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NOS4A2 Audiobook

NOS4A2: A Novel

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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

4.2 (7998 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Barry 01-26-16
    Barry 01-26-16 Member Since 2008
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    "Great story and narration, 4.5 stars"

    this was a really interesting premise with very engaging characters. great narration by Kate Mulgrew. the book was a bit reminiscent of Stephen King

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gary P Parnham Vernon, CT 01-25-16
    Gary P Parnham Vernon, CT 01-25-16
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    "Haverhill ... Haverhill ... Haverhill"
    Would you listen to NOS4A2 again? Why?

    No. I can't get by the mis-pronounciations of Haverhill


    What was one of the most memorable moments of NOS4A2?

    The bridge.


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

    Anyone


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Nope


    Any additional comments?

    It's a two-syllable word ... Hayve-rill. Not Have-er-hill for pete's sake. Constantly mis-pronouncing it was distracting and very annoying.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen L Doherty 01-24-16
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    "In the same league as the Shinning"

    Wow. Amazing. Thrilling. Scary. Imaginative. Original. You feel the tension along with the characters and their families.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MutantMonster 01-23-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Joe Hill only gets better."

    This book is by far the best story about a bad-ass biker mama fighting to save her son from a innocence-draining immortal maniac that you'll ever read.
    This isn't damning with faint praise, simply a statement on what a wonderful, unique, literally and figuratively fantastic adventure this novel is. And read in a way that moved me, frightened me, and kept me anxious to get my headphones back on.
    This cannot be over stated: Kate Mulgrew is PHENOMENAL. Her voice is so nimble, her characterization so complicated and complete, that Charles Talent Manx came so alive as to make my blood run a little colder. Everyone else is read great too, but her reading of Charlie deserves an award.
    Read this book. Listen to it. Live with these beautiful, flawed, compelling characters for a while. Share their ups and downs, their tragedy and eventually- their Triumph.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ross Gibson 01-22-16
    Ross Gibson 01-22-16 Member Since 2015
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    "an unfocused mess."

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    LAURA MCCAIN BLOOMINGTON, IN USA 01-21-16
    LAURA MCCAIN BLOOMINGTON, IN USA 01-21-16 Member Since 2012
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    "New Favorite"
    Would you consider the audio edition of NOS4A2 to be better than the print version?

    The reader was wonderful. I wouldn't have experienced it the same way if I had read it myself.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Victoria was my favorite character. She was strong yet flawed.


    Which character – as performed by Kate Mulgrew – was your favorite?

    Kate's Charlie was nice and creepy.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Too long for one sitting.


    Any additional comments?

    I loved this book. I'm calling it my new favorite!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Oldengrey 01-21-16
    Oldengrey 01-21-16 Member Since 2012
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    "really good read and performance."

    The story and characters hold you from the first page until the very last. Could not put it down.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Elizabeth 01-19-16
    Elizabeth 01-19-16 Member Since 2017
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    "Kate Mulgrew rocks!"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jaye GREENWICH, CT, United States 01-19-16
    jaye GREENWICH, CT, United States 01-19-16 Member Since 2012

    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!

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    "A HORROR STORY. BUT I DID NOT LIKE IT TOO MUCH."
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    IT WAS OK, ENTERTAINING BUT STUPID.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Joe Hill again?

    I WOULD REALLY HAVE TO THINK ABOUT THAT. I DON'T KNOW.


    What about Kate Mulgrew’s performance did you like?

    SHE DID A FINE JOB READING THE STORY.


    Was NOS4A2 worth the listening time?

    IT WAS MEDIOCRE. I MANAGED TO FINISHE THE BOOK.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David 01-17-16
    David 01-17-16 Member Since 2017

    Indiscriminate Reader

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    "The creepiest child-stealer since Pennywise"

    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.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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