Cannonball Read 5, Book 28: Horns by Joe Hill

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Joe Hill’s debut novel, Heart Shaped Box, terrified the life out of me. But then, he is his father’s son. Personally, if my dad were Stephen King, I wouldn’t be a writer, much less a writer in the same genre. I’d be an accountant or something. But Joe Hill has more backbone than I do and thank heavens for that because three years after that spine chilling debut comes Horns, a less terrifying but no less brilliant book. The star of this book is one Ignatius Perry, who wakes up one morning with a throbbing hangover and devil horns growing out of his head…..

A year before the novel opens, Ig’s girlfriend, Merrin, has been raped and murdered. Ig was the only suspect, but lack of evidence meant he was neither legally guilty or acquitted of the crime. The small town of Gideon he lives in all believe he did it. But Ig’s horns come with a terrible power. People tell him the truth. And people obey him when he tells them to follow their heart’s desire (the more sinful, the better). Armed with this new power, he can solve the mystery of who killed Merrin. But as we all know, the road to hell is paved with good intentions……

Reading this was like reading a top of his game old school Stephen King (unlike a newly returned to the top of his game Stephen King, with 11.22.63), and I can’t really praise Hill much higher than that. The murder mystery is so well handled, it almost doesn’t need the gimmick of turning Ig into the devil to resolve it. The supporting characters are all beautifully three dimensional. The attention to detail is unrelenting (in a good way). And when the devil gets his due, the punishment handed out is unpleasant in the extreme.  A touch more clarity on what actually put the horns there might not have gone amiss, but other than that, this is a remarkable, bold, inventive delight. Do yourselves a favour and read it before the film adaptation comes out. After all, Harry Potter is playing Ig.

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2 thoughts on “Cannonball Read 5, Book 28: Horns by Joe Hill

  1. Pingback: Popcultureboy’s #CBR5 Reviews #22 – #28 | Cannonball Read V

  2. Pingback: Cannonball Read 6, Book 25: NOS4R2 by Joe Hill | popcultureboy's book quest

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