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)
Much horror generated for the listener when they slowly begin to realize they have wasted so much time for so little return.
Narrator seems confused and gives New England ers upper mid-west accents.
Kate Mulgrew did an awesome job on the narration of this book. It took a long time for me to accept the Christmas land premise and I kept listening to what seemed like an average book idea by an above average writer on the strength of her recitation skills. If you show some patience and allow the foundation for the book to get firmly laid down there is the payoff of a rip roaring horror adventure.
Sometimes most of a book is great but the ending is a let down. That is not the case in this finely crafted book by Joe Hill. I am now encouraged to listen to another tale from this author.
(Sorry about all the S’s in the review title… must be a leftover effect from experiencing an unsettling supernatural tale.)
With apologies for the comparison, but it's both inevitable and relevant. Stephen King infuses his writing with humor, a whimsy and an affection for his characters lacking in his son's work. Joe Hill seems to have characters solely to torture them. The premise was decent but the story dragged on and on and IMHO been far superior if shortened by a third.
After getting through this book as well as Heart Shaped Box, I find I'm left with a sort of mental haggardness and unlike many other novels,, no desire whatever to linger in their worlds or with their poor, shattered inhabitants.
Ms. Mulgrew's accolades baffle me. As an extremely experienced audiobook listener, I found her grating, many characters male and female sounding alike. She made most women sound like inebriated harridans, course, mean and irate. The men were little better and often juvenile sounding.
Seeing her name linked to other books would 👆 definitely give me pause. Most likely I would pass them by. I had been wanting to hear Locke and Key after this but no longer, as Ms. Mulgrew is prominently listed among the cast.
a better reader. She had two voices both sounded like Jerry Lewis on a bad day
With heavy editing this could have been an okay story. But it was totally ruined by the performance. The voice was at best annoying.
At first I was a bit put off by the title (and even the cover art) thankfully my interest in the story line overrode my predilections and I purchased it. Really glad I did! Now, I'm no fan of obscenities, but there are a few in this book and I must say that of all I've heard that didn't need the foul language or over did it, this book carried it well and frankly would have been missing something without it.
Honest review here so listen up. This guy, Joe Hill, he's a master. I'm no writer so I can't really describe just how good he is, but it wasn't like reading or even listening to a story. It was like living it. Like... I don't know but it was fantastic! And Kate, Oh man! Her narration has truly set the high bar. I had not heard her narrate before so let me say, there's a new standard to which I hold narrators to and its Kate Mulgrew!You don't want to miss this.
Full time in the Arts Industry Addicted to Audiobooks of all kinds...
This one was like curling up with an old friend and a cup of hot cocoa, then realizing they plan to kill you...
Not sure...any readers of Stephen King will probably pick it up since it's written by his son, Joe Hill. There are also a few Dark Tower references scattered throughout that makes it entertaining.
No, I'll continue to read horror and science fiction. It just wasn't a good book. And to have good perspective, it's always good to read excellent works, the classics, and also terrible books. This just happened to land on the terrible end.
Anyone who can get their accent under control. Kate's accent was way too northern, or mid-western for my liking. By doing that, it "regionalizes" the characters. I'd like to have Kate reading a book like "Fargo", but not something like this where the characters are all cross-country, yet they sound like they're all from North Dakota. It takes the reader out of the story when the narrator's accent gets the best of them.
Disappointment. I didn't know what the story was about; however I hoped it would at least be decent. It was terrible. See below for details.
I was not impressed with "NOS4A2" and it was no where good as I thought it would be. Maybe I went into it with high expectations, yet I didn't really know what it was about so I can't really blame myself for not liking it or holding it to a certain standard. All things considered, I've already read Joe Hill's other two works: "Heart-Shaped Box" and "Horns", as well as a couple of short stories, and I can say that there are now three distinct elements that are consistent in all Joe Hill novels:
1. Dead animals, or the killing of animals
2. Music/pop culture references
I would also add the supernatural element; however I think this has become the genre that Hill is sticking with. In regard to writing style, one of dislikes to "NOS4A2" was the overuse of similes. Every page was just about scattered with similes, like sprinkles on a cupcake, they were everywhere and really took away from the story.
Regarding the story, and in the words of Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons: Worst. Villain. Ever. The villain was terrible, unoriginal, lame, and had way too much dialogue. Imagine having a poorly scripted Bond villain that was inept at killing, terrorizing, or even being menacing, yet all he wanted to do was talk about all the "bad" things he was going to do or even worst: bore you with details from his own life.
The heroine wasn't much better. I'm not sure if it was from the poor excuses she made or if it was Hill's attempt at making her vulnerable and driven by regret, but she was certainly hard to root for. And I'm not talking about in an anti-hero kind of way. She was very unlikable and annoying.
Even the sidekicks were terrible. The heroine's sidekick was chocked full of comic book references that only made him seem too immature to do anything serious and the villainous sidekick was too cliche to expect him to do any harm. I can honestly say that there were no characters that kept my interest.
As for the plot, this was one of those books that you get half way through hoping it will get better. Spoiler alert: it didn't. Then you reach the point of no return and figure that if you've made it more than halfway means you might as well finish it. Like any B-movie, you have to at least see how it ends. And like any bad B-movie, "NOS4A2" did not disappoint.
If I were ever to re-read this book, I'd probably look back and think I was being a bit harsh in the review. Chances are, the only way I'd re-read this book is if they made it into a movie and I'd be curious to go back and see if the movie was any better than the book.
It's also worth pointing out that this book had way too many penis references. Not sure why they were needed because they certainly didn't add to the plot. Just saying - it was one too many for my liking.
There were also obligatory references made to his last two novels, as well as references made to his father's Dark Tower series. I failed to mention in my other reviews, that there was at least one DT reference made in each novel. This one had a handful. At some point I just wanted to roll my eyes and say "Joe, I get it. Stephen King is your dad and everyone loves his Dark Tower series. Just because you're related, you're allowed to do stuff like that, but lets not over do it."
Pros: not many...actually the last page was the only pro because I knew that meant that I was finally finished.
Cons: many. Way too many to bore with details.
Bottom line: bad story that was poorly executed with flimsy characters and cheap plot devices.
Gripping, imaginative, chilling book. You know a horror story has gotten under your skin when it makes you a tiny bit afraid of your own small children!
The reading by Kate Mulgrew is unbelievable. Possibly the best audiobook performance I've ever heard and I've listened to hundreds of audiobooks.
There is a fun little reference to listen for if you've read Hill's other work, and that of his father. I love meta-references and appreciate the thematic connection this one draws between many different works.
I got this book because I have enjoyed many Stephen King novels, and this story seemed similar. The first 15 minutes were great, and then I quickly grew bored. What makes many Stephen King books so good is the way the reader cares about everyday people before the creepiness and supernatural kick in. Thirty years ago, I may have liked this, but I was overwhelmed with the feeling that I had read this before, and I quit halfway through the first part. The novel was too long for me to wait and hope it picked up. Maybe it did, but I didn't care to wait.
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