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 was 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: born into privilege, the second son of a renowned musician and younger brother of a rising late-night TV star, he had security, wealth, and a place in his community. Ig had it all, and more—he had Merrin and a love founded on shared daydreams, mutual daring, and unlikely midsummer magic.
But Merrin's death damned all that. The only suspect in the crime, Ig was never charged or tried. And he was never cleared. In the court of public opinion in Gideon, New Hampshire, Ig is and always will be guilty because his rich and connected parents pulled strings to make the investigation go away. Nothing Ig can do, nothing he can 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 to go with his terrible new look—a macabre talent he intends to use to find the monster who killed Merrin and destroyed his life. Being good and praying for the best got him nowhere. It's time for a little revenge. . . . It's time the devil had his due. . .
**Before I start my review of this book, I just want to make it clear that this is not a young adult book, and is intended for mature adults. Joe Hill is Stephen King's son, and this book reads much like a SK book with a ton of vulgarity, and sexual situations. While I try to keep my books mostly YA, I know I have may fans who are of legal age and enjoy paranormal reads outside of the genre. Granted I was reading Stephen King by 10, but still...**
I really wanted to like this book, especially knowing it was recently made into a movie starring Daniel Radcliffe. The beginning started out strong with a great premise, and I could've sworn I was reading a book written by the author's father. But before long, I discovered Joe Hill's story telling skills aren't as masterful as it failed to keep my interest. The concept of waking with a pair of horns was pushed to the side as the protagonist went into hiding, and reflected on events of the past. Mid-way through I considered shelving it since I really didn't care what happened to any of the characters.
Still, I continued to plow through, knowing the story must have some redeeming qualities if it was opted for the big screen. I kept hoping to be surprised by some genius twist that never came. The ending didn't do much for me, and was actually rather predictable. The story jumps around from present to past so many times, it made my head spin. Maybe if we had first heard Ig's whole story before he woke with horns, it would've been more engaging. But the book was divided into more of a horror story in the beginning, morphing into a murder mystery toward the end.
Sadly, I feel this one only earned three zombies. I still may give Joe Hill another chance, because I hear good things.
Joseph Hillstrom King (born 1972) is an American writer of fiction, writing under the pen name of Joe Hill. Hill is the the second child of authors Stephen King and Tabitha King. His younger brother Owen King is also a writer. He has three children. Hill chose to use an abbreviated form of his given name (a reference to executed labor leader Joe Hill, for whom he was named) in 1997, out of a desire to succeed based solely on his own merits instead of as the son of Stephen King. After achieving a degree of independent success, Hill publicly confirmed his identity in 2007 after an article the previous year in Variety broke his cover (although online speculation about Hill's family background had been appearing since 2005).