This month's review is for NOS4A2 by Joe Hill.
When someone asked me what this book was like, I said "It's like reading Stephen King without all the nonsense." That is the only comparison I will be making between King and Hill. (For those of you who may not know, Joe Hill is Stephen King's son.)
A really shortened blurb from Amazon:
Victoria McQueen has an uncanny knack for finding lost things. When she rides her bicycle over an old covered bridge near her home she always emerges in the places she needs to be.
Charles Talent Manx has a gift of his own. He likes to take children for rides in his antique car. He and his young guests can slip out of the everyday world and into place he calls Christmasland.
One day Vic goes looking for trouble and finds her way to Charlie Manx. Now the only child to ever escape from Manx is all grown up, but Charles never stopped thinking about Vic. Now he's back on the road with a new passenger: Vic's own son
I was a little unsure about picking this one up. I had tried to read Heart Shaped Box a couple of years ago, and I just couldn't get into it. It might have just been me, but that one didn't seem to be very well put together.
But NOS4A2 blows Heart Shaped Box away. It's a great story, and the characters are wonderfully created. Vic McQueen is a flawed and sometimes unlikeable character, but still a character that I felt an affinity for. Her talent has broken her and she spends much of her adult life self-destructing, but once Charlie Manx kidnaps her son she goes full-on mama bear. It's great to read.
There's not a huge amount of gore, but plenty of unsettling images, and (to a parent) ideas. Horror that makes you think about your own life is so much worse than blood and dismembered body parts, so Joe Hill does a great job there.
My only real criticism is that it's a little long, but for the most part it's quick reading. So maybe it's not a real criticism. Usually with overlong books I find myself skimming sections, but I didn't do that here.
So 4 out of 5 kittens for this one.