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Horns: A Novel

A book by Joe Hill

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Adequate second novel

  • Jan 3, 2010
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There's always a fear among writers with a successful first novel that they will run into some kind of "writer's block" that will prevent them from completing a second novel worth reading. That is what I happen to believe occurred to Hrper Lee after the success of "To Kill A Mockingbird". Of course, it's possible that some writers only have one good novel to write and then they fade into obscurity.

That is not going to happen to Joe Hill, whose second novel, while I don't feel it is anywhere as good as his first, is certainly adequate reading, and somewhat scary, to boot. The beginning reminds mw a little of Kafka's "Metamorphasis", but with a twist: no bug, but a demon. Our "hero" not only gains a set of horns, but also some interesting powers which he slowly begins to learn how to master.

Slowly is the operative word in this book for, after an interesting beginning, the plot takes quite a long time to develop, and even then it tends to meander. There are flashbacks that happen in the middle of other actions, and they tend to get in the way of the enjoyment of the story, although they do tend to be important to the plot. There's really not a lot of adequate character development, but in a book of this type that's not really necessary.

On the whole it's a perfectly adequate second novel, but certainly won't shine brighter than the first. That being said, I do believe Mr. Hill will be writing for us for many years to come, and I will read his books with interest, as I used to do with his father's, before they became doorstoppers.

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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 . April 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, …
About the reviewer
Frank J. Konopka ()
Ranked #89
I'm a small town general practice attorney in the hard coal region of Pennsylvania. Books are my passion, andI read as many of them asI can. Being the President of the local library board for over … 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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"Adequate second novel"
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