Joe Hill wrote a wonderful, chilling book, and Kate Mulgrew gave a vivid, engaging, and frequently heartbreaking performance. If you haven't listened to any of Joe Hill's books, I highly recommend adding this to your list.
AUDIBLE MAKES READING POSSIBLE AND EASY FOR ME...I AM VISUALLY IMPAIRED. I WISH THEY HAD ALL THE BOOKS I WANT I WOULD SNAP THEM UP!
IT WAS OK, ENTERTAINING BUT STUPID.
I WOULD REALLY HAVE TO THINK ABOUT THAT. I DON'T KNOW.
SHE DID A FINE JOB READING THE STORY.
IT WAS MEDIOCRE. I MANAGED TO FINISHE THE BOOK.
Joe Hill, for those unaware, is the son of Stephen King. He's become a well-regarded horror author in his own right, but having been a Constant Reader since high school, I was reluctant to tread into the works of King's kid. Is Joe Smith just imitating his dad, with books that are "King-lite" that got published because of his old man?
Based on NOS4A2 I am pleased to say no, Hill has talent of his own. Now, I never was able to completely shake the feeling of "King-lite." Unquestionably, he has been heavily influenced by his father. The plot, the tropes, the flawed, messed up characters who do messed up things, and the icky weirdness surrounding psychic abilities make it clear that Joe has read all his father's works and taken them as his template for how to write fiction. But who can blame him? If your father is one of the most successful authors in the world, why wouldn't you take him as an example of how it should be done?
So, if you're a King fan, I think you will like this book, but it's good enough to possibly turn you into a Joe Hill fan as well. Certainly, I'm going to read some more by junior.
The villain of the book is Charles Talent (hah!) Manx, who is a sort of psychic vampire. He even put a NOS4A2 vanity plate on his 1938 Rollys-Royce Wraith. Despite this wink at his true nature, what makes Manx interesting, the thing that the heroine, Victoria McQueen realizes in the end, is that like most villains, Manx does not see himself as a villain. Despite being the creepiest child-abducting monster this side of Pennywise, Charles Manx genuinely believe he's doing the children he steals a favor, by taking them away from abusive homes (his definition of "abuse" is of course very broad, since he's a misogynistic troglodyte who thinks pretty much all women are whores and sluts who will pimp out their own children) and bringing them to Christmasland, his own private psychic virtual world in which every day is Christmas, candy and toy shops are open all day and all night, the world is an amusement park, and the children brought there slowly turn into amoral little psychopaths like Charles Manx.
Victoria "Vic" McQueen first encounters Charles Manx as a child. She has a psychic power similar to his - when she rides her bicycle across the Shorter Way Bridge, a rickety, decrepit old bridge near her home town, she can go anywhere. She has a talent for finding lost things, and so on her bike she is able to ride her way to missing jewelry, missing pets, or wherever else she wants to go, and then back home again.
As a teenager, she rides her way into the path of Charles Manx, and while she escapes, the encounter messes her up for life. Years later, with a common law husband who's a sweet, morbidly obese uber-nerd and a son she hasn't seen much of because of all the time she's spent in mental institutions and rehab, she has somehow become a successful children's book author, but she's still a hot mess and a pretty terrible partner and mother. And then Charles Manx comes for her son.
Joe Hill works out the "mechanics" of Vic and Manx's powers (and those of a few others who are mentioned), but in the same manner as King, never rigorously defines them, leaving things mysterious and vague at the edges. Their powers might as well be magic, though they clearly affect the real world, in ways that even non-psychics can perceive.
Vic's boyfriend and the father of her child, Lou Carmody, is a bit of a nerd dream. You can tell Joe Hill is poking loving fun at the sort of 300-pound convention-going, Stormtrooper costume wearing-dork for which Lou is an archetype (he names his son "Bruce Wayne Carmody"!), and it never really feels mean, even if Lou being "rewarded" with the hot girl he rescued one afternoon as a young man really seems like an unlikely bit of wish-fulfillment fantasy. But by the climax, both Lou and Vic get to be the heroes that Lou always wanted to be and that Vic always needed to be.
This is a horror story, but it's also an adventure story, and it's also an epic about a damaged girl who grew up to be a damaged woman, who rides out to do battle with the Devil for the soul of her child. 4 stars, but Joe Hill seems worthy of picking up his father's mantle.
Adventure and suspense please!
I didn't realize this author was Stephen Kings son and began to suspect half way through that it was written by King himself under a pen name. It is very much like one of King's sillier stories. I hated the voices the narrator used for many of the characters.
this book was awful! The narrator was terrible. And the whole storyline was just as bad as if not worse. the author of this book is in my opinion disgusting. I would not recommend this book to anyone.
awesome story, really enjoyed the narrator as well! Stephen King is my go to author for all things horror and grotesque and after reading a ton of reviews I gave this one a shot. Really glad I did! I'm a fan now!!!
Being from Massachusetts I know it's spelled Haver-hill but it's pronounced Have-Rill that ruined the performance for me. The story was good, but I cringed every time the town was mentioned.
Great novel. An emotionally charged thriller that never disappointed. Great twists and turns. I enjoyed the curious and frightening look into the depths of the imaginations of all the characters. Great ending - very satisfying!
loved this audio book! Kate did an excellent job reading and kept me on the edge of my seat. She expressed emotion and intensity as if this were performed by a full cast instead of one person. I enjoyed the story itself also. I was intrigued by how powerful one's imaginary world could be.