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NOS4A2: A Novel | [Joe Hill]

NOS4A2: A Novel

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.
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Audible Editor Reviews

Editors Select, May 2013 - Christmasland is a place where every day is Christmas morning and every night is Christmas Eve. This might not sound like fertile ground for a horror novel, but rest assured; just as there's nothing funny about Pennywise the Dancing Clown in Stephen King's It, there's nothing merry about Christmasland in NOS4A2. Joe Hill tells the story of decrepit child thief Charlie Manx, who travels the country in his Rolls Royce Wraith taking mistreated kids to Christmasland, where they live happily forever playing games like "bite-the-smallest" and "scissors-for-the-drifter". The only girl who managed to escape his clutches and put Manx in prison for life finds that even Manx's death can't keep him from his quest to make sure every mistreated child is taken to Christmasland. As eerie as a Bing Crosby album played at half speed, NOS4A2 is a thoroughly creepy and compulsively readable supernatural thriller. Kate Mulgrew shines as narrator, turning in a spot-on performance as Victoria McQueen, a tough-as-nails if emotionally frail heroine. —Michael, Audible Editor

Publisher's Summary

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....

NOS4A2

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

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (3461 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Sarah 06-01-13
    Sarah 06-01-13
    ratings
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    6
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    Story
    "The book that's gotten me hooked on Joe Hill"

    The genius of this book is in its characters. They are all flawed, some of them broken, most beyond repair. Joe Hill is an absolute GENIUS at creating despicable characters and then insidiously forcing you to like, sympathize with, and even sometimes root for the villains. Also, it's clear that the author has a deep understanding of mental illness, and that makes his characters all the more believable.

    When I began listening I was (a) really turned off by the narrator's shrill voice, and (b) annoyed by the seemingly cheesy stereotypical villain and his completely, disgustingly repulsive sidekick. However, when I got further into the book I got used to the narrator's voice and began to appreciate her dramatization skills, and realized that Charlie Manx is NOT what he seems. The "theory" behind this book - "inscapes" - is endlessly fascinating and I wish the story had explored that aspect more, but i hear that Hill has explored it in his other works.

    The heroine of the book begins as a girl, but when she grows up, the story really takes off. For the last 2/3 of the book, I didn't want my commute to end because I wanted so badly to keep listening. For what it's worth, if I was to do it again I would buy the PDF because there are parts of the book I would have liked to refer back to, and some excellent artwork and other fun style choices.

    Right after I finished reading the book I felt like I was emerging from a movie theater. I immediately went out and bought Heart-Shaped Box - which I didn't like as much as NOS4A2. It's a very different vibe, and it really shows the versatility of Hill's abilities.

    A+!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Curtis Smith 06-01-13
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    47
    3
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    "Joe Should Stick to Short Stories"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    I listen during my work commute. It was better than news, disasters, and politics...


    What was most disappointing about Joe Hill’s story?

    Joe always starts off strong, and has some interesting story ideas. His work just always finishes flat for me.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    Decent narration. The characters could get rather annoying at times, but that was a function of repetition from the author and not the fault of the narrator.


    Did NOS4A2 inspire you to do anything?

    It inspired me to stop buying Joe Hill books, and just reread 20th Century Ghosts every few years instead.


    Any additional comments?

    This book seemed like a hodgepodge of ideas pulled from the shelf of his father's writing. To me it just came off as mashup of Pennywise, Christine, and the Dark Tower -- with some more vintage King tossed in to try to make Christmas creepy. I love a good scary story, but this one just had me shrugging my shoulders and rolling my eyes.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Heidi Wheeling, WV, United States 05-31-13
    Heidi Wheeling, WV, United States 05-31-13 Member Since 2009
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    "Crazy at it's best"
    What other book might you compare NOS4A2 to and why?

    Sharp Objects. Same kind of flawed personalities.


    What three words best describe Kate Mulgrew’s voice?

    over the top


    If you could rename NOS4A2, what would you call it?

    Christmas Land


    Any additional comments?

    Loved this story. Was exciting and dark and fun all the way through it. Mr. Hill does a great job of drawing you in and taking you into his worlds. I definitely will buy this for reading. I think the narrator, though I know she's someone famous or something, was too dramatic.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeff Fredericton, NB, Canada 05-31-13
    Jeff Fredericton, NB, Canada 05-31-13
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    "Are you sure Stephen King didn't write this?"

    This book was my introduction to Joe Hill and I'm quite impressed. I hate to compare father and son, but this book reads just like a Stephen King story both in subject matter and writing style. It (almost) makes me wonder if Dad didn't write this himself. There are even familiar referenced to things like Mid-World, Derry, and Pennywise and it's clear that the creepy Christmasland exists on another level of the Tower.

    So yes, Stephen King fans, you will love Junior's novel just as much as you love his Old Man's. I will definitely be checking out Joe Hill's other works.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eugene 05-30-13
    Eugene 05-30-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Original tale about the imagination gone wild"
    What made the experience of listening to NOS4A2 the most enjoyable?

    I found it to be such an original tale, and a new voice from an author I had not heard of before this. Very detailed and awesome tale about the imagination of children and adults, and how they can be used for good and bad, and the prices people pay when their imagination runs wild.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Not usre if I really had a favorite character, so much as I loved the narrator. Kate Mulgrew was perfect here, her voice giving weight to the tale and characters, lending it all a sense of awe and wonder, just as you would picture the characters having as these events unfolded. I would love to see another combination of a Joe Hill tale read by Kate Mulgrew!


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

    The voice of the novel brought to life. Ms. Mulgrew truly nocked it out of the park, and seemed to be emotionally involved with the story and the characters living within it. Her vocie allowed the novel to move at what I think is a smoother pace than if I had read the novel. Excellent narration!!!


    Who was the most memorable character of NOS4A2 and why?

    I would say perhaps the Bing was the most memorable. Such an wacky, out of control man, even as a young fellow. You are never sure whether to feel sorry for the guy, or to be disgusted by him. Again, I must say I think Ms. Mulgrew really helped with this, because I do not think I could have created such emotion and voice in Bing as she did with her reading. This is not a knock against Mr. Hill, for without his words, this audio would not exist. I am just so impressed with Ms. Mulgrew!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris Silver Spring, MD, United States 05-30-13
    Chris Silver Spring, MD, United States 05-30-13 Member Since 2013
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    "WOW"
    What about Kate Mulgrew’s performance did you like?

    Unbelievable narration. The voice of Charlie Manx of awesomely creepy.


    Any additional comments?

    A great, creepy, and original story i felt. I need more books like this.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    dadnall Lady Lake, FL 05-29-13
    dadnall Lady Lake, FL 05-29-13 Member Since 2001
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    "Great book for a ride from FL to NH"

    Joe Hill is one of the best young writers around. I had heard of NOS4A2 early in 2013 and was very excited to listen to it. As it turned out I was able to buy it and start listening to it as I traveled from FL to NH at the end of May. What a great ride it was.
    The characters in Hill's book are all written in a great way. The story just moves you along so that you are as freightened for the characters as they are .

    I thought that Kate Mulgrew did a great job reading the story but I would like to talk to her about her pronunciation of Haverhill, Mass. It bothered be each time that she said it. But other than that it was a great read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Theresa Wichita, KS, United States 05-29-13
    Theresa Wichita, KS, United States 05-29-13 Member Since 2014
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    "Story was captivating but the performance?"
    If you could sum up NOS4A2 in three words, what would they be?

    Engrossing, entertaining, fun.


    What other book might you compare NOS4A2 to and why?

    Heart Shaped Box, same author, though I think he has improved since that time, similar supernatural horror.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Kate Mulgrew?

    Not entirely sure. I rarely have a problem with a narrator, most do a good job, even those whom others complain about. This narrator sounds like a 65 year old, lifelong smoker and makes half her characters sound the same. It was annoying and distracting and I kept wishing it was anyone but her.


    Any additional comments?

    I really enjoyed the story as a whole, it was so much fun, I listened as much and as often as I could, aside from the narrator, definitely worth the credit!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mandy Payne Hollywood, CA 05-29-13
    Mandy Payne Hollywood, CA 05-29-13

    Mama Granola

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Reader annoying."

    The story is good and overall this is worthwhile.

    But the reader...without having any idea who she is or how old, all i could find myself wondering was "how many packs a day has she smoked in her short 65 years on the planet?" Sometimes she was bearable. But many, many times I was very distracted by her rasp. It can't be easy doing children's voices, but her breath control was horrible.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    julie Dingmans Ferry, PA, United States 05-29-13
    julie Dingmans Ferry, PA, United States 05-29-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "If you love Stephen King...."
    Any additional comments?

    This story was similar in many ways to SK's older spooky novels. However, it was different enough that I did NOT consider it an annoying and blatant ripoff. I really enjoyed this book, it really brought me back to the days of my youth when I devoured these kinds of spooky stories on a regular basis. Loved the characters, they were vivid and likeable flawed humans that everyone could relate to, and root for.
    The narrator was excellent, her unique voice was perfectly suited for this story. I highly recommend this book!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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