Horns: A Novel

Horns: A Novel

4.1 518
by Joe Hill
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Joe Hill's critically acclaimed, New York Times bestselling, Bram Stoker Award-winning debut chiller, Heart-Shaped Box, heralded the arrival of new royalty onto the dark fantasy scene. With Horns, he polishes his well-deserved crown. A twisted, terrifying new novel of psychological and supernatural suspense, Horns is a devilishly

Overview

Joe Hill's critically acclaimed, New York Times bestselling, Bram Stoker Award-winning debut chiller, Heart-Shaped Box, heralded the arrival of new royalty onto the dark fantasy scene. With Horns, he polishes his well-deserved crown. A twisted, terrifying new novel of psychological and supernatural suspense, Horns is a devilishly original triumph for the Ray Bradbury Fellowship recipient whose story collection, 20th Century Ghosts, was also honored with a Bram Stoker Award—and whose emotionally powerful and macabre work has been praised by the New York Times as, "wild, mesmerizing, perversely witty…a Valentine from hell."

Editorial Reviews

Janet Maslin
The strange thing about Horns is that its opening scenes aren't all that strange. Its author, Joe Hill, is able to make Ig's problem seem like the most natural thing in the world. Mr. Hill writes with such palpable enthusiasm that he has no trouble hooking readers, especially with a book that is clearly on the side of the angels, though hellbent on using every devil reference it can…[Hill] is able to combine intrigue, editorializing, impassioned romance and even fiery theological debate in one well-told story.br>—The New York Times
Victor LaValle
…what makes Horns such a pleasure is that [Hill] avoids the seriousness that can pervade books meant to be spooky. He understands that horror readers can have fun, even laugh, and that makes the scary parts more effective…Horns remains compelling because, on top of Hill's humor, the ideas are so interesting. For all the ways this is a commercial book—the good guys and the bad guys are pretty clearly defined; redemption is a foregone conclusion—there's a wonderfully cockeyed idea at the book's center, one that's also much older than the written word. Sometimes, if you want to do God's work, you need the Devil to get it done.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
In bestseller Hill’s compulsively readable supernatural thriller, his second after Heart-Shaped Box, dissolute Ignatius Perrish wakes up one morning to find a pair of satanic horns sprouting from his forehead. To the residents of Gideon, N.H., this grotesque disfigurement only confirms their suspicions that Ig raped and murdered his girlfriend, Merrin Williams, a crime for which he was held but soon released for lack of evidence. Ig is also now privy to the deepest, and often darkest, private thoughts of anyone he touches. Once Ig discovers through this uncanny sensitivity the true killer’s identity, he schemes to reveal the culprit’s guilt through natural means. Toggling between past and present, and incidents that range from the supernaturally surreal to the brutally realistic, Hill spins a story that’s both morbidly amusing and emotionally resonant. The explanations for Ig’s weird travails won’t satisfy every reader, but few will dispute that Hill has negotiated the sophomore slump. 6-city author tour. (Mar.)
Library Journal
Ignatius Perrish led a charmed life as the popular son of a wealthy and talented family and the storybook lover of the perfect Merrin Williams. Then, after high school, it all went wrong. Merrin was raped and murdered, her head bashed in, and everyone assumed Ig was the killer, even after he was exonerated. A year after Merrin's death, following a barely remembered night of debauchery, Ig awakens with a pair of three-inch horns growing from his forehead. Along with these come abilities that shock and disgust him but also bring him closer to finding Merrin's real killer. As the plot builds through flashbacks and clever exposition, Ig's true nature reveals itself, and the reader is left questioning the traditional border between good and evil. VERDICT The promising short-story writer of 20th Century Ghosts didn't quite reach the mark with his debut novel, Heart-Shaped Box, but with his sophomore effort, Hill has written a novel that is all his. Highly recommended, particularly for fans of Clive Barker and Christopher Moore. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 10/15/09; also available in ebook and HarperLuxe large-print editions.]—Karl G. Siewert, MLIS, Tulsa City-Cty. Lib.
Bookgasm.com
“Hill’s one incredibly talented writer with a wicked sense of humor and a master’s control of pacing.”
Pittsburgh Tribune
“A devilish, ingeniously designed story that positions Hill in the same realm as Neil Gaiman, Jonathan Lethem, and Stephen King.”
Charleston Post & Courier
“a tight and well-plotted murder mystery, as well as a thoughtful meditation on good and evil....[HORNS] establishes Hill as one of the most clever and talented writers working in the genre.”
The Globe and Mail
“Fast-paced, well-made, and wonderfully weird.”
Wilmington News Journal
“[D]evilishly good…Hill is a terrificwriter with a greatimagination. He has a special talent for taking us and his characters to very weird places.”
Valdosta Daily Times
“”Darkly comic in places, touching in others, chilling on occassion…”
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
“No one working in horror today is more adept than Hill …His writing is both merciless and compassionate, driving hard toward the painful truth in every story while holding fast to the desires of his protagonist. ”
Oregonian
“The wise guys point out that the literature of horror fantasy tends to be both romantic and conservative. Normalcy is idealized and so precious that its violation is the essence of horror. Joe Hill’s sweet, fanged demonology takes us there.”
DreadCentral.com
“HORNS should bring even more fans to Joe Hill . . . he has his own style, and it is very accessible as well as fast-moving. . . . HORNS is a fast-paced, fascinating murder mystery/love story with a dash of the devil himself to spice things up.”
Seattle Times
“Hill’s survey of the question of suffering is a wild ride, as filled with thrills as his hero’s headlong plunge down to a dark and dazzling river.”
New York Journal of Books
Horns is a well wrought tale with intellectual merit. Not only are we entertained, we are challenged to think as well.”
Bookreporter.com
“Brilliant in conception...HORNS is a rollercoaster of a work filled with thrills and chills.”
St. Paul Pioneer Press
“Horns is not only scary but it’s also insightful, often funny and sometimes sweetl romantic.”
Tulsa World
Horns is a pitchfork-packing, prodigal son’s take on religion…But the real meat of the story dissects man’s relationship with good and evil wihtout sacrificing a bit of suspense…Horns is a mesmerizing page-turner.”
Orlando Sentinel
“Fire and brimstone have rarely looked so good.”
USA Today
“[Horns is] devilishly good. . . . Hill is a terrific writer with a great imagination. He has a special talent for taking us and his characters to very weird places.”
Time magazine
“On the strength of two masterly thrillers—2007’s Heart Shaped-Box and his newest Horns—Hill has emerged as one of America’s finest horror writers.”
Providence Journal-Bulletin
“This is masterful allegory as Hill proves himself…to be a compelling chronicler of human natures continual war between good and evil.”
San Francisco Chronicle
“[A] fresh, tough-minded take on what it means to make a deal with the devil and your own worst nature.”
Los Angeles Times
“HORNS is thoroughly enjoyable and often original.…a richly nuanced story. Fire and brimstone have rarely looked this good. ”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061969461
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
02/16/2010
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
416
Sales rank:
19,737
File size:
2 MB

Videos

Meet the Author

Joe Hill is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Horns, Heart-Shaped Box, and NOS4A2. He is also the Eisner Award-winning writer of a six-volume comic book series, Locke & Key. He lives in New Hampshire.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Horns 4.1 out of 5 based on 2 ratings. 517 reviews.
TDotts More than 1 year ago
The title of Joe Hill's second novel encapsulates the problem facing its main character - Horns. Ignatius "Ig" Perrish wakes up after a hard night of drinking brought on by the one-year anniversary of his girlfriend's murder. He may not have his memories, but he does have horns. Actual, bony protuberances. A trip to the hospital finds the horns aren't the only unusual thing about Ig. He has the ability to make people around him disclose their innermost thoughts, sinful fantasies and confessions of past and planned crimes. If he touches someone, he sees their sinful pasts. If he thinks about it, he can make them act on their worst desires. The first people Ig listens in on confirm one of his worst fears. Everyone believes he's guilty of murdering and raping his girlfriend, Merrin. Even his parents who just wish Ig would go away. His brother, who hosts a late-night talk show, falls under the horns' spell and tells Ig who really murdered Merrin. And all of this happens in the first fifth of the book. In a typical horror novel, Ig would embark on a quest to rid himself of the horns and seek justice. But Hill isn't a typical horror writer. Instead of rejecting the evil of the horns, Ig embraces it, finding it second nature to encourage people to act out their desires. Ig isn't a hero in the conventional sense of the word. It could be hard to root for him to succeed - usually a reader cheers for the characters fighting the devil - but traditional good and evil don't apply here. Hill doesn't take a black-and-white view of the world in Horns; it's grey streaked with darks and lights. Perhaps the question underlying the novel's events is whether evil is necessary. Where Hill hits his stride is in the extended flashbacks to younger versions of the main characters. The novel becomes a coming-of-age story where teenagers do stupid teenage things that create bonds between them lasting well into adulthood. The allure of cherry bombs sets off a chain of events that introduces Ig to Lee, who becomes his best friend and the third player in the Ig-Merrin relationship. Lee has his own issues to deal with as an adult, and the clichés a lesser author might trot out never come to pass. The characters are complicated and fully realized. Even minor characters enter with a full history. The reader has the impression Hill knows all of his characters down to what brand of toothpaste they use. Hill's talented so he doesn't feel the need to put everything he knows down on the page. It's enough he knows and uses that knowledge to inform the choices the characters make. The flashbacks can hold more attraction than the present-day pieces, but that may be because they tell the story of before Ig's life fell apart. As the horns become more important to who Ig is, the reader starts to look for signs Ig will find a way out, that good will prevail and innocence will take the day. These things happen . and they don't. Not all questions are answered by the last page. And the ones that are don't come with a nicely tied ribbon. It's inevitable Horns will be compared with Hill's first novel, Heart-shaped Box. Whether one is better than the other is a matter of personal taste. The two novels are different, with Horns coming off as a little more fantastical and requiring a little more fantastical and requiring a little more suspension of disbelief. Regardless, Horns is an enjoyable read that leaves you anxious for another Joe Hill book.
LadyHester More than 1 year ago
At first I wasn't sure I like this book or the cast of characters. However, the more I read the more intrigued I became. This story is simply so original and unique that it stands alone in the horror genre. Joe Hill is a powerful writer and close to becoming one of my favorites. This book examines the evil in everyone, especially in those we love the most and we who think love us back.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
First of all, I'd like to address those people who feel the need to tell the entire story line, paragragh after paragragh. STOP IT! It's annoying, boring, and ruins it for the rest of us. A review is supposed to be a paragraph or two describing WHY you did or did not like the book. With that being said, HORNS is one of the best books I've read in a while. Great characters, intetesting plot, and some surprising twists. Kept me interested the whole way through. I will definitely be reading more from this author!
KENH1 More than 1 year ago
After reading his short story collection, 20th Century Ghosts, you understand that Joe Hill can write anything and make it believable. And he should, since he is also Steven King's son. Horns, his second novel, is about the good and evil in all of us, about love and hate, about family and secrets, and about religion, philosophy, and revenge. The story focuses on a poor soul named Ig, who wakes up after a morning of debauchery with demonic horns on his head. They come with strange powers, and - like any gift of the devil - have consequences. As Ig learns to use the horns he is turned toward investigating the murder of his true love, Merrin, for which he was the prime suspect. You root for Ig, even as he becomes more demonic, and you loathe the villain, who is among the top creepiest you'll ever read. Horns is a great book, and Joe Hill is a major, major talent.
ClarkP More than 1 year ago
Let me get right to the point . . . Horns by Joe Hill is one of my all-time favorite books. Joe Hill really knows how to tell a story. He held my attention throughout the entire book. When you have a creative plot with realistic characters plus a talented author who can weave a story you end up with a book that is worth your hard earned money. This is a great book from a great writer. A+ for Horns by Joe Hill.
Krys_D More than 1 year ago
The premise of the book is simple enough - Ig Perrish wakes up after a terrible night of binge drinking, while grieving for his murdered sweetheart, with horns growing on his head. But don't get fooled by this premise. Yes, the story could be called simple, yet the sense of humor, character development, emotional complexity and general "fun-ness" of the book elevates it to different level. Joe Hill is a great writer and he knows dialogue like nobody's business. What I loved about this book, which I thought was better than Joe's other novel HEART-SHAPED BOX, are the characters. Despite the idea that they might have demonic or supernatural badness in them, they are also so humanly flawed and desirous of salvation. In the end, I think this is what made me like this book and Joe Hill so much. Even though he is touted as a horror writer, what sets him apart is his ability to see the redeeming qualities in people, especially when they're at their worst. Read Horns; you'll see what I mean.
jmpman44 More than 1 year ago
I have to start off by saying I'm somewhat of a "Fan-Boy." I've been a long time reader of Stephen King and fully believe he's the greatest writer of our time. When I heard that his son was a published author as well (and did it without disclosing his heritage until after the fact) I knew I had to see what he was all about. I started with Heart Shaped Box and then read 20th Century Ghosts. Both were amazing. Horns is no exception. From the very first chapter--a mere paragraph or so--Mr. Hill hooks you into wanting to keep flipping the pages, and this feeling never leaves. It's an odd story, full of some really sick and twisted characters, and Mr. Hill has no shame in putting onto the page the reality of things. Heart Shaped Box was a horror story, flat out, and a good one. Horns, doesn't seem so much as a horror story to me as it does a dark--very dark--psychological thriller with a supernatural/spiritual underbelly. It's a wild ride and it concludes with an ending that just seems perfect to have come somebody with the real last name of King.
redfury More than 1 year ago
Phenomenal. Joe Hill's ability to captivate the reader is beyond impressive. Finished this book in 2 days and I wanna read it again.
vampyre666 More than 1 year ago
The story defiantly held my interest but lacked the "WOW" factor. The characters were well developed, but somewhat one dimensional. There were some really interesting plot twists, the kind you don't see coming. Added to this tragic story was some very well done dry humor. Not much in the way of suspense, thrills or action. My biggest disappointment with this book was the ending. I expected more, something a little more satisfying. All the loose ends were tied up, but it was just not enough. A good read, off beat, sometimes disturbing and never dull. Had the ending been better, I could have easily pushed my rating to four stars.
MsKazoo More than 1 year ago
About a man who tries to do right, the world does him wrong- the wrong gets ahold of him...... it's thrilling, it's spellbinding, you want him to win! Even though the "Devil" makes him do it! It's a great book! You don't want to put it down...... He goes down an embankment behind a bunt out factory into a small lake - comes out burnt & ready for revenge- he's had enough of being the good guy, time for the devil to get his due & BOY does he! Did you know this is Steven King's son? Read his other book next, I recommend it also! BRAVO!!!
Actoranatomist More than 1 year ago
Horns is excellent. A completely original novel that truly allows you to have "sympathy for the devil." Joe Hill has definitely been inspired by his father's vision, but he is not by any means living in his shadow. Joe Hill has emerged as a horror author with his own voice, and I look forward to reading more of his horror fiction in the future.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love Joe Hill's books! He is a very talented author and I enjoyed Horns immensely!
Writingsmut More than 1 year ago
Hill's second book is a fast-paced, very rewarding read. Unlike in Heart-Shaped Box, where Hill maintained a propulsive narrative through suspense and dread, he relies instead on mystery, skillfully employing a variety of different character POVs to reveal the answers to the central mystery: who killed Merrin Williams, Ig's true love, keeping the reader turning pages nonstop to find out. With intriguing questions about the nature of evil, the bounds of love, and the dimensions of the mind and soul, Horns burns a hot fire that scorches itself on your imagination.
bdragond More than 1 year ago
I am currently 3/4 of the way through this book and totally mesmerized by this book. Blown away actually. This is my third Joe Hill read and he is now in my favorite author category. The man has a way with creepiness!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kept me going the whole time. Love Joe's style and rhythm. HIGHLY recommend this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Horns surely did keep me interested, but the plot seemed predictable to me. That may have been intended but at times it was a little annoying. I believe good books keep you reading and great books keep you guessing. Overall, I enjoyed this book even though it was hard to read at times due to its gruesome nature. As a side note, I haven't seen the movie but I was picturing Daniel Radcliffe the entire time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. Joe Hill definitely has his father's knack for wildly original stories. I couldn't put this one down and I will definitely be reading more from him. I don't want it to seem that I am comparing him as an author to his father, because his writing style is much different than Stephen King. It is the originality only that can be compared.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Liked it a lot...thought provoking and a great story
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this story, unique and creepy!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I didn't know what to expect from this book. However, I loved it. The characters were interesting, the plot entertaining, and the ending satisfying. It is hard to say much more without ruining something, but I absolutely recommend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I couldm't put this book down. A different and surprising story. Loved it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing. It was extremely reminiscent of good OLD Stephen King books (like father, like son) in that is not your typical horror with blood and guts and no substance (though it did have some blood and guts). The story line was original and well thought out. I could not put the book down. I see that Mr. Hill has written a couple with his father. I guess I will have to try those out since I have exhausted all single-author titles by Mr. Hill. Hope his collaborations are as good as he writes on his own. Please bring us more Mr. Hill!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was rivoting could not put it down i highly recommend this book. Great story. Original concept.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
good story telling. hard to guess the ending
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Deceptively deep