NOS4A2 - Joe Hill Known as “the brat” to her father and Vic to her mother, Victoria McQueen has an uncanny ability to find missing things. You see, Victoria gets on her beloved Raleigh Tuff Burner bike, thinks about what it is she wants to find, rides across a bridge that really no longer exists and presto … at the other end is the exact thing she went looking for. Of course this is no easy feat and it takes its physical toll on Victoria. It’s also very difficult to explain to people, so she has to make up stories about where she finds all those lost objects. Victoria was not aware of the fact that other people have their own versions of her “ability” until one day she sets that as her goal and finds a kindred spirit.

Now, when you are twelve this ability seems like a great adventure, but as Victoria gets a little older … and things at home get a little tougher … and her parents split up … and her mom gives her a hard time … and dad has a new girlfriend … Victoria’s mind goes towards causing a little trouble. So, as do a lot of teenagers, she goes looking for trouble. Unfortunately she finds it. Trouble personified in the form of Charles Talent Manx and his 1938 Rolls Royce Wraith. Manx is a fellow traveler of mysterious and unseen roads, but his roads are a little more sinister.

Victoria manages to escape him once … but soon enough … trouble comes back to find her.

This book was good. Very good! I was turning the pages as fast as I could read them and when I had to put it down I couldn’t wait to have the chance to pick it up again. In my world, that it a definite indication of a good read. Mr. Hill impressed me with “Heart Shaped Box”, which I still consider to be one of the best ghost stories I have ever read. Although this is not a ghost story, he has once again gave me a very good horror story.

I can only assume that when you grow up in a family of writers and your father is considered one of the masters of the genre there is a little back and forth when one of you is working on a book? Constructive criticism, suggestions and ideas must get thrown around the table at Sunday night family dinners? In fact in the author’s notes for this book Joe Hill does give his mother credit for suggesting a better ending, as Stephen King gave his son credit for suggesting a more satisfying ending to “11/22/63”.

I have been a Stephen King fan since Carrie. When a Stephen King book hits the bookstore I buy it without even reading the book flap to find out what it is about. There was a taste of King’s works all through this book - so much so that at times I was tempted to look at the front cover again to check the author’s name. Shades of “Christine”, similarities to “11/22/63” and outright references to Mid-World and Pennywise forced that feeling even further. Are father and son having a little bit of fun with their respective readers? Or is it simply a case of Joe Hill giving homage to his dad, who must have had a profound influence on his writing? Either way, this is a must read for fans of horror, Stephen King and most definitely, Joe Hill.

Two final comments on this book: I may never look at Christmas the same way again and to anyone who picks this book up … for goodness sake … do not get on Mr. Hill’s naughty list.