Horns by Joe Hill
Published by William Morrow on March 1st 2010
Genres: Fiction, Horror
Ignatius Perrish spent the night drunk and doing terrible things. He woke up the next morning with a thunderous hangover, a raging headache, and a pair of horns growing from his temples.
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...
Horns follows the third-person point of view of Ig Perrish whose girlfriend, Merrin, was raped and killed. Ig was never charged, but most of the people where he lives seem to believe he did it. When Ig develops the horns, he finds that touching people will show him terrible things they have done, and he can often persuade people to do bad or dark things. In all, though, Ig is not a bad guy. It’s interesting to see him manifest physically into the devil because there are still so many aspects of his personality that do not match up. Yes, he is capable of bad things. Yes, he does carry out some of these wishes. At the same time, he cares about people. He gets his feelings hurt, especially learning people’s dark secrets concerning him.
Horns allows you to see back in time, to learn how Ig grew up, and how he and Merrin met and fell in love. It also gives you background information about other characters that is very much necessary for the story. Horns is difficult to talk about because everyone has a secret. I will tell you that the mystery of Merrin’s death does not remain a secret for too long; at least concerning who killed her that night. From there, it is a dark path that Ig takes in terms of learning the truth and figuring out just what he wants to do with that power.
Finally, for those that are not aware, Joe Hill is the son of Stephen King. I tell you this in case you are a fan of King’s and it helps you become more interested in Joe Hill’s work. As of now, I have read one book by Hill and two by King, but to be honest, I’m far more interested in reading more by Hill than King. Horns is the perfect book to read in the month of October, and it’s not only one of my favorite ‘horror’ novels, but one of my favorite novels period.
Have you read Horns by Joe Hill? What’s your favorite horror novel?