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Mr. Mercedes
Stephen King
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Lawrence Block

Horns

Horns - Joe Hill Ig awakens following a night of drunken debauchery with a throbbing headache. A trip to the bathroom and a glance in the mirror reveals that he has amazingly sprouted a pair of horns.

This is coming off a tragic turn of events the previous year in which his girlfriend was found raped and murdered. Unfortunately, all the evidence that could have cleared him had been destroyed. So without a way to prove his innocence, the entire town is convinced he’s the culprit.

We soon find out that these horns are not just decorative; they bring to Ig a strange new ability that compels people to confess their true thoughts and their darkest desires.

I’m going to begin this review by saying that the first 10 chapters of this book are simply amazing. Never before had I felt so many emotions for a character – and that includes the constant anxiety and helplessness I felt while reading The Road. That being said, I’m not in any way stating that what follows them is of lesser quality; the book is quite the experience – it’s just those first few chapters are agonizing.

That fact that Ig is genuinely a nice guy is what rips your heart out. Hearing all the townspeople hold nothing back when verbally tearing him apart can be heartbreaking. Joe Hill refuses to give you any time to digest each tirade as the one that follows turns out to be far worse than the last.

Last year, I read a book entitled A Ticket to the Boneyard by Lawrence Block and at the time, I was convinced I had discovered the most frightening literary villain yet. In Joe Hill’s Horns, I was introduced to a character so disgusting that he gives James Leo Motley a run for his money - which I didn't think was possible. That's about all I'm prepared to say on that, you'll just have to read it.

While it's not always possible, there are some situations out there where people have shown that talent can sometimes be inherited. I can't speak for Hill's other work (I hope to change that soon) but with Horns, he at least shows that he has the talent to be a great storyteller like his father.

I sincerely loved this book. It’s easily an early contender for favourite of 2012 (yes, I know it’s only January but I was pretty impressed) and has earned a spot on my coveted favorites shelf.