Thursday, June 20, 2013


As much as I hate to think of a book world without Stephen King, I can now sleep at night knowing that he has a worthy successor.

And by successor, I mean not only another author, but his son.  A son who has his own unique stamp on horror writing.  Little Stevie King is probably a proud papa.

'NOS4A2' is Joe Hill's newest novel, and next to his fantastic 'Heart-Shaped Box', it stacks up very well.  It's thrilling.  It's scary (oh, yes, it's plenty scary).  It's written with a great deal of love and observation.

Here and there, the reader will find a few sweet homages to his father's books; Shawshank, Pennywise the Clown, notably.  But Joe's style isn't as raw as Stephen's.  Sure, it's visceral (he and his father tend to favor children and their memories when composing stories), and his observations of the 'little' things (the smell of concrete, the clacking sound of boards as the protagonist rides her bike across them) pack a wallop, but there is always always goodness in his stories; Good vs. Evil, which is contained in almost every story ever imagined.  As for the raw element, time will tell.  

'NOS4A2' begins with the introduction of the 'bad guy'; a man who is a century old, clinging to his so-called life as he lays in a coma.  And then the story truly takes off with a search.  Victoria McQueen's mother has lost a bracelet, and Vic goes to look for it.  She knows where it is, but it's a long way away.  She jumps on her bike, imagining the place she last saw it, and as she takes off...she's there.  But not just hocus-pocus, disappearing into thin air.  She has to have another vehicle, and it is an old covered bridge.  Vic doesn't tell anyone about her ability because no one would believe her.  But Charlie Talent Manx knows it all too well, for he has his own special talent:  Finding children and transporting them to 'Christmasland' in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith.  Vic and Charlie cross paths, and their encounter leaves her scarred for life.  But as the years pass, Charlie goes searching for Vic, and the only way he can take his revenge is in stealing something Vic values above her own life.

Vivid, full-blooded characterizations and his immense talent for contemporary horror have me waiting patiently for Hill's next masterpiece.  I hope to see he and his father collaborate on a novel-length story.  I'm sure that it would keep me up late at night, reading and wondering if there really is something under my bed, or a car in my parking spot, engine running, just waiting for me.  'NOS4A2' is good horror, no doubt about it.

And by the way, don't forget to read the note on the type used.  It's worth it.

Believe me.

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