Retro Review: NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

Creepy Christmas in the middle of summer? Why the heck not?!


N0S4A2 by Joe Hill
Narrated by Kate Mulgrew
Horror Fiction
Unabridged Audiobook, 19 hours and 41 minutes
AmazonGoodreads
NOS4A2 is a spine-tingling novel of supernatural suspense from master of horror Joe Hill, the New York Times bestselling author of Heart-Shaped Box and Horns.

Victoria McQueen has a secret gift for finding things: a misplaced bracelet, a missing photograph, answers to unanswerable questions. On her Raleigh Tuff Burner bike, she makes her way to a rickety covered bridge that, within moments, takes her wherever she needs to go, whether it’s across Massachusetts or across the country.

Charles Talent Manx has a way with children. He likes to take them for rides in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith with the NOS4A2 vanity plate. With his old car, he can slip right out of the everyday world, and onto the hidden roads that transport them to an astonishing – and terrifying – playground of amusements he calls “Christmasland.”

Then, one day, Vic goes looking for trouble—and finds Manx. That was a lifetime ago. Now Vic, the only kid to ever escape Manx’s unmitigated evil, is all grown up and desperate to forget. But Charlie Manx never stopped thinking about Victoria McQueen. He’s on the road again and he’s picked up a new passenger: Vic’s own son.


My Thoughts
 

I’m super stingy with my five stars. The longer I continue to read, the pickier I get. Most books fall somewhere between a three and a four for me. But N0S4A2 is getting the full five stars it deserves. It captured me from the creepfest of an opening scene and held me until the very end. It made me laugh with its unexpected dark humor, made me teary for the main characters who suffer through so much and it creeped me the heck out. Did I already say that? Yeah, well it takes a lot to creep me out so it’s worth repeating. Books like this are the reason I keep plodding through so many meh ones.

You’re best going into this story cold which is what I did. I avoided reading any in depth reviews because I didn’t want anything spoiled. So I’ll be brief and just say it’s about a woman named Vic who discovers a magical bridge when she’s a child. This bridge allows her to find things. One day she heads out looking for trouble and the bridge helps her find it, leading her straight to villain Charlie Manx, owner of the N0S4A2 vanity plate and creator of a place called “Christmasland” (a nightmarish and sinister place that’ll probably give you nightmares) who dubs himself the “CEO of Christmasland, The King Shit of Turd Hill”. Vic’s interaction with King Shit will plague her for years to come.

Vic is not a perfect person. She’s actually very troubled. She’s a mess who makes poor choices and screws up but, and a very important but it is, she owns it. She’s not a “poor me” type. She knows she’s a screw up and through everything I always understood and sympathized with Vic. Probably not everybody will agree with me though.

I thought the story was incredibly imaginative. It went wherever the hell it wanted and I found that very unnerving because as I kept reading along, I had no idea of what I was getting myself into nor how any of it would end. Like Hill’s previous book Horns, this book does a pretty good job of destroying your heart and I think that’s what I love so much about his writing. I felt everything right along with the characters. Hate, love, fear, hope, pain, grief and humor. It’s all there and he slammed me with all of those emotions when I was least expecting it. Curse you Joe Hill (and please keep writing like this).

I listened to this book as unabridged audio narrated by actress Kate Mulgrew AKA “Red” on “Orange Is the New Black” (and if you’re not watching it on Neflix you really should be). Early on in the book her incorrect pronunciation of Haverhill (it's not Hav-er-hill all proper-like, it's Hayv-rill in these here parts) drove me a bit mad but I got over myself soon enough and just fell into the story. Mulgrew has a gritty voice perfectly suited to rough around the edges Vic and her voicing of Charlie Manx was chilling, whispery and spot-on for the evil character. She did justice to all of the other characters too.

I love, love, loved this book. Loved it to death. I know I sound like a raving fangirl but I hope I’ve explained why I loved it. These damn five star reviews are the hardest to write.

Don’t waste any more time reading my silly thoughts, go read this book. I hope you’ll love it too.

Looking for another great audiobook by Joe Hill? Here ya go:


A Bit About the Author

Joe Hill's debut, Heart-Shaped Box, won the Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel. His second, Horns, was made into a film freakfest starring Daniel Radcliffe. His other novels include NOS4A2, and his #1 New York Times Best-Seller, The Fireman... which was also the winner of a 2016 Goodreads Choice Award for Best Horror Novel.

He also writes short stories. Some of them were gathered together in his prize-winning collection, 20th Century Ghosts.

He was awarded the Eisner Award for Best Writer for his long running comic book series, Locke & Key, co-created with illustrator and art wizard Gabriel Rodriguez.

He lives in New Hampshire with a corgi named McMurtry after a certain beloved writer of cowboy tales. His next book, Strange Weather, a collection of novellas, is due in fall of 2017.

Read April 2014

Comments

  1. Ooh, this does sound creepy and good. Remind me not to read it right before I go to sleep! :)

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  2. I really enjoyed The Fireman and have this one on my shelf. I keep forgetting to start it so I'm moving it to my bedside table!

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    1. Yeah, I tried moving books to my bedside table. Months later they are still there and the pile grows larger! Enjoy, when you get a chance to read it.

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  3. I'm wondering if I started this book but never rated it because the stuff about the bridge sounds familiar. Hmm, a puzzle indeed!

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  4. I've had this one for YEARS and never read it. I remember I think it's one of the few books I actually preordered from Amazon even. Glad you enjoyed it so much and I'm sure I'll love it once I pick it up.

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    1. Ha, so I'm not the only one who does that?

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  5. Ahhhh exciting! Yes, I've found the longer I've read the more demanding I am of the 5 star reads, too. But holy heck when one lands on your door it just makes ya giddy doesn't it? lol

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    1. Yep, I wish it happened every time but then I'd get spoiled.

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  6. Another book I've been meaning to read. Everyone loves it. I think my husband would enjoy it too.

    For What It's Worth

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    1. Maybe you can read it together? I made the mistake of doing that with Dan Brown's The DaVinci Code. He loved it, I hated it. I thought we were going to have a brawl!

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  7. You all need to read this before Christmas!

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  8. I have had this one on my tbr list since it was published. I have no idea why I haven't read it yet. I may have to consider the audio. Great review!

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    1. It's excellent. I don't think you'll be disappointed whichever route you decide to go.

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  9. Yes! I love this book so much and Kate Mulgrew is an awesome narrator.

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    1. She is terrific. She and Will Patten can read all the books and I will buy them :)

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  10. *shivers* Joe Hill totally gives me the shivers, but I will admit this sounds pretty cool -- how much of horror is in it, though? I totally need to be warned.... why are so many books so cool yet they are "horror"? *I'm totally a wuss when it comes to horror*

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    1. This one is pretty scary and creepy. I think it's far more horror related than The Fireman (if you've read that one) or even Horns.

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  11. I'm sorry if this is a duplicate! I'm pretty sure I already left a comment here but maybe my computer glitched! your 5-star review makes me want to read it so badly because I don't think you do many 5-stars indeed! This one is special! haha "Don’t waste any more time reading my silly thoughts, go read this book." !!! lol ok ok ok going!

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    1. I think it's google/blogger. It happens to me all the time.

      I am so stingy with my five stars and the older I get, the stingier I get! I hope you love it when you read it :)

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