My New Author Crush: Joe Hill

I don’t like the genre of horror. I said this before in my post on Horns. …Or maybe I do. Joe Hill, have you changed my taste in literature? Just when I thought I knew what I liked.

Let me backtrack. I read Joe Hill’s second published novel Horns at the beginning of this year because I wanted to watch the movie and refused to watch it without reading the book first. Plus, my good friend was also reading it. Score! Someone to talk to about the book almost always persuades me to read something. I loved Horns! It was so clever and deep and masterfully constructed. This was my first encounter with Joe Hill, and I couldn’t wait to read his other published novels, Heart-Shaped Box and NOS4A2.

heartshapedbox

I just finished reading Heart-Shaped Box, his first published novel, and thoroughly enjoyed this gripping ghost story. It gave me chills with its subtleties. It kept me rooting for the protagonist. It was a grown-up ghost story that focused on the nuances of human relationships rather than solely the macabre. While I did see the big reveal coming, I was still engrossed with the novel. I would definitely recommend this book if you’re looking for a good ghost story that may make you turn on just another light at night and wonder what your dog is staring at. Seriously, Bella, why do you keep looking at that one spot? There’s nothing there. Stop freaking me out!

NOS4A2_cover

After you read this, I would also recommend searching images for it. There’s some great fan art for this book.

I finished NOS4A2, Hill’s third published novel and biggest book clocking in at 686 pages, at the beginning of last week, and it was worth every page. I was impressed with how seamlessly Hill blended the fantastic with the mundane in a way that made it believable. The baddies in the book were truly horrific, but you could see how they thought they were actually doing something good (a fact for so many “bad guys”). Perhaps their belief that they were actually being altruistic was the thing that creeped me out the most. The protagonist was flawed wretchedly, and yet I still found myself cheering her on, hoping she would find what she needed. Every page contributed to the plot, and even though I did whine about having to read so much (I still had four library books waiting for me to read them at that point), I could not tell you what should have been cut. As twisted and gruesome as the world of NOS4A2 was, I actually enjoyed living there for a while. I immersed myself in that book, and I was glad to still have another Joe Hill novel to read after completing it.

So yeah, I guess I like horror now. Or at least Joe Hill’s horror. I would highly recommend both of these books, along with Horns, and while I haven’t read it yet, Hill’s collection of short stories entitled 20th Century Ghosts is probably worth a gander as well. Enjoy and maybe turn on an extra light…

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