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Horns: A Novel | [Joe Hill]

Horns: A Novel

Ignatius Perrish spent the night drunk and doing terrible things. He woke up the next morning with a thunderous hangover, a raging headache, and a pair of horns growing from his temples. At first Ig thought the horns were a hallucination, the product of a mind damaged by rage and grief. He had spent the last year in a lonely, private purgatory, following the death of his beloved, Merrin Williams, who was raped and murdered under inexplicable circumstances.
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Publisher's Summary

Ignatius Perrish spent the night drunk and doing terrible things. He woke up the next morning with a thunderous hangover, a raging headache, and a pair of horns growing from his temples. At first, Ig thought the horns were a hallucination, the product of a mind damaged by rage and grief. He had spent the last year in a lonely, private purgatory, following the death of his beloved, Merrin Williams, who was raped and murdered under inexplicable circumstances. A mental breakdown would have been the most natural thing in the world. But there was nothing natural about the horns, which were all too real.

Once the righteous Ig had enjoyed the life of the blessed: born into privilege, the second son of a renowned musician and younger brother of a rising late-night TV star, he had security, wealth, and a place in his community. Ig had it all, and more—he had Merrin and a love founded on shared daydreams, mutual daring, and unlikely midsummer magic. But Merrin's death damned all that. The only suspect in the crime, Ig was never charged or tried. And he was never cleared. In the court of public opinion in Gideon, New Hampshire, Ig is and always will be guilty because his rich and connected parents pulled strings to make the investigation go away. Nothing Ig can do, nothing he can say, matters. Everyone, it seems, including God, has abandoned him. Everyone, that is, but the devil inside.

Now Ig is possessed of a terrible new power to go with his terrible new look—a macabre talent he intends to use to find the monster who killed Merrin and destroyed his life. Being good and praying for the best got him nowhere. It's time for a little revenge. It's time the devil had his due.

©2010 Joe Hill (P)2010 HarperCollins Publishers

What Members Say

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  •  
    arthur m ball ATLANTA, GA, US 10-23-14
    arthur m ball ATLANTA, GA, US 10-23-14 Member Since 2012

    Don't have time for reading, but audio books let me multi-task. I like that.

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    "Christian beware, Contained within is Devils fare."
    What did you love best about Horns?

    Really interesting look at Christian mythology without getting righteous about it at all. The way the story is told is unique, too. Kinda jumps back and forth and tells you what you need to know when you need it, not when you want it.


    What other book might you compare Horns to and why?

    God's Debris or the Lamb. Both discuss a different way to view Christian mythology in their own way. Those have a different tone then this book. This is more drama, The Lamb is comical a bit and God's Debris is just a mind blow.


    What does Fred Berman bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He really has a good voice and pace, plus he adds voices or inflections to the characters. He's consistent about it too.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I listened to it over like 4 or 5 days while at work. This is a good long listen, but I got !@#$ to do.


    Any additional comments?

    This book really offers a unique viewpoint on the Devil from Christian mythology. I'm an atheist, but I can see some people getting a twig up their bums about things in this book. It's all fiction people. Just enjoy. It's a good story. Hope the movie doesn't suck.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bret Omaha, NE, United States 05-03-10
    Bret Omaha, NE, United States 05-03-10 Member Since 2008
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    "Surprisingly Good"

    I wasn't quite certain what to expect, but after listening to the entire book I'm glad I opted to give this book a try. Joe Hill paints a very vivid tale throughout the the story. The further the twisted tale unravels, the harder it becomes to put down. I'd highly recommend this book!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jami E. Nettles Columbus, MS USA 04-17-10
    Jami E. Nettles Columbus, MS USA 04-17-10 Member Since 2005
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    "Guilty pleasure"

    This is a classic good vs. evil story, but the real villain is not wearing the horns. Thought-provoking with vivid characters, my only complaint was with a few preachy, drawn out sections that could have done with some editing - they really dragged and seemed forced. A clever pretext for the story and a few very funny parts made it worth the listen. I recommend it, especially if you are in need of a genre-bender.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marjee Washington DC 04-23-13
    Marjee Washington DC 04-23-13 Member Since 2012

    An introverted excavator.

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    "Great story, writing is rough around the edges"

    I really enjoyed this story and was eager to get back to listening to it. It is a great premise. I love a good sympathy for the devil story. That said:

    1) I only tolerated the narrator. Maybe it was the director's fault. His reading of the protagonist's lines didn't resonate with what we know about Ig. Ig is kind of a big wimp, and nothing makes him seem otherwise, except for the narrator's intonation. The acting didn't match the writing.
    2) Hill is a better storyteller than he is a writer. He is still early in his career and I want to read more by him, but he was often too "on the nose."
    3) I didn't like any of the characters to really root for them. Sometimes that is OK in a book, but with this book, everyone was so terrible that I wanted someone, anyone, to be vaguely likeable.

    Those are a few caveats about what was ultimately a fun listening experience.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer Halifax, NS, Canada 04-13-10
    Jennifer Halifax, NS, Canada 04-13-10 Member Since 2008
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    "On the Horns of a Dilemma - The Devil You Know"

    The dilemma is whether to give Horns 4 stars or 5.

    Joe Hill is a great writer. Heart Shaped Box was brilliant, and Horns doesn't disappoint. The book has much symbolism and irony. It's loaded with devil-related imagery. The guy who looks like the devil really isn't, and everyone who looks angelic really isn't. Ig's father and brother play horns (instruments), but Ig's asthma precludes him from doing so, even though he yearns to do so. In the end, his horns break through.

    The only irritating thing about the book is the lack of clear chapter transitions. The story is told from Ig's point of view, but it isn't always clear initially whether what is being related is the current story set in realtime, or whether it's a flashback. The realtime story extends throughout and chronicles the day Ig wakes up and discovers he has horns and their effect on those around him. The flashbacks relate to pivotal moments in Ig's past -- those he knows about first hand, and those which he doesn't know about. The flashbacks are disordered, but they provide tidbits of insight and explanation of significant events.

    Joe Hill does a great job with characters, dialogue and description generally. His descriptions are vivid and evocative without descending into parody. He has Stephen King's brilliant gift for the inner monologue.

    This is a thriller with a twist. It's not really horror, but there are some neat supernatural or paranormal elements. It's an interesting look at what people are really thinking as Ig's horns seem to have the power to make people use their outside voices for what are very much inside voice thoughts.

    If you want to be really literary about it, there are themes of death and resurrection, blindness and vision, faith and faithlessness, and hope and redemption.

    But mostly it's just a great and very vivid story about a guy who unexpectedly grows horns and then seeks the truth about and revenge for the death of his former girlfriend.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen Lutz, FL, United States 03-05-10
    Stephen Lutz, FL, United States 03-05-10 Member Since 2012
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    "I love Joe Hills "What Ifs""

    Joe Hill has some very interesting, "What Ifs". What if a box had a Ghost in it, What if a little boy was born Inflatable, or What if you wake up one morning and have horns? Wrap that up in a really fun mystery and a very sad love story and you have Horns.
    The bad guys where very Dean Koontzish in the hole, REALY RALY Evil Bad guy that you want to beat to death with a shovel and take a long time to do it. There is ALOT of flash backs and some are very long to the point you start to think you are reading a different book. I could rally have used a little more of the horn stuff. I would like to have seen him have a little more fun with them before everything got serious and started flashing back to before the horns.
    This was a good book. Joe Hill stories are fun reads. I had lots of emotions while reading this. Happy, Sad, Anger, Fun. Read it, you will know what I mean.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Larry Watersmeet, MI, United States 02-25-10
    Larry Watersmeet, MI, United States 02-25-10
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    "Its a hoot."

    I can think of a number of ways it could haved ended for Lee, but Joe Hill had other ideas. Yes the ending was a bit weird, but the story for much of the time is an absolute hoot when Ig crosses paths with people. I thought Fred Berman did an outstanding narration of the book.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Bartonville, TX 10-29-14
    Susan Bartonville, TX 10-29-14 Member Since 2012

    Myst/thrillers and ✨fun fantasies✨are my favorites but always open for a good story.  

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    "Mystical"

    Another good Joe Hill thriller. For me this is one was more fantastical than the others.

    Ig, our main character looses the love of his life and after a year or so of drinking and no meaningful relationships he wakes up one morning with small horns growing out of his head. Mysteriously no one is freaked out by the fact and whomever he comes in contact with want to tell him their most horrible acts and feelings. Ig, all in all is a good person and is finding the people he has known and loved all of his life disgust and appall him.

    His lifetime girlfriend was raped and murdered and even though they had no evidence pointing to him, everyone thinks he did it. Now that he has the horns and there many abilities he sets off to set the story straight. I good paced, well narrated story and I am looking forward to watching it on TV staring Daniel Radcliffe.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Beau Marietta, GA, United States 02-26-14
    Beau Marietta, GA, United States 02-26-14

    I like a book that mixes horror and comedy - it's an awkward blend of suspense and release.

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    "Another decent Steven King fanfic novel."

    I'm so glad Joe Hill finally let go of riffing on his dad's writing. NOS4A2 is one of my favorite books, so I've gone back to check out his earlier books. They're good, but there's just way too much of his dad's style in them.

    The story requires a lot of effort to stay engaged in. It does a lot of flashbacking, out of order. And I get it, it helps build up the story, but there's unannounced flips and I spent a lot of time backtracking to find out if I'd skipped a chapter or a tiny clue what was happening.

    And there's a ton, a BIG GIANT ton of extra character development/exposition in there that just didn't contribute all that much to the story. This book could've been 1/3 shorter and would have been a tight, good novel.

    As it stands, it's still a good book, but I'm not left wanting to know more; the times I put it down, I didn't spend my time reflecting on the story so far, nor worrying about what was coming up, (unlike NOS4A2, which pulled me in and kept me almost the entire time).

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda P-C The Tropics 10-11-13
    Linda P-C The Tropics 10-11-13

    Linda P-C

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    "Whew! Tough one to write a review for . . ."

    I've read Road Rage and 20th Century Ghosts - loved them. I own Heart-Shaped Box and have been trying to get through it for a couple of years with no success. I have heard great things about NOS4A2 and want to read it, but I was able to get a discounted copy of Horns. So I did.

    I must admit, the first 1/3 to 1/2 of the book was hard work. There were a great many moments of very interesting reading, but they didn't seem to be coming to any kind of reasonable point. I did consider giving up and going on to something I knew I'd enjoy - but I stuck it out. I am glad I did! The myriad of short, clever anecdotes began to weave themselves into a pattern. I not only knew the characters, I knew their motivations and how the events of their lives had shaped them into the adults that were making the big decisions and acting/reacting to the (admittedly) weird *stuff* that was happening around them. For those who get a bit bored, hang in there. For those who think there are (a) too many characters or that (b) the book is too long: (a) they are ALL vital parts of the story and it would be diminished if any of them were edited out, and (b) Get Real! No matter what format you read a book in there are ways of telling its length in advance.

    Joe Hill is not his father and anyone looking for SK will be disappointed. Joe Hill is a very good writer in his own right, he is much darker and his characters live extremely complicated lives (if only inside their own heads). I am not giving this book five stars because it is not Great Literature, but I am giving it a solid four stars because it is fresh, interesting and a very good read - giving the reader lots of things to think about once the book has been finished.

    Enjoy!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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