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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

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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  • Overall
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You say tomato

Would you try another book from Joe Hill and/or Kate Mulgrew?

The dilemma of a review is in judging the quality of a book that isn't of a genre that appeals to you. this may be the novel of the century. I'm going to return it.

What about Kate Mulgrew’s performance did you like?

Kate delivered a clear, well-modulated reading.

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Started Weird - Became an Addiction

When the book started, I thought I had gotten a hold of a collection of oddly related short stories. I'm not a big fan of short stories or essays. Just about the time I about to give up on it, it became a thriller! I have always been a fan of Nosferatu (if you've never seen or heard of Nosferatu, check it out) and was immediately drawn to the title. I knew or at least hoped I was in for some Stephen Kingesque, gut level apprehension - dare I say fear?

The book is excellent, fast paced for nearly 20 hours, well written, with characters that you (mostly) want to know personally. I am a tiny bit sorry that I neglected a few things (and people) due to my deep engrossment in NOS4AT2.

Read & enjoy!

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Joe Hill you are sick

What was one of the most memorable moments of NOS4A2?

NOS4A2, Gas mask man, Christmas land

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

The husband

Was NOS4A2 worth the listening time?

I think this book was psychic heavy and little disturbing - have I know the genre of this book I would not have read it. But once I started reading I could not stop it kept me on my toes...

Any additional comments?

If you like horror movies and spooky stories I'd recommend this book.

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Couldn't even finish it...

It isn't often I come across a book I don't like, but this is definitely one of them. I got about three hours into it before giving up entirely. The characters either bored me or were utterly unlikable, the plot moved so slowly that I gave serious thought to simply skipping ahead just to reach some kind of development, and by the time I gave up listening the narrator's voice was grating on my nerves. Normally the sort of book that's right up my alley, I was sorely disappointed.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Very creepy, very enjoyable

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

Ms. Mulgrew's performance!

What did you like best about this story?

Creepy children <3

Have you listened to any of Kate Mulgrew’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I have not. I should fix this!

Who was the most memorable character of NOS4A2 and why?

Wayne, because of his strong resolve

Any additional comments?

Very enjoyable listen. Joe Hill rambled a lot in the second half, unfortunately, which took away from the creepy spookiness for a lot of it, but the end gets good

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  • User
  • Burlington, ON, Canada
  • 03-22-16

Bad story Terrible reader

What would have made NOS4A2 better?

a better reader. She had two voices both sounded like Jerry Lewis on a bad day

Would you ever listen to anything by Joe Hill again?

No

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

anybody else

Any additional comments?

With heavy editing this could have been an okay story. But it was totally ruined by the performance. The voice was at best annoying.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Kate Mulgrew's reading makes this book what it is.

the voice and she gives to the different people in this book is amazing. You wonder if the other actually had these kind of voices in mind when he was writing these characters and writing their dialogue.
This Book is pretty amazing though. It does to Christmas what Jaws did to the water.

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great story, amazing reading

picked this up totally ignorant of the author. sounded familiar but superior to dad's stuff. the voice work by Kate is as good as anything I've heard!

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Only S. King's Son Could Make Christmas So Creepy!

I never thought the description of candy canes and Christmas melodies could creep me out so badly, but Mr. Hill made me happy that I won't see a Santa suit for many, many months. I was torn on the narration. Ms. Mulgrew was splendid in many ways, but her characters did often sound so similar (like a chain smoking 50-something woman from the midwest) that it would sometimes take me a moment to realize which character was talking. But some characters, like Charlie himself, were narrated to perfection. Overall, the story was scary, emotional and engaging.

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A creepy read, save for December (and night)

What did you love best about NOS4A2?

The antagonist is creepy and funny.

What did you like best about this story?

I liked the way it connects to Hill's other works, and his father works as well (Stephen King).

Have you listened to any of Kate Mulgrew’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Never. Janeway knocks it out of the park. Amazing narration.

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

Yes, in the dark and the snow fell

Any additional comments?

Not as good as Heart-Shaped Box, but better than Horns