Horns – Joe Hill

Ignatius Perrish spent the night drunk and doing terrible things. He woke up the next morning with a pair of horns growing from his temples.

At first, Ig thought the horns were a hallucination, the product of a mind damaged by rage and grief. He had spent the last year in a lonely, private purgatory, following the death of his beloved, Merrin Williams, who had been raped and murdered under inexplicable circumstances. A mental breakdown would have been the most natural thing in the world. But there was nothing natural about the horns, which were all too real.

Once, the righteous Ig had enjoyed the life of the blessed. But Merrin's death damned all that. The only suspect in the crime, Ig was never charged or tried. And he was never cleared. Nothing Ig can do or say matters. Everyone it seems, including God, has abandoned him. Everyone that is, but the devil inside. . . .
Now Ig is possessed of a terrible new power—a macabre talent he intends to use to find the monster who killed Merrin and destroyed his life. It's time for a little revenge . . . it's time the devil had his due . . .
Genre: Fiction, Horror
Publisher: Orion
Year: 2011
Rating: 5/5

I was lucky enough to win a signed copy of this book through the publisher, and I am so glad I did! Horns follows the story of Ig Parish after he wakes up one morning with horns growing out of his head. 

This is a bit surprising at first, to say the least, but soon Ig finds out that his horns come with special powers. Powers that make those around him want to tell him the truth.... to divulge their deepest, darkest, secrets. 

Soon Ig finds himself on a journey of discovery... a journey which will take him straight to his girlfriend's murderer. A journey that will allow him the one thing he has been wanting for a long time... revenge. 

If anyone deserves revenge for Merrin's brutal death, it's Ig. Not only did he lose his girlfriend, but he was framed for her murder. That is enough to tick anyone off. 

Especially since he "got away with it", so to speak. Due to lost evidence, Ig walked free. Unfortunately that means little to the town folk, or even Ig's family. Suspicion and guilt are all prevalent in this town, and Ig suffers for it.

One thing I liked about this novel was the flashbacks. Normally, I am not a fan of flashbacks. I find them confusing and annoying. In this case, Hill did a perfect job of fleshing out the characters and building the story by looking back at how Ig and Merrin met, their relationship with Lee Tourneau, the rise in fame of Ig's brother, Terry and the events that culminated in Merrin's death.

Like his father, Stephen King, Joe Hill has learned the craft of characterisation. To me, that is what makes or breaks a novel. In this case, it made it. Big time. 

Hill did a great job of bringing small town America to life (well, from what I understand it to be, if you can trust movies and literature), and he created some unforgettable characters. 

The mystery of "whodunit" was interesting, but a little easy to guess. I think this was done on purpose though, we kind of get a feeling from the beginning of there being "something not quite right" about a certain someone, so it makes sense they turn out to be a super-crazy-killer. 

This novel is well worth the read if you love a good horror story. Hats off, Mr Hill. You are going to have a long and successful career. Talent sure does run in the family.

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