Sunday, 17 January 2010


Joe Hill is one of the finest new writers to emerge in the last few years. Like me, he loves the short story format - unlike me, he's actually a brilliant practitioner of the form. His first collection, Twentieth Century Ghosts, was a stunning mix of macabre and weird drama, and his first novel, Heart Shaped Box, was one of the best ghost stories that I've ever read. A book that genuinely frightened and thrilled me in equal measures. Hill writes with such ease and skill that it makes me want to burn my own manuscripts in frustration and stick to a life of the criminally dull office in which I currently fester. That's only partially true - he actually inspires me to be a better writer, which is something I've promised myself I'll be in 2010. And the inspiration level should rise that little more when I get my hands on his new novel Horns, released on February 16th.

Loving that cover. Horns is about a young man named Ignatius Perrish, a guy who has always tried to do the right thing, only to see his whole life abruptly torn away from him. His girlfriend, the person he loves more than anyone in the world, is killed, and although he’s never charged with the murder, everyone, including his family and friends, believe Ig is responsible. Then one night Ig goes out drunk to rage and curse God, and when he wakes, he discovers he’s grown a pair of horns, and that people have a sudden compulsion to confess their darkest secrets and ugliest impulses to him. It isn’t long before Ig turns his terrible new powers to finding the man who killed his beloved, and taking his revenge.

I already have four novels to get through, but regardless of where I am or who I'm reading I'll be dropping everything for Hill's latest. He's a stunning writer who I cannot recommend enough.