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Horns: A Novel

A book by Joe Hill

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No Sophomore Jinx Here - Horns is Excellent

  • Apr 27, 2010
Ignatius ("Ig") Perrish wakes up one morning with the mother of all hangovers. He has no idea of what he did, but he is sure that it was bad. That is not as shocking as what he sees in the mirror; it's him, alright, peering back, but there are also horns sprouting from his temples.

Not sure what to do, or where to turn, Ig heads over to the hospital. People see the horns, but do not make any issue with them. However, Ig finds that those he comes into contact with, the nurses, doctors, and people in the waiting area, think nothing of telling him their deepest, darkest secrets. They want to know how to act upon them. If Ig approves, they happily act upon them. Through a series of interactions, Ig also discovers that once he leaves, people forget that he has horns or that they even talked to him.

After finishing Joe Hill's first novel, 2007's Heart Shaped Box, I eagerly anticipated his sophomore effort. Horns does not disappoint. It is a bit of horror, the supernatural, love story, and a crime novel all wrapped in a thoroughly entertaining package. Once started, you may find it difficult to put down.

Ig is an interesting character and one that the reader will like, even though he was a "person of interest" in the rape and murder of Merrin Williams, his long time girlfriend. Ig's defense was that he was passed out drunk behind a doughnut shop and could not have committed the crime. Living in a small town, having well known parents, and a rich and popular brother, Ig may be innocent in the eyes of the law, but he is guilty in everyone else's minds. He was never a very popular person to begin with, the murder alienated him even more from the population.

The horns, however, turn out to be a mixed blessing for Ig. Since people tell him their secrets, within the first 60 pages the reader and Ig know the identity of the true killer. However, getting the killer to admit to the deed is much harder. Then there is the matter of justice.

Joe Hill crafts an excellent novel. It is a joy, and very humorous, to watch as Ig learns about his horns and how to use them. However, it is also disturbing to look into the minds of those around Ig; his mother and father, his grandmother, his priest, his doctor, and Merrin's family. On the surface, everyone acknowledges Ig, they might even seem friendly. The horns, though, tell Ig that there are unsettling things about his family and associates. Unspoken, distressful, perverted things.

Throughout the novel, Hill moves between present day and the past. Some may think that he spends too much time in the past, but on reflection, it is key to the story. As pointed out earlier, this is a love story, and so, it is important to know how Ig and Merrin met and stayed in love for so long. It also fills in Ig's relationship with his older brother and the beginning of many of his friendships. Friendships forged in childhood that come apart in adulthood. The reader is left with a sense of sadness, although the reasons are made quite clear by the end, it is still troubling to witness the demise of long held friendships.

As Mick Jagger and Keith Richards tell you, you may not get what you want, but you might find that you get what you need. Ig's horns are what he needs and Joe Hill's Horns is outstanding.

Obtained from: Library
Payment: Borrowed

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More Horns (book) reviews
review by . February 06, 2011
   Ig Perrish is having what can only be described as a Very Bad Day. He can't remember the previous night. Everyone he meets is suddenly compelled to tell him all their most secret, terrible thoughts, from his girlfriend's confession of what she did with his best friend to his mother's revelation of how seeing him makes her feel.      Oh, and he has horns growing from his forehead. Horns hard as bone, painfully stretching the skin.      …
review by . June 15, 2010
I have to say that I am glad that Joe Hill has a different last name than his famous father Stephen King. With that said, I may have been a little tempted to read this because of the association, but let no one be confused, this is not some spoiled son given the clear path to a published career.   The premise may sound hokey, OK, very hokey. A guy wakes up with horns. Of course, you can guess a few things from there, he's the devil, he can make people do evil things,  he must …
review by . June 30, 2010
Most people have wished at some point in their lives for the ability to know what another person is thinking or feeling about them. Ig Perrish has just received that gift, and it's not working out so well. Couple that with the new set of horns that Perrish woke up with, and Perrish's life is headed downhill at terminal velocity. But at least his new abilities will help him figure out who really killed his girlfriend on a cold rainy night a year ago. That's the storyline in Joe Hill's latest horror …
review by . June 03, 2010
   Great summer read (and great non-summer read as well) by Stephen King's kid Joe Hill. Hill got famous anonymously before people knew he was related to the master of horror, which was a classy anti-nepotism move, and is frankly a great writer. I want to say that his writing reminds me somehow of Will Self, although it's not so much the technique that is similar as the effortless feel of the prose. Crazy, weird things happen and are treated almost casually, as if they were commonplace, …
Quick Tip by . June 19, 2010
Quick Tip by . June 16, 2010
this is exciting!
Quick Tip by . June 16, 2010
An interesting read with a novel story. Generally good summer reading.
Quick Tip by . June 12, 2010
Not as good as his first book- some REALLY great ideas, but bogged down with unoriginal junk. Not as horror as you might think considering the pedigree
review by . June 10, 2010
Ig Parrish did something terribly wrong last night. The problem is that, with the exception of one of two rather vague details, he cannot remember exactly what he did to earn the devil's horns that have suddenly sprouted from the top of his head. Ig does remember spending much of the night ranting about God and organized religion at the base of the isolated old tree under which his girlfriend had been murdered just a year ago. Now, unlike the hangover he had every reason to expect, he understands …
review by . March 26, 2010
Joe Hill is an author like no other that I have read before - and believe me when I say that I have read plenty, lol! This is a man that can write the most twisted of scenes one minute and then the most human of scenes the next minute. After reading Heart-Shaped Box, I was instantly hooked on Mr. Hill's writing style. Needless to say that when I found out about this newest release, Horns, I grabbed it and gobbled it up right away.     Blending horror and paranormal, Joe Hill …
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Gregg Eldred ()
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It never ceases to amaze me how many doors have opened up for me since I started reviewing the books I read. Publishers now send me free books to read and review. Authors contact me. Kind folks at Lunch … more
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About this book


Best known for his terrifying (really) debut novel, Heart-Shaped Box, and his famous dad, Joe Hill continues to make a name for himself withHorns, a dark, funny exploration of love, grief, and the nature of good and evil. Ignatius William Perrish wakes up bleary and confused after a night of drinking and "doing terrible things" to find he has grown horns. In addition to being horribly unsightly, these inflamed protuberances give Ig an equally ugly power--if he thinks hard enough, he can make people admit things (intimate, embarrassing, I-can't-believe-you-just-said-that details). This bizarre affliction is of particular use to Ig, who is still grieving over the murder of his childhood sweetheart (a grisly act the entire town, including his family, believes he committed).Hornsis a wickedly fun read, and reveals Hill's uncanny knack for creating alluring characters and a riveting plot. Ig's attempts to track down the killer result in hilariously inappropriate admissions from the community, heartbreaking confessions from his own family, and of course, one hell of a showdown.--Daphne Durham
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ISBN-10: 0061147958
ISBN-13: 978-0061147951
Author: Joe Hill
Genre: Literature & Fiction
Publisher: William Morrow
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