I’m fairly new to Joe Hill’s work, I liked his collection of short stories in 21st Century Ghosts, but I didn’t like Heart Shaped Box though I can’t remember why – but I do remember it was way too long. Horns, however, has some very nice writing in it and I really liked the themes and how the characters developed. I guess you can call Horns a love story, but it’s not your regular romance, so don’t go putting down your Mills and Boon in a hurry – as it may not be for you!
Ignatius Perrish, the protagonist, awakes one morning after getting very drunk the night before to find that he has grown horns. People who fall under the influence of the horns will tell Ig their darkest secrets and desires which, at first, he finds very alarming especially when he learns what his parents really think of him. But, Ig’s parents have good reason for harbouring bad thoughts about him, as they believe that he murdered his girlfriend and got away with it. No one had been charged over Merrin’s death, but under the horn’s influence Ig’s older brother Terry confesses that it was their mutual friend Lee Tourneau.
And so evolves a story of good vs evil, sin vs faith, revelations, love and revenge with lashings of magic realism, and some great back-stories. I especially liked Lee’s memory of a contrary cat and setting the moon straight. I have a feeling that some of these scenes were once short stories, but it all works very well.
Horns is a devilishly tongue in cheek dark fantasy and I really liked it.