Having recently discovered Joe Hill, through his debut novel ‘Heart Shaped Box’ which I hugely enjoyed (see review here), I was eager to take up his next offering ‘Horns’ and see what it was all about.
The front cover looked very generic (for a horror novel, anyway) but the back cover blurb sounded intriguing. It read:
Merrin Williams is dead, slaughtered under inexplicable circumstances, leaving her beloved boyfriend Ignatius Perrish as the only suspect. On the first anniversary of Merrin’s murder, Ig spends the night drunk and doing awful things. When he wakes the next morning he has a thunderous hangover . . . and horns growing from his temples. Ig possesses a terrible new power to go with his terrible new look—a macabre gift he intends to use to find the monster who killed his lover. Being good and praying for the best got him nowhere. Now it’s time for revenge . It’s time the devil had his due. . . .
The first 100 pages or so were fresh, entertaining and extremely enjoyable. So much so, that my (already high) expectations for the novel increased exponentially. Then, unfortunately, the whole thing started unraveling. The writing remained ok (& the flashbacks and changes in POV kept things interesting) but the plot started withering.
By the end of the book, instead of getting the horrifying, climactic finale that the story premise literally promised, what you were left with was a weak wrap up to the tale – with a subdued (& to be honest slightly inane) disposal of the bad guys and a nebulous conclusion to the main character’s storyline.
Maybe it’s just me but I think Hill can do so much better (I’ve seen it before – and hope to see it again in my next TBR item ‘NOS4R2’). ‘Horns’ just doesn’t seem to do him much justice…
Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
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