Sunday, November 24, 2013

Book Review: "Horns"

"Horns" by Joe Hill
First published in 2010
368 pages
My rating: 4 out of 5
(image source)

After a drunken night that he doesn't really recollect following the worst year of his life, Ignatius Perrish wakes up to find he's sprouted a pair of horns.

They look an awful lot like devil horns, and they come with some special powers. For instance, everyone Ig sees can't seem to resist spilling out their darkest, ugliest desires and secrets -- as if they're confessing to their own private devil. And with just a little push of willpower, Ig can influence people to act on their sinful urges.

While this is inconvenient to say the least, it's also sort of useful. The love of Ig's life was brutally raped and murdered a year ago, and everyone in the small town of Gideon, New Hampshire, thinks Ig did it even though there's no real proof. And Ig's devilish new powers soon reveal to him the true story of what happened to Merrin that night. "Horns" is one part good story-telling, one part suspense and one part horror.

"Horns" was the first book I've read by Joe Hill (who happens to be the son of Stephen King) and I was thoroughly impressed with the writing. It brought back memories of dissecting the classics in high school English; the connections and symbolism and dual meanings and minute details that tie together the various parts of the story are excellent and effortless. The plot might be a bit dark for some, and while it was a page-turner it was gripping in a more subtle way that might not be appreciated by every reader.

I probably never would have picked this book up if not for a recommendation by a co-worker, but I'm glad I did. Hill's 2013 release, "NOS4A2," another crime thriller/horror novel, is pretty popular and it's now on my to-read list. "Horns" is, like nearly every good book anymore, being turned into a movie. Daniel Radcliffe is playing Ig in the 2014 release.

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