NOS4A2 ~ Joe Hill

  • Title: NOS4A2
  • Author: Joe Hill
  • Genre: Horror
  • Format: Kindle
  • Source: Purchased for big bucks
  • Reviewed by: Mark Matthews
  • Rating: 3.89 out of 5 stars

Description:  NOS4A2 is a spine-tingling novel of supernatural suspense from master of horror Joe Hill, the New York Times bestselling author of Heart-Shaped Box and Horns.

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.

Review:  I am a big believer that reviews are entirely subjective. That’s why I kind of hate giving them a number rating (and thus my 3.89 rating is meant to cause a glitch in this matrix).  A literary novel I rate a 4 star isn’t worse than the light-hearted or irreverent piece that I give 5 stars. They just have different intentions. It also seems reviews are skewed by expectations of the author, as well as hype over a book.

As for Joe Hill’s NOS4A2: well, with great genes come great responsibility. If I had downloaded this book as some freebie from an Indie author, I may be screeching a different tune. But I did not. In fact, I think I paid 13 dollars for the kindle version. But I did so waiting for some excellent reading.

For me, NOS4A2 was a great book, but not an excellent one. It was an excellent world, with excellent characters, and excellent parts, but of all the kindle downloads that I’ve broken my “never pay over $9.99” vow, this one is the closest I have to a regret.

That all sounds so drab! Wait. It is a smart, clever, and wonderfully blended world of horror and fantasy dripping with angst an emotion. While the book was long, I could have read another 500 pages of dialogue from Charlie Manx. I loved his voice. An unforgettable villian, and it was the best part of the book for me. I wanted to be in his head more. ‘Bing’ is the misfit character lulled by evil seen in so many of Stephen King’s novels, and was another show stealer.

However, I found myself skimming at some trite cop scenes. I found the psych ward references and obligatory AA references for the adult Victoria unconvincing. Also, the climax just didn’t give you the money shot you hoped for. I did love the denouement very much, and in fact, love the word denouement and never pass up a chance to use the word.

Joe was blessed with a birthright and cursed by it as well, since his novels will be compared and contrasted to his dad’s forever which is an impossible standard. (They say that the son bears the burdens of the father. But it’s the mother who’s left to clean up the mess.)

If this novel were part of his dad’s collection, it would be a middle of the packer.  If I had paid $4.99 and this been any other author, then I would probably rate it a 4.746 out of 5 stars.

Weird, huh. I probably shouldn’t be reviewing books at all. Come to think of it. This is my last book review ever. Explosions behind me as I walk away in slow motion  (because I needed a Denouement.)