52Books: Horns by Joe Hill

One of the most anticipated books for my 52Books reading list is Joe Hill’s Horns. I had previously read his short story collection, 20th Century Ghosts, and his debut novel Heart-Shaped Box. It was that novel that made me a fan, regardless of his pedigree, of the writer, Joe Hill.

Over two years passed and no word on what the next book would be, if there would be a next book. Maybe I wasn’t looking in the right circles, but in mid-2009 I saw a tweet of his next book and with little else than a title I was excited for a new book.

Almost three years later, Joe Hill’s Horns is in my hands and I’m nervous to read the book. So I crack the spine, hoping Hill’s words are as good as I remember.

Ignatius “Ig” Perrish wakes up with a helluva hang-over. His head is hurting something bad, only he soon discovers that it wasn’t from binging the night before. Ig has grown horns pushing painfully outward stretching the skin of his receding scalp.

Ig soon discovers that the horns aren’t the only change. People are compelled to tell him their darkest desires, asking permission to follow through with the impulses. Also if  he touches a person he becomes privy to their worst deeds. This discovery starts the book off on a dark comedy rift, as we discover the animosity the town has for the bedeviled Ig.

A year ago, Ig was the primary suspect in the rape and murder of his girlfriend, Merrin Williams, but when evidence was lost the case against him was dropped. Most everyone believes Ig was guilty, that his famous trumpeter father or TV personalty brother, Terry Perrish, had paid off the right people. Now with horns, silenced thoughts, even from his parents, come to light. When his brother, Terry, makes a damning confession, the story takes a darker turn.

Ig wants to get revenge and retribution, desires redemption, but most of all wants to get back what he lost, and every way he approaches it he damned if does and damned if he don’t.

Horns is many things through out the book and Joe Hill seamlessly navigates you through every aspect from comedy, horror and mystery. At it’s core though, Horns is a love story carried out through loss, memories, sadness and hatred.

Joe Hill takes us a lot of places in a short span, jumping between the present and the past, between perspectives Ig and other casts, between the gray areas of good and evil. As it says on the cover, … the devil is in the details …

I intended to post this last week, but well it didn’t happen. Look for an audio review of Horns later this week in James Melzer’s podcast, Unleashed.

Still a bit behind the 52 mark, but I’m reading as much as I can. Current racing to the end of Jonathan Maberry’s The Dragon Factory and will soon be diving into Warren Ellis’ Crooked Little Vein.

Learn more about Joe Hill at his website: http://www.joehillfiction.com

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