Author: Joe Hill
Genre: Fiction, Horror
Publisher: William Morrow
Release Date: March 1st, 2009
Length: 370 pages | 13 hours 53 minutes
Source: Borrowed from my local library
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.
I admit- I didn’t know about this book until I saw a trailer for the movie. And although it’s listed as horror, and I’m not a huge horror fan, the premise intrigued me.
Personally, I’d call this more fiction than horror. Yes, there is violence and horrific things and supernatural elements (and magical realism), but at its heart this is a human story. It’s about justice and perspective and…well, ok, a bit about revenge, too. It’s one of those narratives where the MC just can’t win, and that makes you pull even harder for him.
Also, this book has some things to say about the nature of evil, and good, and faith. Staunch Christians may find it offensive in that it challenges the ‘easy’ answers about good and evil, but I loved the juxtapositions. Statements aside, this is also a really compelling narrative, a murder mystery, a psychopath, and the story of one guy trying to catch a break.
It’s hard to say much about this without ruining the beautiful unfolding of mysteries that is part of the book’s charm. I can say that the audiobook was well done- good narrator, good quality, great editing, and no distracting musical interludes. The plot has an excellent, fast pace, and nearly every single named character is developed. I was on the edge of my seat until the bitter end, never feeling that comfortable assurance that the everyone will get what they deserve (and I LOVE that). After reading this, I can’t wait to read Joe Hill’s other books!