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HORNS [Hardcover]

4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Horns of a Dilemma Feb. 11 2012
By Jonathan Stover TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Ignatius "Ig" Perrish wakes up from an alcohol-fueled black-out to discover that horns have sprouted on his head overnight. A year earlier, somebody murdered his longtime girlfriend Merrin, a murder most people believe that Ig committed. So begins Horns, the second novel by Joe Hill (after Heart-Shaped Box).

Ig's horns give him some (mostly) useful powers. People will tell him pretty much anything bad they've ever done, without prompting, and not remember doing so (or seeing Ig, for that matter) afterwards. And when he touches people, he can see every bad thing they've ever done in exhaustive detail. When you're investigating a murder, powers like these seem almost heaven-sent.

Merrin had suddenly broken up with Ig the night of the murder, which was also the night before Ig was set to fly to London, England to work for Amnesty International for six months. She said they should see other people, as they'd been dating steadily for ten years -- since Ig was 15 and Merrin 14.

After an argument in a roadhouse, Ig stormed out, leaving Merrin to find her own way home. And soon thereafter she was dead. There wasn't enough evidence to link Ig to the crime, but pretty much everyone in Ig's small New England town "knows" he did it and got away with it. Everyone except Ig and the murderer.

The early stages of Horns see Hill working in the somewhat familiar territory of Thomas Disch's Minnesota Quartet, four vaguely linked, blackly humourous and satiric supernatural novels from the 1980's and 1990's. Ig's early adventures with his horns lead to terrible revelations set within a storyline dotted with social and political satire directed at the Right and, more generally, the seemingly 'good' pillars of any community.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Concept, But Missing Something Dec 28 2010
The premise of the book is that an ordinary guy, with some unordinary emotional baggage, wakes up one day to find he has devil's horns on his head. These horns give him the power to get people to reveal their deepest secrets and desires. He also has the power to give them permission to act on them. As an earlier reviewer said, some of the earlier instances where Ig was figuring out his new powers could be quite humorous, while others were truly horrifying. I don't think it is a stretch to say that every human being has a very dark side to them that shouldn't see the light of day.

So I would have enjoyed exploring that more. That is, everyday regular people confronting permission to do what they always wanted to do. Instead, the tale goes off onto a revenge thriller where the "devil" has to deal with someone who is truly a monster. Some might enjoy a tale like that, but the first part of the book promised to be something more engaging than the typical good versus evil. I wanted to know more about "the monsters" true motivations, but even under the spell of the horns, we learned nothing about what made them that way.

But I do think this is a worthwhile book to read because it certainly makes you think.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A story that still lives with me Jan. 21 2014
By Dennis Madison TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I read this book months ago, but not got around to writing a review even though I enjoyed it. Unexpectedly, I keep finding myself thinking back to this book - the story and characters continue to evoke some emotion in me. There are enough other reviews explaining the story so I won't rehash that, but to me if a story still dwells in the back of someone's memory for this long and after reading so many other books there must be something lasting and memorable about it even though I can't quite put my finger on it.
This probably isn't the most helpful review, but this is one of the few books that I can't seem to forget.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Unexpected Jan. 15 2014
By WandaK
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
From the first page I thought I knew where the story was headed. I was wrong. It took turns I didn't expect and made me smile more often than expected. A great read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 stars Oct. 17 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I owe the fact that I'm an avid reader as an adult to Stephen King. He was the only author I read through my teens and twenties. I liked everything he wrote - it was all interesting with varying degrees of weird thrown in. That's why when I found out Joe Hill was his son, I had two thoughts...one, what was Stephen thinking naming his son Joe King (get it? Joking?) and two, I wonder if he writes likes his Dad.

I am pleased to report he writes both like and unlike his Dad. The boy can write. He said a lot of things in this story that I was very impressed by. Things that maybe you thought before but were never able to put into words so perfectly as he just did. He also knows how to throw in the weird stuff like it's something that happens in everyday life. The thing that sets him apart so much from his Dad, in my opinion, is how easy it was to slip into this story. For most SK books I read, I always had a hard time getting through the first few chapters. It always seemed like you had to suffer a bit of pain before the pleasure started. Horns was easy to read, interesting and original. Nothing written that didn't need to be said and nothing missing that should've been there.

If you've never read any King books before, be prepared to suspend disbelief. If you have, I think you're going to like this one. I did.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing, fascinating, irresistible
I had no idea who Hill was when I started reading the book. I am still not sure it matters to me whose son he is, except I'm thrilled to see the son of a famous person become known... Read more
Published 6 months ago by smalltowneditor
5.0 out of 5 stars Unexpected Surprise!
Highly recommended for mystery and horror. Well developed characters, a cool premise and a great ending! I didn't want it to end.
Published 8 months ago by Randy Walton
4.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting (and diabolical - ahem) plot and characters!
I picked up "Horns" based on the strength of its reviews and something I had read in the papers about it being turned into a film (starring Daniel Radcliffe). Read more
Published 15 months ago by michellesiew
5.0 out of 5 stars a real king
Above my expectation. Really funny and awfully twisted. Father Stephen King must be really proud of his son. I will look forward for the next one...
Published 16 months ago by Yvan Lemieux
4.0 out of 5 stars A unique tale from an exciting new(ish) voice.
Horns is a decidedly strange book. It begins with a half-page chapter. This first chapter gives us the set up, the hook, and everything we need to know to keep reading: After a... Read more
Published on April 11 2011 by Andre Farant
5.0 out of 5 stars Mr Hill does it again!
After reading this book, I think I'm safe to say "Move over, Stephen King! Your son has definitely inherited the knack for story telling, and I would even venture to say I think he... Read more
Published on Jan. 27 2011 by Kristine
4.0 out of 5 stars Great story but falls short.
This book definitely had a very different and interesting concept. What I did not expect was the comedy that went along with it. Read more
Published on Dec 7 2010 by Karoline
4.0 out of 5 stars "Horns" is a devil of a good story!
For any one who doesn't know, Joe Hill is the pseudonym used by Stephen King's son, presumably because he wanted to prove his writing chops on his own merits rather than because... Read more
Published on June 5 2010 by Alison S. Coad
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