Audie Award Finalist, Solo Narration - Female, 2014
Joe Hill, the acclaimed, award-winning author of the New York Times best sellers Heart-Shaped Box and Horns, plunges you into the dark side of imagination with a thrilling novel of supernatural suspense that will have you flinching at shadows and checking the rearview mirror again and again....
Don't slow down
Victoria McQueen has an uncanny knack for finding things: a misplaced bracelet, a missing photograph, answers to unanswerable questions. When she rides her bicycle over the rickety old covered bridge in the woods near her house, she always emerges in the places she needs to be. Vic doesn't tell anyone about her unusual ability, because she knows no one will believe her. She has trouble understanding it herself.
Charles Talent Manx has a gift of his own. He likes to take children for rides in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith with the vanity plate NOS4A2. In the Wraith, he and his innocent guests can slip out of the everyday world and onto hidden roads that lead to an astonishing playground of amusements he calls Christmasland. Mile by mile, the journey across the highway of Charlie's twisted imagination transforms his precious passengers, leaving them as terrifying and unstoppable as their benefactor.
And then comes the day when Vic goes looking for trouble...and finds her way, inevitably, to Charlie.
That was a lifetime ago. Now, the only kid ever to escape Charlie's unmitigated evil is all grown up and desperate to forget.
But Charlie Manx hasn't stopped thinking about the exceptional Victoria McQueen. On the road again, he won't slow down until he's taken his revenge. He's after something very special - something Vic can never replace.
As a life-and-death battle of wills builds her magic pitted against his - Vic McQueen prepares to destroy Charlie once and for all...or die trying....
Joe Hill's acclaimed works of fiction, Horns, Heart-Shaped Box, and 20th Century Ghosts, have already earned him international acclaim. With NOS4A2, this outstanding novelist - "one of America's finest horror writers" (Time magazine); "a major player in 21st-century fantastic fiction" (Washington Post) - crafts his finest work yet. Disturbing, mesmerizing, and full of twisting thrills, Hill's phantasmagoric, devilishly playful masterpiece is a terrifying high-octane ride.
©2013 Joe Hill (P)2013 HarperCollins Publishers
"Quite simply the best horror writer of our generation, Joe Hill’s masterful storytelling is on full display in NOS4A2. It is by turns terrifying and hilarious, horrifying and full of heart, and relentlessly compelling." (Michael Koryta, New York Times bestselling author of The Prophet)
"Fascinating and utterly engaging, this novel is sure to leave readers wanting more. One thing is for certain, however. After reading this book, readers will never hear Christmas carols in quite the same way again." (Library Journal, starred review)
"[A] new take on the fantasy-horror genre...Highly recommended." (The Sun Herald Sydney, Australia)
the story itself is a bit of an unfocused mess, far too many ideas half thought out and only half finished. There are definite areas where the authot could have researched further in orded to keep up the suspension of disbelief (ie calling a .38 a big gun, the various numbered weights of people etc.) there are definitely parts that seemed needlessly cruel, which gave the impression that the author is less moralizing with the characters and more just peeling the wings off of flies.
of the actual reading, I found some of the voices a little harsh and the languid pace left me frustrated, but hat could have just simply been the style of writing more so than the reader.
The reader was wonderful. I wouldn't have experienced it the same way if I had read it myself.
Victoria was my favorite character. She was strong yet flawed.
Kate's Charlie was nice and creepy.
Too long for one sitting.
I loved this book. I'm calling it my new favorite!
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.
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