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Horns: A Novel [Hardcover]

Joe Hill
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Feb. 16 2010
Ignatius Perrish spent the night drunk and doing terrible things. He woke up the next morning with one hell of a hangover, a raging headache ...and a pair of horns growing from his temples. Once, Ig lived the life of the blessed: born into privilege, the second son of a renowned American musician, and the younger brother of a rising late-night TV star, Ig had security and wealth and a place in his community. Ig had it all, and more - he had the love of Merrin Williams, a love founded on shared daydreams, mutual daring, and unlikely midsummer magic. Then beautiful, vivacious Merrin was gone - raped and murdered, under inexplicable circumstances - with Ig the only suspect. He was never tried for the crime, but in the court of public opinion, Ig was and always would be guilty. Now Ig is possessed with a terrible new power - with just a touch he can see peoples' darkest desires - to go with his terrible new look, and he means to use it to find the man who killed Merrin and destroyed his life. Being good and praying for the best got him nowhere. It's time for a little revenge; it's time the devil had his due.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Review

“[A] compulsively readable supernatural thriller...Hill spins a story that’s both morbidly amusing and emotionally resonant. The explanations for Ig’s weird travails won’t satisfy every reader, but few will dispute that Hill has negotiated the sophomore slump.” (Publishers Weekly)

Horns is a well wrought tale with intellectual merit. Not only are we entertained, we are challenged to think as well.” (New York Journal of Books)

“On the strength of two masterly thrillers—2007’s Heart Shaped-Box and his newest Horns—Hill has emerged as one of America’s finest horror writers.” (Time magazine)

“HORNS should bring even more fans to Joe Hill . . . he has his own style, and it is very accessible as well as fast-moving. . . . HORNS is a fast-paced, fascinating murder mystery/love story with a dash of the devil himself to spice things up.” (DreadCentral.com [horror entertainment review website])

“[Horns is] devilishly good. . . . Hill is a terrific writer with a great imagination. He has a special talent for taking us and his characters to very weird places.” (USA Today)

“Hill’s survey of the question of suffering is a wild ride, as filled with thrills as his hero’s headlong plunge down to a dark and dazzling river.” (Seattle Times)

“The wise guys point out that the literature of horror fantasy tends to be both romantic and conservative. Normalcy is idealized and so precious that its violation is the essence of horror. Joe Hill’s sweet, fanged demonology takes us there.” (Oregonian)

Horns is thoroughly enjoyable and often original.…a richly nuanced story. Fire and brimstone have rarely looked this good. ” (Los Angeles Times)

“A devilish, ingeniously designed story that positions Hill in the same realm as Neil Gaiman, Jonathan Lethem, and Stephen King.” (Pittsburgh Tribune)

Horns is a pitchfork-packing, prodigal son’s take on religion…But the real meat of the story dissects man’s relationship with good and evil wihtout sacrificing a bit of suspense…Horns is a mesmerizing page-turner.” (Tulsa World)

“Brilliant in conception...HORNS is a rollercoaster of a work filled with thrills and chills.” (Bookreporter.com)

“Hill’s one incredibly talented writer with a wicked sense of humor and a master’s control of pacing.” (Bookgasm.com)

“No one working in horror today is more adept than Hill …His writing is both merciless and compassionate, driving hard toward the painful truth in every story while holding fast to the desires of his protagonist. ” (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

“”Darkly comic in places, touching in others, chilling on occassion…” (Valdosta Daily Times)

“[D]evilishly good…Hill is a terrificwriter with a greatimagination. He has a special talent for taking us and his characters to very weird places.” (Wilmington News Journal)

“Fire and brimstone have rarely looked so good.” (Orlando Sentinel)

“Horns is not only scary but it’s also insightful, often funny and sometimes sweetl romantic.” (St. Paul Pioneer Press)

“[A] fresh, tough-minded take on what it means to make a deal with the devil and your own worst nature.” (San Francisco Chronicle)

“Fast-paced, well-made, and wonderfully weird.” (The Globe and Mail)

“This is masterful allegory as Hill proves himself…to be a compelling chronicler of human natures continual war between good and evil.” (Providence Journal-Bulletin)

“a tight and well-plotted murder mystery, as well as a thoughtful meditation on good and evil....[HORNS] establishes Hill as one of the most clever and talented writers working in the genre.” (Charleston Post & Courier)

“As the plot builds through flashbacks and clever exposition, Ig’s true nature reveals itself, and the reader is left questioning the traditional border between good and evil....Highly recommended, particularly for fans of Clive Barker and Christopher Moore.” (Library Journal)

“A satisfying and entertaining book.” (www.npr.org on HORNS)

“[HORNS is] a creepy murder mystery, a tragic love triangle, and a sweetly wistful coming-of-age story. It’s the kind of book that has you laughing on one page, crying on another and making sure the doors and windows are safely locked on a third.” (Miami Herald)

Horns is dark, twisted, even sometimes funny in a macabre way.” (Connie Ogle, "Between the Covers," The Miami Herald)

From the Back Cover

Ignatius Perrish spent the night drunk and doing terrible things. He woke up the next morning with 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 had been 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. But Merrin's death damned all that. The only suspect in the crime, Ig was never charged or tried. And he was never cleared. Nothing Ig can do or say matters. Everyone it seems, including God, has abandoned him. Everyone that is, but the devil inside. . . .

Now Ig is possessed of a terrible new power—a macabre talent he intends to use to find the monster who killed Merrin and destroyed his life. It's time for a little revenge . . . it's time the devil had his due . . .

--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sympathy for the Devil May 31 2010
Format:Hardcover
Ig Perrish is having a rough go of it.

After a night of drinking, he wakes up hung over and not entirely sure what he got up to the night before. Added to that, he has two small horns growing out of his head.

He knows that they weren't there before, that they are a new edition to his body. He also quickly finds out that they influence others around him. The horns force others around him to tell him what they're thinking.

Exactly what they're thinking.

Those close to him begin to share their innermost secrets. The "I can't believe you just said that" kind of secrets. Secrets and thoughts about a past that haunts all of them.

Years ago, Ig was accused of the rape and murder of the one woman he loved, the one woman who was his heart. Though he maintains his innocence, he finds out what his family and friends really think.

Everyone believes that he did it. Everyone thinks he killed her.

With his newfound talent, Ig decides to take the only course of action left to him. He decides to find out who really killed the one woman he loved.

And then take out his revenge...

I love Joe Hill. Rather, I love his writing. His first novel, Heart Shaped Box, was one of the creepiest, scariest novels I have read in years. His collection of short stories, 20th Century Ghosts, was one of the most amazing collections of short fiction I have ever had the pleasure of reading.

I wasn't sure about Horns at first. Second novels have a tendency to be lacklustre and usually don't live up to the sacred gem of the first novel, especially one as widely heralded as Heart Shaped Box.

Before opening the book, I wondered if Horns would be a one trick wonder.
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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
Format:Hardcover
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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5.0 out of 5 stars A Hell of a Good Read April 5 2010
By Peter Cantelon TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Joe Hill has been famously revealed to be the son of popular horror author Stephen King but don't expect a King-like romp through a horrific landscape. Horns is Hill's second novel and quite frankly his skill at weaving a compelling tale is far past where his father was at that point in his career.

The novel is a study in evil really; a study in whether the source of evil is humanity or the devil and frankly where the two meet because there seems to be an overlap between the two in Hill's book. One of the theories pursued in the narrative is that humanity is more than broken enough without any help from the devil who seems to act more as a keen observer and occassional catalyst.

Hill does not deliver a tale of horror or terror in the sense one might expect or even initially desire. Instead he uses the supernatural not as a main character but as a vehicle for a message much deeper than the typical novel usually delivers. In this story the real horror comes from Hill's ability to present human nature as realistically and honestly as he can (perhaps better than any writer has in a long time). There are some similarities to Hill's novel and the existential novel Metamorphoses by Franz Kafka but they are fairly surface in the sense that the protagonist undergoes an incredible transformation that is required for the book to delve into human nature the way it does.

The novel is a brutal, hellish, tragically beautiful presentation of humanity's tragic flaw - our own sin nature. The devil is a sort of main character in the book but he is seen less as a cause of evil and more as a sort of confident...the one people look to for permission to enact their darkest desires. At the end of the day the devil does not look nearly as bad as people do.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hell of a Good Read! April 3 2010
By Peter Cantelon TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Joe Hill has been famously revealed to be the son of popular horror author Stephen King but don't expect a King-like romp through a horrific landscape. Horns is Hill's second novel and quite frankly his skill at weaving a compelling tale is far past where his father was at that point in his career.

The novel is a study in evil really; a study in whether the source of evil is humanity or the devil and frankly where the two meet because there seems to be an overlap between the two in Hill's book. One of the theories pursued in the narrative is that humanity is more than broken enough without any help from the devil who seems to act more as a keen observer and occassional catalyst.

Hill does not deliver a tale of horror or terror in the sense one might expect or even initially desire. Instead he uses the supernatural not as a main character but as a vehicle for a message much deeper than the typical novel usually delivers. In this story the real horror comes from Hill's ability to present human nature as realistically and honestly as he can (perhaps better than any writer has in a long time). There are some similarities to Hill's novel and the existential novel Metamorphoses by Franz Kafka but they are fairly surface in the sense that the protagonist undergoes an incredible transformation that is required for the book to delve into human nature the way it does.

The novel is a brutal, hellish, tragically beautiful presentation of humanity's tragic flaw - our own sin nature. The devil is a sort of main character in the book but he is seen less as a cause of evil and more as a sort of confident...the one people look to for permission to enact their darkest desires. At the end of the day the devil does not look nearly as bad as people do.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars good read
It was a very entertaining read. I did not want to put it down, tells a very visual tale. Good one!
Published 8 days ago by Meg
5.0 out of 5 stars I really enjoyed this novel...
It was both dark and scandalously humorous, with a neat twist on Catholicism and religion. it definitely a few laugh out loud moments for the dark humour enthusiasts, It's a... Read more
Published 1 month ago by linds C
5.0 out of 5 stars Bloody Brilliant!!
One of those well written novels with fantastic characters that sticks with you long after finishing!! My 2nd Joe Hill novel that I have now enjoyed!!
Published 1 month ago by Declan Macgowan
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable multi-genre book
First time that I read a Joe Hill novel, almost by accident. Picked it up because a friend told me it was a steal at 3.99, which it was. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Philippe Leblanc
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
delivered as promised
Published 2 months ago by Scott
4.0 out of 5 stars A story that still lives with me
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... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Dennis Madison
5.0 out of 5 stars Unexpected
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.
Published 9 months ago by WandaK
4.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 stars
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. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Rose
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 13 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 15 months ago by Randy Walton
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