4.4 282
by Joe Hill, Kate Mulgrew

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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.

Victoria McQueen has a knack for finding things.

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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.

Victoria McQueen has a knack for finding things. Riding her bicycle through an old covered bridge, she always emerges where she needs to be. But Vic doesn’t tell anyone about her unusual ability—no one would believe her.

Charles Talent Manx has a gift of his own. He takes children for rides in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith, and they slip away to an astonishing playground he calls Christmasland. But the journey through 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 Charlie.

That was a lifetime ago. Now, the only kid ever to escape
Manx’s unmitigated evil is all grown up and desperate to forget. But Charlie
Manx is on the road again, and he won’t slow down until he’s taken his revenge.
As a life-and-death battle builds—her magic pitted against his—Vic McQueen prepares to destroy Manx once and for all.

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.” 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.”
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.”
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.”
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."
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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Product Details

Blackstone Audio, Inc.
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Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 5.90(h) x 1.90(d)

Meet the Author

Kate Mulgrew is an accomplished film and television actress, most noted for her lead role as Captain Kathryn Janeway on Star Trek: Voyager. Other television credits include Ryan’s Hope, Murphy Brown, Cheers, and the Netflix original series Orange Is the New Black. She has won numerous awards for her performances, including an Obie Award, Golden Satellite Award, Saturn Award, and a Golden Globe nomination.

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