Wednesday, 21 September 2011
Horns - Joe Hill
Enough has been said about Joe Hill inheriting his father's talents, and any doubts readers may have that he was published simply because of who he is and not how well he writes should now be buried. With his first book Heart Shaped Box and his collection of stories, 20th Century Ghosts, Joe Hill proved he's his own man and his own talent. With Horns, he reinforces that proof with bells on. Or horns, if you prefer.
Ig Perrish lost his girlfriend Merrin a year ago when she was raped and murdered. A year to the day after this event, he spends the night blitzed out of his mind and wakes up with no memory of the night before - and horns growing out of his head. The horns force people to confess their darkest secrets and as most of his family, friends and anyone else believe he killed the lovely Merrin, it's not long before Ig learns what people think of him. It's also not long before Ig realises his hellish powers might have some benefits when it comes to finding the real killer.
Ig Perrish is a powerful figure. He's a man filled with a righteous rage (think Brandon Lee's character in The Crow) and there aren't many people who at the very least wouldn't be tempted to do as he does in his position. After all, vengeance is a great motivator as is knowing your vengeance is justified. However, Horns is much more than a story of revenge and grief. This is a love story at its most basic level. Ig is a man who hasn't just lost love; it's been stolen from him and this is a hanging offence.
While King Senior's talents are best read in his portrayals of `regular' people in small towns, Joe Hill excels here in writing about love in its glories and its dangers. Horns is a staggering book and one I completely recommend even if horror isn't your thing.