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Horns: A Novel

A book by Joe Hill

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Sometimes not knowing everyone's secrets is a good thing...

  • Jun 30, 2010
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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 novel titled Horns. I haven't read any of Hill's work before, and I must say this was very different and "out there." I found the constant time period shifts a bit disconcerting as the story would flash back to earlier times and work back up to the current crisis, but it didn't stop me from turning pages to see how the final showdown would play out.

Ig Perrish and Merrin Williams fell in love when they were quite young, and it looked as if they were destined to get married and live happily ever after. But right before Perrish is supposed to head off to England for some volunteer work, Williams decides it would be best if they saw other people to make sure they were right for each other. Perrish is devastated by the news, and gets plastered. He leaves her at the bar after an angry confrontation, and sometime during the night she is raped and murdered in the woods next to an abandoned building which is a popular teen hangout. Everyone is convinced that Perrish is the murderer, but nothing could be proved. Perrish maintains his innocence, and is completely lost without her.

As the anniversary of her death approaches, Perrish goes out to the spot where she was found and vents his drunken rage at the whole situation. In the morning, he wakes up to find he has a new body part... a pair of horns growing out of his head. When he tries to go to the doctor to get them examined and removed (because he certainly can't explain how they got there), he finds the horns come with a new ability. People looking at him forget the horns and start telling him their most darkest secrets and desires. And if he touches them, he can see their sordid lives played out in instant clarity. When he leaves, they can sort of remember talking with Perrish, but they have no idea as to the topic of conversation, and they don't remember the horns at all. This isn't so great for Perrish, as he finds out that most everyone in town hates him and thinks he murdered Williams. He also finds out far more about certain proclivities of the town's "upstanding" citizens. The only good he can see coming from this gift is the chance to get someone to confess to the killing, allowing him to even the score and exact his revenge. But even then, there's no guarantee that everyone will fall under the same spell and spill their guts. That's up to Perrish to figure out... who is telling the truth, and who is lying.

Horns is definitely a page-turner, as it's hard to tell exactly who is going to confess to what, and how long Perrish will be able to hold himself together before going completely off the deep end. Because the story is told in a series of flashbacks to bring you up-to-date with all the characters at the time of the killings, there's a fair amount of jumping around that makes the story a bit hard to follow at times. The ending was also a bit bizarre, or at least bizarre given the level of strangeness that's already established by this horror novel. Still, I'm likely to go back and read Joe Hill's first novel, and would be very much open to reading future works. If you're a fan of the horror/supernatural genre, Hill's a good pick.

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 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, …
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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Thomas Duff ()
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Thomas Duff, aka "Duffbert", is a long-time member of the Lotus community. He's primarily focused on the development side of the Notes/Domino environment, currently working for a large insurance … 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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