NOS4A2 is a spine-tingling novel of supernatural suspense from master of horror Joe Hill, the New York Times bestselling author of Heart-Shaped Box and Horns.
Victoria McQueen has a secret gift for finding things: a misplaced bracelet, a missing photograph, answers to unanswerable questions. On her Raleigh Tuff Burner bike, she makes her way to a rickety covered bridge that, within moments, takes her wherever she needs to go, whether it’s across Massachusetts or across the country.
Charles Talent Manx has a way with children. He likes to take them for rides in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith with the NOS4A2 vanity plate. With his old car, he can slip right out of the everyday world, and onto the hidden roads that transport them to an astonishing – and terrifying – playground of amusements he calls “Christmasland.”
Then, one day, Vic goes looking for trouble—and finds Manx. That was a lifetime ago. Now Vic, the only kid to ever escape Manx’s unmitigated evil, is all grown up and desperate to forget. But Charlie Manx never stopped thinking about Victoria McQueen. He’s on the road again and he’s picked up a new passenger: Vic’s own son.
Straightforward horror isn’t my cup of tea, I usally need an angle to enjoy it. Zombies are only fun if it’s a world falling a part with people struggle to survive; etc. etc. So I’m always hesitant when I pick one up. I’ve read two Hill novels previously, and only one of them was a normal horror novel .I enjoyed it quite a bit, so here I am again. Let me just say, wahtever my hang ups with this genre…this man has talent.
NOS4A2 has some pretty insane ideas bouncing around inside of it and all of them are chilling in some way. But the story starts with Vic one fantastically kick ass woman. She’s without a doubt troubled, especially after her run in with Manx, but I like her a lot. She doesn’t take shit from anyone, and seeing the toll Manx has taken on her over the years is a bit heartbreaking, but she stays that same fierce woman. I think my favorite character though would be Lou…this man is a precious geeky gift to the world and I adore him to pieces. And then there is Charlie Manx, who I’m almost positive will end up giving me nightmares at some point. It’s bad enough that he has this creepy physical description but the man has this angry fanatical joy about him when it comes to most things, and his obsession with children staying happy and “innocent” is so twisted. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to hear someone wish their kids would stay “innocent forever” without a small shudder happening.
NOS4A2 is a rather large book, and despite the fact that it took me forever to sit down and actually read it I don’t think I really felt the size of it in the plot. We get to see Vic grow up and see how she deals with her life after her first run in with Manx, and a lot of the story focuses on her character development. More specifically is focuses on the slow price she and others pay over time in this, be it the price of living life in general or the price of surviving something that shakes your world to it’s very core. Hill proves a story that rapidly descends into lunacy, so rapid that at first you don’t truly notice it in the blur of the story…and then it’s so obvious you can’t remember when it even started.
In short, NOS4A2 is one hell of a ride. I think it’s safe to say I’m a Joe Hill fan.