4.4 278
by Joe Hill

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Joe Hill, the acclaimed, award-winning author of the New York Times bestsellers 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

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Joe Hill, the acclaimed, award-winning author of the New York Times bestsellers 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.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times - Janet Maslin
…throat-grabbing…Mr. Hill envisions an epic battle between real and imaginary worlds, makes this fight credible and creates a heroine who can recklessly crash from one realm to the other…NOS4A2 is full of chills and cliffhangers, but it never turns needlessly grotesque.
The Washington Post - Bill Sheehan
…horror fiction at its most ambitious…A road novel, a horror novel and—most centrally—a novel of character, NOS4A2 is a substantial accomplishment, and it marks Hill…as a major force—perhaps the major force—among the younger generation of horror writers. Like the best of its dark breed, it offers visceral narrative pleasures while never losing sight of the human element that lies just below the extravagantly imagined surface. The result is a frightening, ultimately moving novel that speaks directly to the plight of abducted children. At the same time, it presents a deeply empathetic portrait of a damaged woman struggling to recover her lost, best self.
Publishers Weekly
Reviewed by Joe R. Lansdale. Horror is too simplistic a word for Joe Hill’s new novel, but there’s no denying it makes the skin crawl like a worm on a hot rock. It’s as much fantasy-thriller as a descent into the maelstrom, but no matter how you label it, what makes it work best is that it is a novel of well-defined characters, and one character in particular: the Brat, real name Victoria McQueen. Victoria discovers she has a knack. She can find lost things. She does this by concentrating on the object and riding her bike, a Raleigh Tuff Burner. While on board her metal and rubber-tired steed, she is subtly carried away into a world that seems as real as her own. It is accessed by the Shorter Way Bridge and is a place where all things lost that Vic seeks are found. When she crosses back into our world with the found object, the bridge ceases to exist, at least until she sets her mind to a new search and starts across once again on her trusty machine. It’s an amazing talent but it has a price, both physical and emotional. Vic doesn’t understand her abilities, but as she gets older she comes across someone she thinks can explain them to her—a woman with a bag of Scrabble game tiles through which she divines answers, reminiscent of an ancient soothsayer prowling through animal guts and rattling human knuckle bones. Vic finds her revelations less than reassuring, and it looks as if she may be in for some harrowing moments, which, of course, is what we are all hoping for as readers. In contrast to Vic, whose intentions are good, is Charles Manx, and if that last name doesn’t clue you in that he’s the villain of this piece, then the car he drives will: a 1938 Rolls Royce Wraith with a license plate reading NOS4A2. He arrives in our world out of a place called Christmasland, a phantasmagoric amusement park full of dark possibilities and, in spite of its child-pleasing title, containing about as much light and happiness as a concentration camp at midnight. Like Dracula, Manx has his Renfield—Bing Partridge, a pathetic gas-mask-wearing follower looking for validation and love; a sad creature sticking himself tight to someone more powerful than himself and his personal role model for evil. Manx, Bing, and Vic cross paths, as one would expect, and it’s a dynamic collision with an echo that reverberates through the years and sets all three up for a new and even more frightening encounter that makes the first one look like a child’s birthday party. Joe Hill’s NOS4A2 is a brilliant exploration of classic and modern monsters and dark fantasies, all cut up, restitched and retooled, sliding you along as if you’re cruising way too fast in a rusty old Cadillac down a dark, twisty road with no lights, bald tires, and no hands on the wheel. Watch out for the pot holes. They’re deep. With this novel, riveting from beginning to end, Joe Hill has become a master of his craft. Joe R. Lansdale is the author of 30 novels and numerous short stories. His most recent novel is Edge of Dark Water from Mulholland Books
Booklist (starred review) on NOS4A2
“[An] undeniably readable work.”
The Sun Herald (Sydney)
"[A] new take on the fantasy-horror genre...Highly recommended."
(Editor's Choice) - New York Times Book Review
"[An] inventive collection . . . brave and astute."
The Sun Herald (Sydney))
"[A] new take on the fantasy-horror genre...Highly recommended."
Michael Koryta
“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.”
The Sun Herald (Sydney
“[A] new take on the fantasy-horror genre...Highly recommended.”
Village Voice
“[A] lovely, earnest collection of short fiction.”
New York Times Book Review (Editor's Choice)
“[An] inventive collection . . . brave and astute.”
Cleveland Plain Dealer
“NOS4A2 will pull you in from the first pages, and draw you away from your other responsibilities.”
New York Times Book Review on NOS4A2
“Hill’s imagination is...far-ranging....NOS4A2 is full of chills and cliffhangers.”
The Globe and Mail on NOS4A2
“[Hill’s] sentences crackle with wit and understated craftsmanship – the kind so skillful it is only visible if you’re paying attention.”
No Source
“Joe Hills NOS4A2 is one of the creepiest books I've read in a long time—and I mean that in a good way.”
USA Today
“Like any good novel, no matter the genre, NOS4A2 zips down the streets of its mesmerizing story line not just in the Wraith but also, and more importantly, on the backs of high-octane characters...Hill imbues the pitter-patter of little feet with a terror you won’t soon forget.”
Lev Grossman
“NOS4A2 is a masterwork of horror.” on NOS4A2
“Read it with the lights on and your children locked in a closet.”
Tampa Bay Times on NOS4A2
“Joe Hills NOS4A2 is one of the creepiest books I’ve read in a long time—and I mean that in a good way.”
Richmond Times-Dispatch on NOS4A2
“Hill’s well-stocked bag of narrative tricks keeps the pages moving at a steady clip, and his characters are sufficiently melodramatic to make the book’s scale feel both intimate and operatic. In fact, if you’re an impressionable reader, stick to reading ‘NOS4A2’ during the day. ”
Fort Worth Star-Telegram on NOS4A2
“Words of warning for those who pick up this hefty, 704-page saga: You’ll never listen to Christmas carols the same way. Or sleep with the lights off.”
St Louis Today on NOS4A2
“NOS4A2 and its story of a heroic biker chic going up against an old vampire should grab you by the lapels and give y ou a few good shakes before setting its hooks in—and deep....Hill...puts together a riveting tale.”
Writer's Digest on NOS4A2
“Joe Hill can terrify. he can humor. He can sadden. He can shock. His characters are deep and vibrant, his plots mesmerizing, his prose genuine. Simply put, he’s a damn good writer.”
Seattle Times
“NOS4A2 is [Hill’s] longest and most ambitious work yet. . . utterly absorbing.”
New York Times on NOS4A2
“Hill’s imagination is...far-ranging....NOS4A2 is full of chills and cliffhangers.”
Booklist on NOS4A2
“[An] undeniably readable work.”
Library Journal
What child wouldn't want to live in a place where it's Christmas every day? Where life is hot cocoa, gingerbread, gifts, and amusement park rides? Every year, Charlie Manx takes one or two "special" children in his vintage Rolls Royce (license plate reads "NOS4A2") to Christmasland, a place that can't be found on any conventional map, where they get to experience the joy of Christmas morning every day and never grow up. But underneath the pretty wrapping paper, Christmasland is not all that it seems. Vic McQueen can also travel to places that most people don't know exist, and at age 17, she attempts to put a stop to Manx's trips to Christmasland. Years later when Manx resurfaces and kidnaps her son, Vic will risk everything to rescue her son and put an end to Christmasland once and for all. VERDICT While the title is misleading since the book is not really about vampires, Hill (Heart-Shaped Box; Horns) has created characters in Charlie Manx and Vic McQueen that are comparable to those of other horror juggernauts such as Peter Straub and Hill's dad, Stephen King. Fascinating and utterly engaging, this novel is sure to leave readers wanting more. One thing is certain, however. After reading this book, readers will never hear Christmas carols in quite the same way again. [See Prepub Alert, 11/12/12.]—Elisabeth Clark, West Florida P.L., Pensacola
Kirkus Reviews
A good-natured romp in the garden of good and evil--or, as rising horror/fantasy maven Hill (Heart-Shaped Box, 2007, etc.) has it, Christmasland. If you remember Stephen King's It or, heck, "The Pied Piper of Hamelin," you'll remember that there are few setups creepier than a dude with shiny toys luring children to their doom. It gets creepier still when Santa Claus has "gaping jaws," and a supernatural harpy comes equipped with ornaments that "dangled from her pierced breasts"--why, it's enough to put a person off Christmas forever. The author of all this mayhem (and Hill is so skillful that we don't know till the very end whether he'll get away with it) is a mysterious but charming hellion named Charles Talent Manx, who likes nothing better than to take the local youth for a one-way spin in a Rolls-Royce Wraith bearing the easily deciphered license plate that is the novel's title. Can anyone stop his infernal joy riding? Maybe, just maybe, and it makes perfect sense that it's a steampunk-ish young woman who patrols the Massachusetts landscape on a Raleigh bike. Though there are King-ian shades--the underworld setup, the possessed car, the cool chick--Hill's story is quite original, and, for horror fans of a certain ironic bent, it's an unqualified delight, well-written and, within limits, believable. It's also quite gruesome in spots ("The Gasmask Man was in two pieces, connected by a single fatty string of gut") and altogether quite scary, all of which adds up to a successful exercise in spookiness. Bonus points for being smart and having a young woman as a heroine who doesn't need saving herself. Fun for all ages, though maybe with a PG warning.

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NOS4A2 4.4 out of 5 based on 2 ratings. 278 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The end of certain chapters are purposely left as unfinished sentences because the title of the next chapter finishes the sentence which isn't hard to figure out if you're actually paying attention to what you're reading. However there is missing artwork that can be found in the print edition and not the ebook. Its absence doesn't take too much away from this amazing story. Filled with action, terror, humor and heart this is a fantastic supernatural journey from a master storyteller. Be warned though, you will never look at Christmas the same away again after reading this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am reading this book as an ARC. Simply put this novel is terrifying! Well done Joe Hill.
dsmCO More than 1 year ago
The best release ever for this author. Instantly grabs you in the first paragraph and does not let you go. The story is very well crafted with tight characterization and brilliant storytelling. Should be an award winner.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The formatting is fine. Chapters end with "unfinished" sentences that are concluded by the title of the next chapter. You are supposed to turn the page and keep reading.
sal79parody More than 1 year ago
4.25 stars. Well, I really wanted to give this novel five stars, but I just can't. There is so much to like here: the characters are memorable, the horror is creepy, and it's a cool story. But a few flaws take away from what could have been a masterpiece. The novel centers on Vic, a girl who uses her bike to ride through the "inscapes" of her mind and find lost things and go strange places. She winds up in Christmasland, the home of Charles Talent Manx, who is a notorious child abductor and owns a Rolls-Royce Wraith with license plates that read NOS4A2, short for Nosferatu. In Manx's inscape, Christmas ornaments hang in the pines and firs near his home, Christmas Carols play continuously, and children -his victims- are turned into what amounts to soulless demons. Vic is haunted throughout life by her encounter with Manx, and isn't able to function as a mother or would-be wife. She convinces herself the "inscapes" never happened, that it was all a delusion, but then weird things start happening, like Manx's body disappearing; like a girl Vic had met in her childhood delusions showing up at her door and telling her Manx has escaped from a hospital, despite the fact he's dead. Thus begins Vic's showdown with Manx, which takes up the rest of the novel. Everything in this novel is excellent but for a few things that began to grate on me after a while. One, it's obvious Hill set out to write a very long novel, and it becomes clear after a while that pages are padded out just for length. Second, and most of all, Charles Manx comes off much more cartoonish than scary in the second half of the book, which dilutes the tension and takes away from the horror the reader is supposed to be experiencing. Additionally, the padded length makes scenes that should be intense feel flabby and bloated during the climax. Still, this is a very fun horror novel with many dark themes, and is worth the ride. I'm really looking forward to Hill's next one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very good. For those concerned, the chapters don't end mid sentence exactly. They continue onto the title of the next page. A bit awkward, but not a mistake or corruption.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For horror to really work, you have to care about the characters, and Joe Hill created a stellar set of characters in NOS4A2. I laughed, cried, held my breath, grimaced & cringed, and twisted my hair out during this 700page gem. I am so sad it's over for me, but, wow, what a ride!
rbeier1221 More than 1 year ago
They say don't judge a book by it's cover, but I will admit seeing the cover of this book, with the spelling of the title as it were, is what first drew me to this book. I was looking for something new and a new author and eventually I decided on this one. I was not disappointed. Very well paced and dark Joe Hill has certainly shown himself to be a talented writer. The characters truly come to life in this story and I am finding it hard to put this one down. If you are a fan of Stephen King (yes, they are related I know) and Koontz you will surely enjoy this one. Hill stands on his own as a great horror/dark fantasy writer. Oh, and not to kick a dead horse, but nothing was misprinted or left off of any editions. The trailing off was done intentionally and it is quite apparent the title of the next chapter flows with the 'cut off' sentence. and anyway, giving a book a 1 star review based on anything B&N did or did not do is ridiculous. This is about the book, not the website.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
...are not cut off. It is intentional. Go back and read again and you will see they segue into the next chapter's title and then continue the story. Excellent read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent book by Joe Hill. I have really enjoyed his previous books, but this one puts him on another level. The characters are well developed, the story fast-paced and hooks you from the first page. Extremely original as far as horror novels go, particularly vampire novels. Highly recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Heart Shaped Box and Horns were excellent, but NOS4A2 is on a whole different level. I can't wait to see what's coming next from Joe Hill!
AJAR More than 1 year ago
Joe Hill has done it again!!! ( son of Stephen King ) He has now made his own mark in fiction writing.  Simply the best read of the summer. Have 2 days ready to read this book of 700 pages, you will NOT be able to put down for very long! Thank you Joe! Your now right up there with the big boys!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is awesome. The chapters cutting off at the end like that is on purpose. It shows how the characters are jumping from one spot to the next. The chapter name following the previous chapter name finishes the previous chapters sentence. Know what you are talking about before you say a company is unprofessional
booksandwine More than 1 year ago
NOS4A2 ( nosferatu) is a crazy creepy Christmastime thriller from Joe Hill. It's a dark journey for young Vic as she travels between two worlds via her bike. Manx is a maniacal nutcase that keeps kids locked up at Christmas land. Vic is on a mission to end his wickedness. Contrary to some of the reviews, the chapters look like they are cut off, but in fact they are continued and completed with the chapter title on the next page. It's just more of the creative genius from Joe Hill. .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dark and gripping. Already anxiously awaiting a new novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its meant to be that way. When the chapter ends you can pick up the last few words of the sentence on the next page in the title of the chapter.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don't even know what to say except it was a scary thrill ride on every page. Highly recommend.
bookworm_451 More than 1 year ago
Joe Hill has earned his place on my favorites shelf with this one. Wonderfully creepy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I agree with a lot of the positive reviews I have read. The book is exciting, suspenseful, full of great characters, and seems like it was written by Joe's father himself. The book is about 100 pages too long in my opinion, as the story could have been moved on a bit faster toward the middle of the book. But I tried to read this every time I had a spare moment and as much as I wasn't super happy about the ending, I enjoyed the story overall very much.
lslvsmickey More than 1 year ago
Great read, loved that the story took place in areas I grew up in. I haven't read a book in a long time that gave me the chills; this did! Another fine example that a mom - whatever kind of mom she is - will fight to the end for her child.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing...I couldn't stop reading it. It scares you, makes you laugh, and makes you want to cry. I hated and loved Vic at the same time. The characters are what you are looking for to read in a book. I immediately bought Horns and Heart Shaped Box. Hated to see it end!
SoCal_Reader More than 1 year ago
Being a big fan of Joe Hill, I looked forward to the release of this novel for a while. It was every bit as entertaining as I expected it to be. The characters and situations are very contemporary, but the battle between good and evil is age-old. You really have to let your imagination carry you away with this one, but that's what makes fantasy fiction work. Despite all the twists and turns of time and space, of human hearts and souls, in the end, if asked, I'd say the story is about parents and their children.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book will grab you like a hook in the face, and drag you screaming into the dark inscape of Christmasland, and won't let go until you've turned the last page-and then you'll beg for Joe Hill to take you on the next ride...Kudos to the author for writing a book I will read several more times in the future!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Joe Hill out did himelf with this novel. I was totally captivated from the start! This book took me on a wild, engaging, imaginative ride! Fun read:-)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Joe Hill mastered this one. Kept me wondering till the end.