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Editorial 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

Critic Reviews

"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

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  • Matthew
  • LOUISVILLE, KY, United States
  • 07-13-16

Not as tight as Heart Shaped Box

Despite Kate Mulgrew's excellent narration, I struggled through this book. I came to it after listening to Heart Shaped Box, but I found that this book did not share the tight focus and plotting of that book. It is imaginative and disturbing in all the right places, but I found myself really wanting a shorter novel (or maybe evem two novels, considering the scope of this book) that had a more even pace.

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not that vampirey

great book. not as vampirey as i thought, which is a good thing. i love kate mulgrew.

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Essential Lovecraft

A great collection of some of his best stories. Haunting and dark. Still the reigning master of horror and the unknown that sits waiting at the edge of our dreams.

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Great story! Even better reading!

Kate Mulgrew absolutely kills it! She really seems to be having a lot of fun!

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Ridiculous Plotline Comes Together Oddly Well

I nearly obtained NOS4A2 a year ago. After reading about "A girl that kind find things with a magic bridge" and "...a vampire with a Rolls Royce" who takes children to "Christmasland" I quickly went onto other books. The synopsis really sounded as though it had just randomly strung together far-fetched hokey characters with unreal mystical abilities so I moved on. I came back on a whim and had a change of heart quickly. Joe Hill seems to have a grounded realization of what makes up the mind. While real life mental powers like these clearly don't exist, everything in NOS4A2 is brought together in such a way where you won't mind suspending initial disbelief while things make more sense the further down the road.

As a bonus, The Raleigh Tuff Burner conjures up a perfect 80's/90's world that appeals especially to those born in the 60's & 70's and the mention to "The Knot" from Stephen King's "Dr. Sleep" always excite me than their brief appearance should.

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A creepy trip into the mindscape of a vampire.

This story was written by Stephen King's son. Its a timeline that follows Vick, a single mother, and her struggle with using her power of inscapes to find lost things....even her own son.

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What a Fun, Couldn't put it down, Novel!

What made the experience of listening to NOS4A2 the most enjoyable?

The Narrator, Kate Mulgrew. She could narrate a phone book and I would find it wonderful to listen to.

Which scene was your favorite?

Whole book was amazing. I didn't want it to end

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  • KerPow
  • Mapleton, UT
  • 06-24-16

Phenomenal

I bought this when it was on a daily deal as a lark, but this is worth a credit. This is one of the best audiobooks I've ever heard. Kate mulgrew is fantastic and the author really knows his horror. This is very reminiscent of the best of Stephen King. It will shiver your spine for sure.

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So good!!

Great narrator, and awesome story!! Joe Hill is as good as his father and then some.

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Couldn't get past the Colorado Descriptions...

Okay - this might be dumb, but I have to say it. For someone who probably spent a great deal of their life in Colorado (Hello, The Shining was about The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park), the fact that everything Hill was writing about this state was just incorrect is baffling to me. First of all, Gunbarrel is a small suburb of Boulder (less than 5 minutes outside of town), and it's north east of Boulder, so no, it's not in the mountains. There's no "above Gunbarrel". Gunbarrel is a yuppy town full of rich Boulderites, it's not a hick town full of trailers. There's no "above Longmont" (the town I grew up in that is close-ish to the mountains, but we're still about 20 miles from the foothills). And no, we aren't a bunch of hillbillies who live in trailers and speak with strange sort-of-southern accents. The story was pretty good, but every time Colorado was mentioned, I'd spend the next 30 minutes focused on how weirdly incorrect it was, and lost my focus on the actual story. It would be one thing for the story to be THIS wrong and not fact-checked if it was written by a new author who grew up as far from Colorado as you can get, but for Stephen King's son to write this and pay no mind to the details, I just couldn't get past it.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful