Tag Archives: joe hill

Horns by Joe Hill

Horns by Joe Hill (unabridged audiobook read by Fred Berman; 13 hrs 45 min on 12 discs): Ig wakes up one morning, hungover and with no memory of the previous night’s activities, to find he has grown horns on his head. Even more disturbing, everyone he meets starts confessing their most horrible deeds and desires to him. He remains the only suspect in the rape and murder of his girlfriend, Merrin, a year prior, so many of these confessions include people’s belief in his guilt. Ig’s brother Terry is a famous trumpet player with a late-night variety show; his best friend Lee is a bit of a weirdo who works for a local politician; his new sort-of-girlfriend Glenna is a good-hearted girl who is pitifully desperate for love. The story of Ig’s search for Merrin’s real killer is interlaced with flashbacks of high school events when his relationships with her and Lee began. Though there are some undeniably horrifying moments and this book is certainly not for the squeamish, nothing ever felt gratuitous. I felt a surprising affection for Ig and Terry; there were parts during the last few chapters when I was smiling through tears. Definitely recommended.

A note on the audio: Berman’s character voices were subtle but distinct. I could recognize Ig and Lee and Merrin and Glenna even before they were named as speakers. There were a few screams that Berman reproduced with gusto – a bit disconcerting to hear while driving – and overall the whole narrative was well done.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill

20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill (unabridged audiobook read by David Ledoux, 12 hrs 11 min on 11 discs): I have discovered that I generally don’t go for short story collections, but after reading Heart-Shaped Box, I figured I could make an exception for Joe Hill. I’m glad I did. Most of the stories could be classified as some variety of horror, and those were generally my favorites. I particularly enjoyed Voluntary Committal, The Black Phone, and 20th Century Ghost. Definitely recommended, though not for the squeamish. He is his father’s son, after all – though I would argue that Hill is the better storyteller of the two.

A note on the audio: Ledoux is simply excellent. This is what voice acting is supposed to be. His tone, inflection, usage of stuttering and dramatic pauses – all of it adds to the atmosphere of each story. Brilliant. I definitely need to pick up other books he’s narrated.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill

Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill: It’s been a while since I last read a good old fashioned ghost story. Here, aging heavy metal rock star Judas Coin purchases a dead man’s suit, purported to be haunted, just for laughs. Unfortunately, it turns out to be indeed haunted by the spirit of the stepfather of an old flame of Jude’s. The writing was deliciously spooky, the rock star angle was refreshingly different, and the ending was satisfying without feeling too tidy. I’ll have to keep Hill in mind next time I’m in the mood for a scary good time.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

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