Year of Publication: 2010
Number of Pages: 437 pages
Genre: Dark fantasy, supernatural, crime, horror
Summary: Ignatius "Ig" Perrish is a very lucky man. Born into wealth and privelege, the son of a famous musician, and the brother of a rising television star, Ig has standing and respect in his community, and more importantly, he is dating beautiful, intelligent Merrin Williams, the girl of his dreams, with whom he once spent a strange afternoon of secret magic.
Until the night when Merrin is brutally raped and murdered, and Ig is the only suspect. Although the case against him is dropped, in the court of public opinion Ig is, and always will be, guilty.
With his world torn apart, Ig wakes up one morning to discover that two horns are growing out of his temples, and that he is suddenly in possession of bizarre supernatural powers, in particular the ability to make people admit their deepest desires and darkest most shameful secrets.
Now Ig sets out to use his new-found power to find Merrin's real killer and, after a lifetime spent always trying to do the right thing, he is willing to do anything to find the truth.
Opinions: This book is Joe Hill's second novel following the acclaimed Heart Shaped Box (published in 2007) and the short story collection 20th Century Ghosts (2005) and consolidates his position as one of the best writers working in the field of horror and fantasy today. As with his earlier work, Horns provides and original and contemporary take on a well-worn horror theme. The novel opens the morning that Ig discovers his new horns and moves between the "present" narrative of him discovering his new abilities and seeking revenge, and scenes from the past revealing the backgrounds of the characters and of course what happened on the fateful night. The book blends supernatural horror, crime thriller, dark comedy and coming of age narrative. It is a fairly violent book, but the violence is well handled and it isn't gratuitous. The story moves along well and remains a gripping thriller thoughout. However, one of the book's best elements is the fact that it also engages the emotions and showcases Hill's skills with character and dialogue. There's a lot of fun to be had as the story twists around the traditional figures of good and evil, and plenty of dark humour. Music and horror movie fans should also enjoy the numerous references.
Funny, dark, thrilling, frightening and moving this is a powerful and memorable book from a fine writer.