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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

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  •  
    Johnny SOUTH AMBOY, NEW JERSEY, United States 11-10-13
    Johnny SOUTH AMBOY, NEW JERSEY, United States 11-10-13 Member Since 2013
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    "AMAZING!"
    Where does NOS4A2 rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    The best!..... by a country mile!


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

    She absolutely nailed it! I immediately did a search to see what other books featured her extensive talent for voices. Her inflections and intonations has made her my favorite narrator.


    Any additional comments?

    I have listened to over 2 dozen books over the past year .... lots of King, Koontz, McCammon, Simmons and Due.... so Mr. Hill is in very good company... I have never written a review.. for anything!... however, I felt compelled to do so 4 NOS4A2! If you like any of the aforementioned authors you should purchase this audio book now!... no really... put whatever you're listening to now on hold and start this book! Kate Mulgrew "sleighed" the narration.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jamie Toronto, ON, Canada 06-16-13
    Jamie Toronto, ON, Canada 06-16-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Creepy, Compelling, Satisfying"

    I haven't read a horror novel for maybe 20 years (am more a literary fiction type now), but I chose this on a whim, and because I like Kate Mulgrew's voice. I did not regret my choice! Joe Hill's writing is vivid and strong; he can create truly frightening images and wickedly funny lines, often in the same scene, and the narration is rich and nuanced -- a truly great performance.

    Make sure you listen all the way to the very end! There's a key bit of information in the production credits that you won't want to miss, and then Joe Hill talks about writing and his rather famous family of writers.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kimberly Ypsilanti, MI, United States 06-07-13
    Kimberly Ypsilanti, MI, United States 06-07-13 Member Since 2009
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    "Delightfully Creepy"

    Joe Hill surpasses his father in storytelling. Despite a few plot points that I didn't feel were adequately explained, I really enjoyed this book. The story never felt like it was dragging and there are few wonderfully creepy passages that gave my jaded ear a start. I thoroughly enjoyed Kate Mulgrew's narration, although I do understand why others may not like it. If you listen to the sample and are put off, spring for a print version. This story is definitely worth a credit.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cathie Savannah, GA, United States 05-30-13
    Cathie Savannah, GA, United States 05-30-13
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    "Disturbing!"

    I started this listen with a bit of hesitation due to the title. I thought it might be a bit hokey. I was pleasantly surprised! This is a demented, disturbing, hold onto your seat kind of story. If you liked Heart-Shaped Box you will love this one. Kate Mulgrew is now on my list of favorite narrators!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Yvonne 05-15-13
    Yvonne 05-15-13

    Vonne

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    "Full Tilt Listen!"

    Couldnt stop listening! Excellent book. Narrator did a phenomenal job. Lots of twists and turns in this one!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steve Massachusetts, USA 05-07-13
    Steve Massachusetts, USA 05-07-13 Member Since 2011
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    "His Father's Son"

    Joe Hill himself calls NOS4A2 his "senior thesis on horror fiction", and notes that in some ways that makes it a senior thesis on Stephen King. This is a very accurate description of Hill's latest novel, as he expertly applies the formula his father made famous and crafts a truly chilling story. While I don't think NOS4A2 is as good as King's best work, it's certainly a respectful addition to the genre, and well worth your time if scary books are your thing.

    The first ingredient of every Stephen King-esque horror story is a flawed protagonist. Someone the reader can identify with as they start out normal but eventually delve deeper and deeper into the supernatural. As things build and build, our main character will need to overcome their own weaknesses to survive.

    In NOS4A2 we follow Vic "Brat" McQueen, an average girl with the not-so-average ability to find things. How does she find things? She rides her bike through an abandoned covered bridge and across space in time, to the exact place she needs to be to find what she's looking for. I'm sure you can guess what happens next: eventually Vic goes looking for the wrong thing, and ends up in big trouble. This is where the story truly takes off.

    Charles Manx is the main boogeyman lurking within the pages of NOS4A2. Manx is 150 years old, drives a strange 1930s Rolls Royce, and kidnaps innocent children away to a terrible realm known as Christmasland where the kids deteriorate over time, becoming twisted and evil pictures of lost innocence. At times Manx is a perfectly crafted, terrifying mixture of Hannibal Lecter and Pennywise the evil clown - but at times he wanders a bit too close to some sort of Christmas-themed Batman villain. Does a bad guy using gingerbread-scented smoke as a weapon sound goofy or scary to you? It can obviously go either way, and Hill is an excellent writer who manages to keep it on the creepy side throughout most of this novel. Every once in a while he drifts a bit, but for the most part he stays on the rails.

    My main criticism of NOS4A2 is that it's just too long, and for what it's worth I've had a similar opinion of most of Stephen King's latest work (11-22-64, Duma Key, Under the Dome). Personally I'm hoping that Joe Hill's next book breaks away from dear old dad in this department and tightens things up considerably. I think that a tight, concentrated version of NOS4A2 at half the length could have been a 5 star book. It's especially disappointing that despite all of this length, we don't learn much of Manx's backstory. His methods are creative, but his motivation is lacking. He's just kind of generic evil. A writer as talented as Joe Hill should be able to give us more.

    Kate Mulgrew does a fantastic job with the narration. Her Manx voice is especially creepy, and the performance is just excellent overall. My only criticism is that she pronounced Haverill as Hay-ver-hill which just sounds weird to this Massachusetts native. Everyone knows it's Hay-vrill! A very minor criticism of her otherwise awesome performance!

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim "The Impatient" Springfield, MO, United States 05-05-13
    Jim "The Impatient" Springfield, MO, United States 05-05-13 Member Since 2015

    I will listen to NO boring book. Old Fav's,Card, King , Hobb. New Fav's, Hill, Scalzi, Sawyer, Interested in Lansdale, Crouch, Konrath

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    "And Gold Doesn't Come Off"

    I usually don't rush out to buy the newest hot book to come out. I let those I am following read first before I chance my money. Having loved Heart Shaped Box and Horns, I knew I did not need to wait on someone else to tell me this would be good. In my humble opinion this is the best Joe Hill has written yet.

    I am sure JH gets tired of being compared to his dad, but having recently read "IT" by Stephen King I can not resist. I mentioned in that review that even though King throws a lot weird stuff and mean monsters at you, it's all just cover, to introduce you to some great flawed characters that you fall in love with. Hill has lots of weird things and mean scary monsters, but he mostly builds characters. You are scared, not because of the monsters, but because you don't want anything bad to happen to the people you have fallen in love with. All though I am not sure that I like the fact that in the book "It" you learn to hate clowns and then Hill ruins Christmas in this novel.

    The bad guy is described as a bald Keith Richards with big blue veins covering his bald head. You learn in this book that: The blood of a red headed woman is three degrees colder then a normal woman. A cop does not want to pin a murder on the Gingerbread Man, cause word on the street is "You can't catch the gingerbread man".

    Warning: The main difference between Hill and King, is that Hill uses very foul language, a lot worse then his dad would think of and if you read Heart-Shaped Box then you know that Hill is fixated on Blow J@@s. I hate to sound chauvinistic, but the stuff that comes out of the mouths of the women in this book made me cringe. I grew up around foul language and have worked around over the road truck drivers most of my life. If you were alright with Heart-Shaped box then you will be okay with this. Like I said I loved both books.

    I hate nepotism, so I am in the position to dislike this author, but the talent of Joe Hill can not be denied. I have all his books in First Edition and plan on collecting everything he writes.

    Now if you are not tired of me gushing like a little girl, let me remark on the narrator. I am in total awe of Kate Mulgrew. If you have read the hardback, you still want to get this audio. Nobody could have done a better job. She even does male voices better then some males. I am hoping like Muller and King were, so will be the team of Hill and Mulgrew. I don't know what they paid her but it was not enough.

    10 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DMcClureDVM 07-20-15
    DMcClureDVM 07-20-15 Member Since 2005

    Diane McClure

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    "Captivating tale - creepy and engaging"

    Joe Hill has quite possibly destroyed my love of Christmas carols with this tale. there are at least tainted and I am glad I read this book in July. The idea that we all live in two worlds, our everyday world and the one inside our head resonates strongly and truly makes the supernatural events in NOS4A2 seem plausible. The characters are well created, so "everyday" human, that we are drawn in. The lead character seems to have special powers and yet we come to understand it isn't special but the power of creativity. The outcome could br good or evil as either can result from tampering with the human condition.

    Kate Mulgrew gave a delightful reading!

    I highly recommend this. audiobook.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jessie 07-09-15
    Jessie 07-09-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Totally Enthralling"

    I'm late to the game with Joe Hill, but I found myself devouring his work with the same appetite as I did his father's book when I discovered him. I like how he ties his world together with inscapes.

    NOS4A2 is exciting, and the characters are easy to become invested in. I simply found the story enthralling. A large part of the pull was Kate Mulgrew's reading. I just loved everything about it. She made the characters and the story come alive. I have a whole new respect for her as a performer!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Natasha AUCKLAND, New Zealand 04-17-15
    Natasha AUCKLAND, New Zealand 04-17-15 Member Since 2012
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    "Scary as hell"
    If you could sum up NOS4A2 in three words, what would they be?

    Scary As Hell


    What other book might you compare NOS4A2 to and why?

    Some of Stephen King's scariest.. Joe Hill can paint a creepy scene much like his Dad.


    What about Kate Mulgrew’s performance did you like?

    Great character work - good with suspense filled scary moments.


    If you could take any character from NOS4A2 out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    I loved the character of Lou - it was refreshing to read about an obese character who wasn't comical or written with a tone of disgust or pity - he was a dude with a great heart and I thought he was very realistic and genuinely likeable despite his failings.


    Any additional comments?

    This book reads like some of my worst nightmares in places - scary kids and creepy Xmas carols.. I only listened to it in the day time! Great work by Joe Hill.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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