Victoria McQueen has a secret gift for finding things: a misplaced bracelet, a missing photograph, answers to unanswerable questions. On her Raleigh Tuff Burner bike, she makes her way to a rickety covered bridge that, within moments, takes her wherever she needs to go, whether it’s across Massachusetts or across the country.
Charles Talent Manx has a way with children. He likes to take them for rides in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith with the NOS4A2 vanity plate. With his old car, he can slip right out of the everyday world, and onto the hidden roads that transport them to an astonishing – and terrifying – playground of amusements he calls “Christmasland.”
Then, one day, Vic goes looking for trouble—and finds Manx. That was a lifetime ago. Now Vic, the only kid to ever escape Manx’s unmitigated evil, is all grown up and desperate to forget. But Charlie Manx never stopped thinking about Victoria McQueen. He’s on the road again and he’s picked up a new passenger: Vic’s own son.
I feel like I am WAY behind the ball on finding Joe Hill. As you all know, I am an audio book junkie. One day, I hopped out to Audible to find something new to listen to and one of my recommendations was a book titled NOS4A2. My first thought was clever title (for those who are somehow missing it, it’s a license plate representation of the word nosferatu). Well, as a long time lover of vampire fiction, I couldn’t not grab it.
Weeks went by with it sitting in my library. At the time, I was wrapping up listening to a series I had been hooked on and when I was done, something else I was waiting on had come out, and NOS4A2 got pushed to the back of the line yet again.
Then I got an email. River Run Book Store in Portsmouth NH was having an in-store event with author Joe Hill. There it was, NOS4A2, staring back at me again. I bought a pair of tickets and a few weeks later, my friend Jessilyn and I made the road trip to meet this Joe Hill.
At the time of buying the tickets, I didn’t know this, but Joe Hill is Stephen King’s son. Yes, that Stephen King. You know, the author I WORSHIP as a writer. So, yes, cool, but he wasn’t Stephen himself.
At the time, I was also listening to the audio book for Doctor Sleep, the 36-years-coming sequel to The Shining. Imagine my surprise when I went to the meet-n-greet/signing with Joe Hill to hear things I was familiar with – Charlie Manx and Christmasland among them. Turns out, there are some tie-ins between Doctor Sleep and NOS4A2.
That was it. With how much I loved Doctor Sleep, I had to read this book. I got a copy of NOS4A2 signed and got to meet Joe. He was super nice and funny as hell. As an added bonus, I also got to meet Christopher Golden that night, an author I have been a fan of for YEARS. We sang fucked up Christmas carols (you have no idea….) and did a lot of laughing. It was a pretty incredible night and a memory which will always make me smile.
So, I started listening to NOS4A2 the next day at work….and I was blown away.
What I Liked:
OMG, I dont even know where to start. As I said, Joe Hill is Stephen King’s son, and apparently, that is a gene pool to be ENVIED. Although his style is a little different than his father’s, you can definitely feel the influence. Even with how dark the majority of SK’s body of work is, Joe has got him beat, I think. Joe Hill has a seriously twisted imagination and I think I might be a little bit in love.
NOS4A2 is a super-duper creepy story, a story which will, at times, leave you with a serious case of goosebumps. It’s been a long time since I have read a character I was genuinely afraid of, and Charlie Manx is a dude I would not want living in our world.
He’s……he’s…….omg, I cant even think of a word with the power to properly convey just what a fucked up package of psycopathy goodness Charlie Manx is. Trust me, if you like dark fantasy and have a thing for really well-written villains, NOS4A2 is for you.
The story itself is a work of art. It’s well-woven and never moves slowly. I did something with this book which I almost never do. I read some of the reviews before reading it, both good and bad. I have to say, I respectfully disagree with all the folks out there who claimed it was slow or got weird too fast, and I have to believe you’re probably attempting to read the book while your head is firmly implanted up your ass because that is the only logical explanation for why one would think those things about this book. Does it get weird early? Yes, and it’s shocking because it’s not like every other book on the market. NOS4A2 doesn’t make you sit through eighteen chapters of world building before something exciting happens. You get a small glimpse of the normal and then you’re violently shoved into the world of the not-so-normal. I fucking loved it.
What I Didn’t Like:
Nothing. Zip. Zero. Nada. Zilch. Absofuckinlutely nothing. This book is brilliant from cover to cover.
Who I Would Recommend It To:
EVERYONE. lol If you’re a fan of DARK sci-fi/fantasy, paranormal anything, and/or horror, you MUST read NOS4A2. It’s flawlessly written, creepy as hell, and kind of leaves you wanting more.
Now that I have had a taste of his writing ability, I cant wait to read more Joe Hill titles. I just may have found a new favorite author. 😉
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