Read 1/12/10 - 1/20/10
4 Stars - Strongly Recommended
This Advanced Readers Copy was sent to me by the lovely people of HarperCollins. So a big thank you goes out to them!
Horns is Joe Hill's second novel, following Heart Shaped Box and a collection of short stories 20th Century Ghosts. Horns is set to release on February 16th, and Joe Hill will be touring to promote the book, so check his website joehillfiction.com for upcoming dates and locations.
In Horns, we meet Ig Parrish. Painfully hung over, grieving the brutal murder of his girlfriend - no different from any other man.. well, except for the fact that he has just awakened to find horns growing out of his head.
We wake up beside Ig, just as confused and concerned as he is about what horrible things might have taken place last night. We stand behind him in the bathroom as he stares at the grotesque curves of bone jutting from his temples. We question his sanity as he wonders if he is losing his mind or dying of a brain tumor that causes him to see things which aren't there. We follow him into the hallway as he has a strange conversation with his girlfriend - where she speaks of disgusting and hideous things, revealing her deepest darkest thoughts and secrets.
Ig's nightmare is only just beginning. To be seen by anyone, to touch or brush his skin against someone elses skin, opens the door to their subconcious. In his presence, the horns have this queer power of making people say the things they would never normally speak of. And once he leaves them, they have no recollection of the conversation or that he was even there. Little by little, Ig learns to use this new power to his advantage.
Hill tackles a subject matter that has long been a favorite of mine to read. It goes beyond the typical good vs. evil, internal conflict, let's discuss heaven and hell sort of story. Hill scratches past the surface, drawing the blood of the subconcious out into the open. What secrets are you hiding? What sins have you contemplated committing? What if your own personal devil was sitting on your shoulder, whispering what fun it would be to act on those urges?
If you are interested in reading Horns, or have read it and are looking for other, similar novels, here are some books I have read that tackle the devil, death and dying, and religion and/or religious notions: The Testament of Gideon Mack, The Monk, The Priest, I, Lucifer, Death of an Ordinary Man.