out and you will soooooooooooooo enjoy doing it.
Happy and maybe the light's back on for a while but it was worth it.
P.S. I was sent an ARC of Horns by the good people at William Morrow part of HarperCollins Publishers and I thank them for it!