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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Horns by Joe Hill: Review

After another long night of anger and alcohol, Ig Perrish wakes to a pounding headache, and a pair of horns growing out of his temples. The second son of a “golden” family, reared in a life of comfort and privilege, Ig’s father is a famous musician, his mother a former showgirl and his older brother is a late-night television star. Ig met the love of his life, Merrin Williams while still a kid. He and Merrin had planned a whole life together, shared dreams, future hopes and magical moments. Merrin is brutally raped and murdered and for the past year, Ig has been the only suspect in the crime. Without the evidence to try and convict him, Ig has been found guilty in the eyes of his neighbors, friends and family and has been abandoned by everyone. Now that he has this new power…it’s time to find the real killer and give him what’s owed.

I’m not the kind of person who gets deeply philosophical or who seeks symbolism in a book. Quite the contrary, the symbolic crap usually annoys me. I suppose I’m too shallow, I just want to be entertained with a good story and maybe the occasional snicker….

“…He paused, twisting nervously at his goatee, considering the law in Deuteronomy that forbade clothes with mixed fibers. A problematic bit of Scripture. A matter that required thought.
“Only the devil wants man to have a wide range of lightweight and comfortable styles to choose from,” he murmured at last, trying out a new proverb. “Although there may be no forgiveness for polyester. On this one matter, Satan and the Lord are in agreement.”
Amen, Brother!

Every once in a while, a writer like Joe Hill and a book like Horns sneaks up on me, and smacks me upside the head. True to my shallow nature, I loved the book for the entertainment factor, but it also sucked me into some internal philosophical debate as well.
“…Satan turns up in a lot of other religions as the good guy. ….. He comes into the story to bamboozle the unworthy or tempt them into ruination, or at least out of their liquor. Even Christians can’t really decide what to do with him. I mean, think about it. Him and God are supposed to be at war with each other. But if God hates sin and Satan punishes the sinners, aren’t they working the same side of the street? Aren’t the judge and the executioner on the same team?….”
Huh. Blasphemous, ehh..probably, but it does make you think. What is evil? Is good ever really just evil disguised? And how often do we perceive of something being good that is really evil?

I still don’t know how Hill pulled it off, if I had to explain the book I’d be hard pressed to do have it make sense. But the author manages to tread that fine line between Wow! and Huh? quite nicely. His characterizations are strong, his protagonist earns our respect as well as our compassion, and his conflicts are convoluted and yet understandable.

Horns by Joe Hill, is a devilishly good read…(sorry—couldn’t resist--*Grin)

Review copy provided by Harper Collins

My rating:

4 comments:

Page (One Book At A Time) said...

I've only read The Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill.
This one sounds interesting though.

bermudaonion said...

I do enjoy books that make me think and you've made this one sound so good!

Staci said...

I absolutely loved your thoughts on this one!! I usually just want to be entertained too and am pleasantly surprised when I get more than I bargained for but enjoyed it!

Bryan R. Terry said...

Great review. My review of Horns' audiobook is HERE if you're interested.