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That's What She Read

Horns: A Novel

Horns - Joe Hill For those readers who enjoyed Joe Hill's Heart-Shaped Box, Horns is just as enjoyable, although it evokes an entirely different form of fear than his first novel. Make no mistake, it remains an intense psychological thriller, but the ghosts going bump in the night are different, more realistic and frankly, more interesting than scary. Rather than facing murderous ghosts, this time around the bad guys are more mental, more personal.Make no mistake, Ig is not presented in the most sympathetic of lights. Yet, given everything he has faced and everything he discovers, the reader cannot help but cheer him on as he discovers his strength of character and finally faces his torturers. For, tortured Ig definitely is. He not only faces the withdrawal of friends and family members, he faces his own self-disgust at his own inaction after Merrin's death.In a cruel twist of fate, Ig's new horns and attached powers inform Ig that he is not the only one suffering on the inside. Everyone has a demon or two (or three) inside that s/he keeps hidden or negates through self-control. Frankly put, one never knows what is truly going on inside someone else. The question then remains, just what is supposed to happen if or when those secrets are learned by someone else?Ig's fall from grace, if you will, presents an intense theological debate on suffering and the different degrees and/or forms of evil. Does one's thoughts make them evil? If a person never acts on evil intentions, does that make him or her evil by default? Why does a Higher Power, no matter what form it takes, allow us to suffer such depths of despair? Questions of this ilk abound throughout the novel, with Mr. Hill presenting his opinions while leaving room for each reader to form his or her own.As Ig discovers through the learning curve associated with using his new powers, what happens when one discovers a person's true nature? Horns is a fascinating answer to that question, while raising many additional questions the reader must answer. The result is a novel that scares with the possibilities of truth rather than from spooky creatures or other, more conventional scare tactics.