NOS4A2 by Joe Hill
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
When Victoria McQueen was young, she had a unique gift: she could summon an old covered bridge that would take her wherever she wanted to go. After an encounter with Charles Manx, a Rolls Royce Wraith-driving kidnapper with a similar ability, her life is torn to pieces. Twelve years later, Charles Manx comes looking for the girl that got away and not even death is an obstacle...
First off, I think the title, NOS4A2 (Nosferatu, get it?), while clever, is very misleading since Manx isn't a vampire. Fortunately, that's the only complaint I have about this awesome book.
The lead, Victoria McQueen, is a broken woman whose life is thrown into further chaos when Charles Manx thrusts himself back into it. She rises to the occasion and does what any mother would do when her son is kidnapped: kick ass and take names!
Charles Manx, the villain, is like an even creepier version of Willy Wonka, abducting Children and taking them to another world, Christmasland, where it's Christmas every day and the children become feral little monsters. His Wraith is a pretty chilling car, with its inescapable back seat and mind of its own. I couldn't wait for Manx to get what was coming to him.
The supporting cast is also well drawn. Victoria's baby-daddy Lou, son Bruce Wayne, FBI agent Hutt, and Bing are all fairly memorable characters. I loved Maggie Leigh and hated to see her go out the way she did.
There were some Easter eggs in the text, references to It, The Stand, The Shawshank Redemption, and my favorite, the tie in to the Dark Tower when Manx mentions the doors to Mid-World. Heck, Derry is mentioned so I think it's safe to assume Hill's stories are part of the King-verse and thus the Dark Tower.
This was my first Joe Hill book and it won't be the last. While he writes like his father, he doesn't seem to have many of his father's bad habits. His prose reminds me of Stephen King from back when he was still in touch with his Richard Matheson/John D. MacDonald roots: chilling, evocative, and not long-winded or over-written. Even the fates of the characters reminded me of King from his heyday.
Five stars. That is all.
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